Wednesday, May 12, 2021
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Tag: Contraception

Gov. George Allen Signed Contraceptive Coverage Into Law; No Exemptions for...

As always, we love to point out rank Republican't hypocrisy. In this case, it's their issue du jour, that President Obama is somehow "hostile" to (or even "declared war on") religion because his administration has stated that contraceptives should be covered under the health care law, with exemptions for churches but not for church-affiliated hospitals, universities, etc. Well, as it turns out, this "war on religion" also is taking place in notoriously liberal Georgia, as well as under Romneycare in Massachusetts. But not here in religion-respecting Virginia, right?

Uh oh.

Accident and sickness insurance; denial of benefits for prescription contraceptives prohibited. Requires any (i) individual or group accident and sickness insurance policies providing hospital, medical and surgical or major medical coverage on an expense incurred basis; (ii) corporation providing individual or group accident and sickness subscription contracts; and (iii) health maintenance organization providing a health care plan for health care services, whose policy, contract or plan, including any certificate or evidence of coverage issued in connection with such policy, contract or plan, includes coverage for prescription drugs on an outpatient basis, to provide in each such policy, contract, plan, certificate, and evidence of coverage that such benefits will not be denied for any drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use as a contraceptive. Each such policy, contract, plan, certificate, and evidence of coverage must also include coverage for a variety of federal Food and Drug Administration approved prescription contraceptives. If the patient's physician determines that none of the methods designated by the policy, contract, plan, certificate, or evidence of coverage is medically appropriate for the patient, the plan must also provide coverage for another medically approved prescription contraceptive method prescribed by the patient's physician.

This new section will not require coverage for experimental contraceptive drugs not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration or coverage for prescription drugs in any contract, policy or plan that does not otherwise provide such coverage. These provisions will not apply to short-term travel, or accident-only policies, or to short-term nonrenewable policies of not more than six months' duration.

This provision would apply to individual or group accident and sickness insurance policies, contracts, plans, certificates, and evidences of coverage providing outpatient prescription drugs, pursuant to §§ 38.2-4214 and 38.2-4319, on and after July 1, 1996.

Note that there are no exemptions - none, nada, zilch - for religious institutions of any kind mentioned in this Virginia law. Also note that this passed the State Senate 27-12 (Bill Bolling voted "nay," while several Republicans voted "yea"), passed the House of Delegates 86-12 ("Nay" votes cast by Eric Cantor, Morgan Griffith, Bob Marshall and...Bob McDonnell), and was signed into law by (drum roll please) Governor George "Felix" Allen!

So, what's with George Allen's "war on religion" (snark) anyway, especially given that Allen went contrary to conservatives like Eric Cantor, Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Bob Marshall on this one? Perhaps this is something that Bob Marshall might want to ask him when they debate? Should be fun. :)

P.S. Allen also signed into law a health provision covering state employees which says, "The plan shall include coverage for prescription drugs and devices approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use as contraceptives."

UPDATE: Hahahahaha; Allen recently said, "my view is that this unprecedented mandate by the Obama administration is an abhorrent overreach that violates the very liberty and religious freedom that our country was founded on." Look in the mirror, dude! Allen also called the Obama administration's action "unprecedented;" in fact, it had numerous precedents, including Romneycare, Georgia, and...Virginia under Gov. George Allen. Ha.

Much Ado About Nothing or Do Religious Groups Have a Point?

I've listened to many talking heads yesterday and this morning about the new rules the Feds are putting in place to require all religious entities like hospitals to provide both contraception and other forms of birth control as a part of their insurance coverage.

Are the churches with whom these entities are affiliated and right wing conservatives again making much ado about nothing or do they have a point about the federal government infringing upon our religious freedoms? The Feds have said churches are exempt. So anyone hired to work in the church itself is not required to receive these insurance options. But should the hospitals and other businesses which are affiliated with those churches also be exempt because they are extensions of the church? Or when religious organizations choose to branch out into business be treated like all other businesses?