KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Republican Lawmaker Unveils Bill On Contraceptive Coverage Rule

The measure focuses on the potential tax implications of the Health and Human Services rule that contraceptives be counted -- without cost-sharing -- among the preventive health services that most employer-sponsored health plans offer. 

CQ HealthBeat: Sensenbrenner Unveils Bill On Contraceptive Coverage Rule
A Republican lawmaker is reopening the debate over health insurance coverage of contraceptive services, but this time the focus is on its potential tax implications. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin unveiled a draft bill Tuesday in response to a Health and Human Services (HHS) Department ruling in January that contraceptives be included among the preventive health services that most employers’ insurance plans will be required to cover without cost-sharing as part of the 2010 health care overhaul. The measure would prohibit the federal government from imposing taxes or penalties or taking other action against employers who do not comply with the requirement, which goes into effect in August, if they are opposed to the coverage based on a religious belief or moral conviction (Attias, 7/10).

The Hill: GOP Bill Seeks To Undercut Obama Contraception Mandate
A new Republican bill would remove the teeth from a contentious Obama administration health mandate by barring the federal government from penalizing employers that do not comply. The measure was written in response to the Affordable Care Act, which requires that most employers cover birth control without a co-pay for employees. Under the GOP bill, employers that object to birth control for religious reasons can refuse to cover it without facing financial penalties from the government. Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), an author of the new bill, argued that the mandate's current penalty for non-compliance would sink many religious groups (Viebeck, 7/10).

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