The Affordable Health Care Act, the new healthcare law signed by President Obama included a number of provisions that helped women obtain affordable, quality healthcare. Over the summer, advocates secured a big victory when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued recommendations regarding the new law, that would require all new health insurance plans to cover women’s health preventative services, including contraceptives, without co-pays! The inclusion of contraception as a service to be covered with no cost-sharing is a tremendous step toward insuring all women have access to quality reproductive healthcare.
Currently, HHS is in the process of deciding whether or not to allow employers the ability to deny contraception coverage with no cost-sharing to their employees. They issued an interim rule that would allow some employers, such as religious employers like Catholic Hospitals and universities, to be exempt from the contraceptive coverage provision based on religious objections.
While exempting employers is bad enough, HHS is now being asked to extend this exemption to schools, hospitals, and social service agencies, thereby allowing them to deny contraceptive care and counseling with no co-pays to those they employ. It is estimated that this would impact more than a million more women.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not yet issued a final decision (final rule) on the issue of contraception coverage. Please contact President Obama and tell them that all women should have coverage of contraception without co-pays!
Contact the White House at (202) 456-1111 with the following message:
“My name is _____ and I am calling in strong support of the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to adopt the Institute of Medicine recommendations for women’s preventive health services, including contraception, to be covered by all new health plans and provided with no cost sharing. This policy represents a huge step forward for women’s health and it would not have been possible without the passage of the landmark health care law.
However, I am deeply concerned about the exemption allowing some religious employers to opt out of this policy. The reality is that nearly all of sexually active women in the U.S., regardless of their religious beliefs, use contraception at some point in their lives, and it is a preventive health service that should be covered regardless of where they work.
President Obama, I respectfully ask you that you do not broaden this religious exemption.
The YWCA USA believes that access to quality, affordable health care should be provided to all women and girls nationwide.
The YWCA believes that decisions regarding reproductive health care, including decisions about contraception, should be made by a woman in consultation with her doctor, not by the government, politicians, employers or others. Taking the decision out of the hands of women by broadening the religious exemption would limit and jeopardize the healthcare of women.
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