November 17, 2011

Last August, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule containing the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that health plans cover the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women, without cost-sharing.  The proposed rule contained an exemption from the contraception requirement for non-profit religious organizations providing group coverage and which mainly employ individuals sharing the religious views of the organization.

We are now facing the possibility that, within the next few days, the Obama administration will expand the current religious exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement to allow religiously affiliated hospitals, charities, and universities to exclude contraceptive coverage from their employee health plans.

Religious groups are exerting intense pressure on the administration, claiming that the contraception coverage requirement infringes on their “religious liberty” and seeking to have their beliefs and tenets bind all Americans’ health insurance coverage. These groups do not support access to contraception and will not do so no matter the exemption made.

If you want to weigh in on this debate, contact the White House today at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact  or 202-456-1111 and urge the President to protect women’s health and NOT to expand the religious exemption. The exemption makes no medical sense. Every woman deserves affordable health care, including contraception, no matter where she works.

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If you want to weigh in on this debate, contact the White House today at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact or 202-456-1111 and urge the President to protect women’s health and NOT to expand the religious exemption. just thought I would reiterate that. Get invovled or be left behind citizens.

It's a never ending issue between the religious groups and the lay people. Actually it all depends on how you handle the situation and how you manage everything.

Let me frame this from the perspective of an employee of the Catholic Church. The point is that non-profit religious groups employ people who mostly believe in the what that group does. If the President does not allow the exemption to exclude contraception and abortion, these religious employers will simply stop providing health insurance to employees, who will be forced to try to obtain equivalent coverage on the open market. That, frankly, will be the worst-case scenario, because church employees like myself do not make large incomes and one simply cannot get equivalent individual insurance at the same rate a group pays. I can see a scenario where my coverage will be less comprehensive and my out-of-pocket cost could increase. This will make even routine health maintenance visits to the doctor beyond my already-overstretched budget. I have had a hysterectomy and am past childbearing age, but I do need my annual mammogram and gynecological exam. If I cannot afford the annual trip to the doctor, I would lose my prescription for estrogen. Losing my current insurance would also mean I would also lose my vision insurance, and since I need glasses, I would be out-of-pocket to the tune of about $500 every time I need glasses , which would pose additional financial hardship. If the President does not sign this, those of us currently under insurance plans provided by the Church will suffer - and most of us, frankly, are no longer in our child-bearing years. We would simply be the victims of someone's well-meaning attempt at improvement.

This sucks.. I guess separating church and state doesn't include medical resources..!

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