Tell Your Senator to Reject the Blunt Amendment
February 29, 2012
As you might have already heard, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a proposal by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) that would allow employers and health insurance providers to exclude any coverage that they deem immoral or contrary to their religious beliefs. The measure, S. 1813, would amend the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to read that:
“… a health plan shall not be considered to have failed to provide [Essential Health Benefits or Preventive Services]” if it does not cover a service or benefit because “providing coverage… of such specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan.”
If passed, the Blunt amendment would effectively allow employers and health insurance providers to impose their religious beliefs on employees and recipients. This could leave millions of Americans – including our most vulnerable citizens, such as babies and pregnant women – without essential and preventative health coverage, simply because of their employer’s religiously motivated objections.
For example, the CEO of a major corporation or the owner of a small business could revoke birth control coverage, or deny maternity care to women, because of his or her religious convictions regarding contraception and out-of-wedlock pregnancies. Employers and health care providers would also be able to reject coverage for a wide range of vital services such as childhood immunizations, blood transfusions, mental health care, and prenatal screening for life-threatening genetic disorders.
Sen. Blunt claims that his amendment would further protect religious freedom. In reality, the amendment would strip Americans of their right to make their own health decisions, and place them at the whim of someone else’s religious beliefs. Contrary to Blunt’s assertion, current federal regulations that require employers and health care providers to cover essential and preventative coverage do not restrict the free exercise of religion and belief in any way. No one is being forced to engage in health practices they find objectionable. The regulations merely require that employers and health insurance companies that provide secular services actually provide the full range of those services.
Contact your Senator today and tell him or her to reject S. 1813 and protect the American people from religious control over their health care decisions.