States challenge federal contraceptive coverage mandateSeven states are suing the federal Dept. of Health and Human Services over the health system reform law's mandate requiring businesses to provide women insurance coverage for certain birth control without patient cost-sharing.
Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas say the rule is unconstitutional because it forces religious schools and religiously affiliated employers to violate their moral beliefs by subsidizing contraception. The lawsuit, filed Feb. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, asks a federal judge to block the government's requirement.
The Obama administration recently released a proposed regulation to implement the reform law's birth control coverage mandate. In response to criticism of the initial rule, the administration said Feb. 10 that health insurance companies, rather than the religious institutions themselves, would provide employees with the contraceptive coverage. But some states and religious organizations said the compromise did not go far enough, renewing their call for a full exemption from the mandate for entities that oppose birth control.
Texas to ban abortion providers from Medicaid programStarting March 14, Texas will exclude organizations that provide abortions from a women's family planning program, according to a decision by Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs. The state's Medicaid agency is defying a December 2011 denial by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of Texas' request to keep abortion providers out of the program.
The Medicaid Women's Health Program, funded in part by the federal government, provides birth control services, Pap smears and family planning counseling based on natural methods to more than 180,000 lower-income women. Single women who earn as much as $20,148 a year are eligible for the program. Texas' defiance of the CMS order could endanger the federal matching funds that help pay for the services.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is obligated to follow state laws, said commission spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman. "We have a state law that our attorney general says is constitutional, and it bans abortion providers from taking part in the women's health program. We can't violate a valid state law just to please Washington. We hope CMS will reverse its position and allow the program to continue."
However, federal law prohibits states from excluding health care entities from Medicaid programs for reasons not related to their qualifications to provide services, according to a Dec. 12, 2011, letter from CMS Deputy Administrator Cindy Mann to Texas' Medicaid agency. Goodman said certain federal court decisions have allowed states to exclude health entities from their Medicaid programs for any reason.
More information about the Texas women's health program is available online (www.hhsc.state.tx.us/Help/WHP/index.shtml).
Is it just me or are we going backwards? I find it extremely scary when the presidential candidates are talking about birth control and women's right to access. Access is being limited to birth control, which means that the lower income families are having more trouble affording it. Then to top it off, government wants to limit access to abortions. So, let's stop a lower income family from being responsible, and preventing more hardships for their family so they can work on supporting the mouths they already are struggling to feed. Then, if they do have an unplanned pregnancy (because the government has restricted them from family planning) they are unable to afford that too! Finally, the same presidential candidates are complaining about people soaking up government aid and "taking advantage of the system." What the hell are people supposed to do? Preventing access to birth control is not going to prevent people from having sex! Haven't we learned that from the Bush administration of preaching abstinence instead of education?
It seems like it's more than just pro choice and pro life. It's more like no choice for poor life!
I do believe that Viagra is fully covered under Medicare, what does that tell you? There doesn't seem to be a moral conflict over whether or not institutions should cover erections, but heaven forbid (pun intended) institutions cover responsible family planning. I'm surprised that more politicians aren't for birth control and abortions. After all, most of them turn up in the news hiding scandals where illegitimate children are covered up after having cheated on their spouses. What is most appalling is the female support in Washington, we can't even blame it 100% on the men in Washington. Is that what happens after menopause? You become an extreme conservative, disapprove health care coverage for children and have rapist children, oh, and don't support access to birth control or abortions (Jan Brewer)?
Finally, I wonder if all these talking heads with no medical background or experience (similar to the folks who run our hospitals), take into consideration that birth control has other medical indications from just preventing pregnancy? Did you know that birth control is used to prevent extreme pain associated with premenstrual syndrome? It helps heavy, out of control bleeding during periods. It also helps with ovarian cysts. Anyone ever heard of a condition called enodmetriosis? Do you know what first line treatment is? You guessed it...birth control! Abortions aren't just for irresponsible, disgusting, sluts either (Rush Limbaugh). How about women who want nothing more than to have just one more child (or one child at all) and they get the terrible news things aren't going so well? They have to make an agonizing decision about continuing with their pregnancy, after finding out that there are severe chromosomal malformations. Their pregnancy may end in spontaneous abortion or a severely disfigured incapacitated newborn who may not live more than a few days after birth.
You know, it's not just about preventing pregnancy and I'm sick of hearing about these discussions.