Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act eliminates co-pays and deductibles for oral contraceptives. Obama proposed a compromise for religiously-affiliated employers in which they are not required to pay for contraceptives, but insurance companies would have to offer contraceptives free of charge to women working for these employers.
Churches, synagogues, mosques and other institutions whose primary purpose is to propagate faith are exempt from the mandate. But when the administration sought to impose the requirement on religious nonprofits serving the public, it triggered a backlash. That forced President Barack Obama himself to offer a compromise: insurers, not the religious employers would bear the responsibility.
You can decide that instead of restricting access to birth control or defunding Planned Parenthood, we should make sure that in this country, women control their own health care choices. That’s up to you.
Today, we've reached a decision on how to move forward. Under the rule, women will still have access to free preventive care that includes contraceptive services -– no matter where they work. So that core principle remains. But if a woman’s employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company -– not the hospital, not the charity -– will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without co-pays and without hassles.
The result will be that religious organizations won’t have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly. Let me repeat: These employers will not have to pay for, or provide, contraceptive services. But women who work at these institutions will have access to free contraceptive services, just like other women, and they'll no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars a year that could go towards paying the rent or buying groceries.
We also accepted a recommendation from the experts at the Institute of Medicine that when it comes to women, preventive care should include coverage of contraceptive services such as birth control. In addition to family planning, doctors often prescribe contraception as a way to reduce the risks of ovarian and other cancers, and treat a variety of different ailments. And we know that the overall cost of health care is lower when women have access to contraceptive services.
Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives –- 99 percent. And yet, more than half of all women between the ages of 18 and 34 have struggled to afford it. So for all these reasons, we decided to follow the judgment of the nation’s leading medical experts and make sure that free preventive care includes access to free contraceptive care.
After weeks of absorbing attacks, President Barack Obama abruptly announced Friday that religious employers will not be mandated to offer free contraceptive coverage for workers. It was a backtrack, but one that lowered the temperature, at least for now, on an issue that threatened to overshadow the president’s agenda for days or weeks to come.
The Obama administration signaled Friday it's willing to help insurance companies offset the cost of providing free birth control to women working at church-affiliated institutions like hospitals and colleges.
Health care law requires contraceptives to be available for free for women enrolled in workplace health plans, including access to morning-after pill, which does not terminate a pregnancy but which some religious conservatives consider tantamount to an abortion pill. Supported requiring girls 16 and under to get a prescription for the morning-after pill, available without a prescription for older women.
“I believe we must work together to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. I support legislation to expand access to contraception, health information, and preventative services to help reduce unintended pregnancies.”
No individual health care provider will be forced to prescribe birth control.
No one will be forced to buy or use birth control.
Drugs such as RU-486 that cause abortion are not covered by this policy. The President remains committed to maintaining strict limits on federal funding for abortions.
In addition to other preventive benefits provided to women by the Affordable Care Act, women soon won’t have to pay out-of-pocket for birth control. Starting August 1st, all women will have access to contraception through their employer or insurer without co-pays or deductibles, ensuring that more women can make health care decisions based on what’s best for them, not their insurance company.