Trump Destroys Popular Obamacare Mandate and Now Millions of Women, Families Will Suffer
Donald Trump Hands Religious Right A Win In Roll Back Of Obamacare Birth Control Rule
The religious right claimed a victory today as the Republican Donald Trump administration announced it would be rolling back an Obamacare rule mandating employers to cover the cost of birth control for women.
The new rules allow more employers to opt out of the mandate based on religious or moral objections. Prior to the change, only “houses of worship, religiously affiliated nonprofit groups, and closely-held private companies” could claim the exemption. The new language allows “any employer, including colleges, universities and health insurance companies, to stop following the rule”.
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The rule goes into effect immediately and no paperwork is required for employers to carry out the change. According to The Hill, administration officials stated:
…employers will not have to file anything with the government to stop offering the birth-control coverage; instead, they simply have to notify their employees of the decision.
Health and women’s groups slammed the decision and legal challenges are expected. Mara Gandal-Powers of the National Women’s Law Center told the Washington Post:
“The Trump administration is treating birth control as if it’s not even health care. We see this as part of the larger war they are waging on women’s health…For some [women], it means choosing between preventive care like contraceptives and paying their rent, their mortgage, electric bill.”
Dr. Haywood Brown, president of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told AP the Trump administration was “turning back the clock on women’s health”.
And research results would show that to be an undeniable fact. The Kaiser Family Foundation found the number of women paying out of their own pockets for birth control had plummeted from 21 percent to just 4 percent since the Obamacare rule went into effect.
Also, studies have shown easily accessible and effective methods of birth control have brought the unintended pregnancy rate down to the lowest levels in decades. The Guttmacher Institute studied the years before Obamacare was fully implemented and found the rate had come down to 45 percent in 2011, roughly a 10 percent drop in just three years. As newer data becomes available, one of the report’s authors stated the numbers would likely fall further because of the Obamacare mandate.
That report also suggested the abortion rate came down for the same reasons. Recent studies have found the abortion rate in the United States to be at its “lowest point since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973”. Improved access to birth control was also the likely reason for this historic slide.
That said, it’s clear the religious right has no interest in in actually improving women’s health, allowing women to make their own health care decisions, or pursuing scientifically proven methods of lowering the number of abortions in the U.S. And the Donald Trump administration is just fine in going right along with that backward mentality to the detriment of many.
Featured image via Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images.