FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 6, 2017
Contact: Audrey Sandusky, (202) 344-5805, asandusky@nfprha.org

HHS Acts to Unravel ACA Contraceptive Coverage Protections

WASHINGTON, DC – The US Department of Health and Human Services released two interim final rules that exempt any employer from the contraceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act if it claims religious or moral objections. This is a significant expansion of current law, and makes the accommodation process, the Obama administration’s mechanism to ensure employees of the objecting employer maintain access to contraceptive coverage, optional.

“Exempting more employers from the contraceptive coverage requirement could leave millions of people without access to contraception and reverse some of the important progress made under the health law on achieving health equity for women in this country,” said Clare Coleman, President & CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, a membership organization representing publicly funded family planning providers and administrators nationwide.

One rule also refers to the Title X family planning program as an alternative that could fill the gap for women whose employers raise objections to the health care they are entitled to by law, noting that there are other federally funded programs that could subsidize contraception. Title X has not received any new service delivery funding for seven straight years, despite a growing demand for publicly funded family planning care. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, Title X would need to be funded at approximately $737 million to meet existing need for publicly funded family planning care. The study is based on the ACA remaining in place. Instead, Congress has continued to fund the program at $286.5 million since fiscal year 2014.

Half of all pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended. Research has shown that removing a cost burden can have a positive impact on contraceptive use and can improve the likelihood that people will use the contraceptive method of their choice. NFPRHA urges the administration to reconsider how broad the exemption is and to acknowledge how many women could be negatively impacted by it.

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The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) is a membership organization representing providers and administrators committed to helping people get the family planning education and care they need to make the best choices for themselves and their loved ones. NFPRHA works to enhance the ability of thousands of nurse practitioners, doctors, and other health professionals to provide high-quality family planning care through training and advocacy. For more information, visit nationalfamilyplanning.org. 

 

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