Once More Unto the Breech…
Once more we wait with baited breath the decision of the courts on the fate of the Affordable Care Act.
The U.S. Supreme Court ordered an appellate court to hear a lawsuit brought by Liberty University in Virginia against the Obama administration on the constitutionality of healthcare reform. Only this time, the constitutional provisions at hand has nothing to do with the individual mandate, which was at the heart of the constitutional scuffle last time.
Now, we face two more questions about the ACA:
1) Whether the federal government has the constitutional authority to mandate large businesses to purchase health insurance for their workers
2) Whether non-profit organizations affiliated with a specific religion can be required to purchase health care plans that include coverage for prescriptions, namely contraceptives, to which they have religious objections.
While it is hard to imagine that the mandated coverage, which utilizes the same enforcement mechanism as the individual mandate that was upheld by the Justices in June, will be overturned.
However, as lower courts hear these cases, we must continue to stand up for the right of women to access contraceptive coverage. The question at the heart of the debate is whether religiously affiliated organizations, like hospitals or universities, are entitled to the same religious protections as houses of worship.
The Reform Movement has long been a supporter of religious liberty. At the same time, it also supports women having the access and ability to make their own reproductive health decisions. Every woman, including women who work for entities covered by the existing exemption, is entitled to access contraception as a matter of basic rights and fundamental dignity. That’s why the Reform Movement supports a compromise approach, which provides a way for women who work for organizations covered by the exemption to access birth control without a co-pay from a third party. There can be no discrimination in basic health services.
Tell your member of Congress that as a Reform Jew, you support all women’s access to contraceptive coverage without co-pay.