And didn’t some people say that ObamaCare was going to impose these kinds of regulations on what used to be at least a semi-free market?
Health insurance plans must cover birth control as preventive care for women, with no copays, the Obama administration said Monday in a decision with far-reaching implications for health care as well as social mores.
The requirement is part of a broad expansion of coverage for women’s preventive care under President Barack Obama’s health care law. Also to be covered without copays are breast pumps for nursing mothers, an annual “well-woman” physical, screening for the virus that causes cervical cancer and for diabetes during pregnancy, counseling on domestic violence, and other services.
There is an exemption for “religious institutions,” but it’s not clear just how widely that will be interpreted:
In a nod to social and religious conservatives, the rules issued Monday by Sebelius include a provision that would allow religious institutions to opt out of offering birth control coverage. However, many conservatives are supporting legislation by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., that would codify a range of exceptions to the new health care law on religious and conscience grounds.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough,” said Jeanne Monahan, a policy expert for the conservative Family Research Council. As it now stands, the conscience clause offers only a “fig leaf” of protection, she added, because it may not cover faith-based groups engaged in social action and other activities that do not involve worship.
This right here is the thing that’s got most conservatives concerned:
The requirement applies to all forms of birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration. That includes the pill, intrauterine devices, the so-called morning-after pill, and newer forms of long-acting implantable hormonal contraceptives that are becoming widely used in the rest of the industrialized world.
Coverage with no copays for the morning-after pill is likely to become the most controversial part of the change. The FDA classifies Plan B and Ella as birth control, but some religious conservatives see the morning-after drugs as abortion drugs. The rules HHS issued Monday do not require coverage of RU-486 and other drugs to chemically induce an abortion.
Once again, Washington is dictating to supposedly independent businesses what they must and must not do. While some such regulations make sense, demanding what services a business must offer does not… are they next going to tell McDonald’s what they have to put in their Happy Meals? Oh, wait…