FACT CHECK: Would A Leaked Plan Broaden Exemption Requirements For The ACA Birth Control Mandate?
On May 31, Vox.com posted an alleged draft of a plan from President Trump’s administration regarding the birth control mandate under the Affordable Care Act. Several outlets have made the claim that this leaked plan would widen the scope of employers able to seek the exemption.
The claim that the supposed draft of a Trump administration plan would broaden the range of employers able to request an exemption from the ACA contraceptive mandates is true. In its current form, the supposed plan would allow for more employers to request an exemption from the mandate for religious or moral purposes.
The unverified plan comes on the cusps of an executive order issued by Trump that set in motion a regulatory review from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Vox.com posted an alleged draft of a plan from the Trump administration regarding the contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Planned Parenthood, along with Mother Jones, Fox News, and others reported that the draft would expand the pool of employers who could qualify for an exemption from the mandate.
The ACA requires that most employers offer health insurance that covers contraceptives for employees. In the 2014 Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case it was ruled as against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to mandate that closely held corporations with religious objections pay for their employees’ contraceptives.
The supposed plan, if published, would allow employers to request exemptions from the birth control mandate for religious or moral reasons. As drafted, the plan would expand the current scope of employers able to seek the exemption from those with religious objections to also include corporations with moral objections, a term that the draft does not fully define.
Not only would the unverified plan as drafted broaden the range of which employers can request an exemption through moral objections, but it would also expand the types of corporations who qualify for the exemption. The Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case determined that closely held companies could be exempt from the mandate. The plan would broaden the possible exemption to include employers in both the private and public sectors, not only “closely held” corporations.
The White House Office of Management and Budget lists the “Coverage of Certain Preventative Services Under The Affordable Care Act” as currently in regulatory review with no deadline listed.
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