The League joined with other organizations concerned about women's reproductive health in submitting comments on regulations proposed by the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) regarding preventive services under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The comments note that nothing in the ACA allows for any limitations regarding contraceptive coverage and if HHS is to create an exception for "religious employers" and an accommodation to “eligible organizations” that object to providing this coverage for religious reasons, it must also provide seamless contraceptive coverage with no cost sharing for women. In order to reach that goal, HHS and other federal agencies must provide greater detail as to how the accommodation will actually work.

The following includes the introduction to the comments and a list of the organizations signing on. For the detailed comment document, please see the attached PDF.

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April 8, 2013

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Department of Health and Human Services Attention: CMS-9968-P

P.O. Box 8013

Baltimore, MD 21244-1850

Submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov

Subject: NPRM: Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act, CMS-9968-P, Docket ID: CMS-2012-0031-63161

The undersigned organizations write in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act,” published in the Federal Register on February 6, 2013. The NPRM announces the intention of the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (the Departments) to change the definition of “religious employer” that will be exempted from coverage of contraceptive services without cost sharing as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, it proposes an accommodation to “eligible organizations” that object to providing this coverage for religious reasons.

We applaud the Departments’ goal of “secur[ing] the protections under section 2713 of the [Public Health Service Act] that are designed to enhance coverage of important preventive services for women without cost sharing.” However, we oppose the Departments’ decision to create an exception for certain “religious employers.” This provision undermines women’s ability to access contraceptive coverage without cost sharing. Nothing in the ACA allows for any limitations regarding contraceptive coverage. Moreover, Sections 1554 and 1557 of the ACA actually prohibit the exemption of “religious employers” from covering contraceptives.

The accommodation is unnecessary under the law. However, if the Departments move forward with creating the accommodation, it must provide seamless contraceptive coverage with no cost sharing for women. In order to reach that goal, the Departments must provide greater detail as to how the accommodation will actually work. To that end, we provide the following comments on the specific questions raised in the NPRM.

 

Advocates for Youth
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Asian American Justice Center, Member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Catholics for Choice
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Center for Reproductive Rights
Disciples Justice Action Network
Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
League of Women Voters of the U.S.
Merger Watch
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
National Council of Jewish Women
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
National Health Law Program
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women’s Law Center
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Connection
Population Institute
Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need
Reproductive Health Technologies Project
The United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society