Health

Trump May Remove Free Birth Control Coverage For Some

| by Michael Allen

The Trump administration has drafted a rule that would allow religious employers to eliminate free contraception coverage from their employees' health plans.

The White House Office of Management and Budget website said that it is reviewing the "interim final rule," notes The New York Times.

Trump issued an executive order on May 4 that directed three departments to look at changing Obamacare regulations to "address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate."

In addition to signing the executive order, Trump also praised the Catholic-based organization Little Sisters of the Poor for refusing to obey the birth control mandate, which the charity successfully contested to the Supreme Court.

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The Obama administration had provided a waiver for the Little Sisters of the Poor to sign to get out of birth control coverage, but the organization argued that signing the paper placed an undue burden on it.

Trump said the Little Sisters of the Poor "sort of just won a lawsuit," and assured the charity that their "long ordeal will soon be over."

"With this executive order," Trump said, "we are ending the attacks on your religious liberty."

Trump's executive order, and the reported upcoming rule change, would fulfill a promise that Trump made in October 2016 to the leaders of Roman Catholic organizations in a letter: "I will make absolutely certain religious orders like the Little Sisters of Poor are not bullied by the federal government because of their religious beliefs."

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Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price commented on the next steps: "We will be taking action in short order to follow the president’s instruction to safeguard the deeply held religious beliefs of Americans who provide health insurance to their employees."

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray joined 13 other Democratic senators in sending a May 25 letter to Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, that warned him against actions that would "undermine access to affordable preventive services, including contraception, for women."

"Women saved more than $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs for birth control in 2013 alone," the letter from the Democrats stated. "Access to affordable preventive services, including contraception, is a critical part of women’s health care."

The Office of Management and Budget would not comment on the contraception mandate rule, except to say that it was being reviewed.

In more health news, Wesley Easterling, a Kentucky supporter of the president, says he now regrets his vote.

Easterling recently told CNN that Trump had a "charisma about him, something different," reported Raw Story.

Easterling and his family are worried Trump is going to cut Medicaid and food stamps, which they depend on.

"I felt just like he played me for a fool," Easterling stated. "I mean, I kind of took it personal."

Easterling said if he could vote again, he'd vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Sources: The New York Times, Raw Story / Photo credit: Ceridwen/Wikimedia Commons

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