NYT: Trump administration plans new rule challenge to Obamacare birth control mandate

The Trump administration is seeking to change rules to give employers more flexibility to deny women insuran...

Posted: Oct 31, 2018 3:05 PM
Updated: Oct 31, 2018 3:05 PM

The Trump administration is seeking to change rules to give employers more flexibility to deny women insurance coverage for birth control, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing administration officials.

The proposed changes are a response to previous judges' objections to the administration's previous efforts to deny coverage that is stipulated as part of Obamacare, the paper reported. Two federal courts last year blocked a previous move by the administration to expand exemptions to the mandate.

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The Times reported that although the details of the plan and the announcement date are both unclear, the White House has cleared the revised rules so that they can be issued jointly by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The administration announced similar rules last October that were eventually blocked. Those rules would have let a broad range of employers -- including nonprofits, private firms and publicly traded companies -- to stop offering contraceptives through their health insurance plans if they have a "sincerely held religious or moral objection."

But the following month, two courts on opposite sides of the country blocked the rules. After five states brought a suit to the US District Court in Northern California, the court issued a preliminary injunction in December blocking the interim rules and the rollback of the contraceptive mandate. Shortly before that, a federal court in Pennsylvania issued a similar ruling.

Last year's action consisted of two rules. First, entitles that have "sincerely held religious beliefs" against providing contraceptives would no longer be required to do so. The second rule would have extended the same provision to organizations and small businesses that had objections "on the basis of moral conviction which is not based in any particular religious belief."

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