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Romney Maintained Contraception Rule Similar to Federal Rule

February 22, 2012 at 9:25 p.m. ET

In tonight’s debate, Mitt Romney continued his disingenuous attacks against President Obama over the federal contraception rule. Not only did Romney falsely claim that the policy forces “the Catholic church” to provide contraception coverage, but he also overlooked the fact that he oversaw and protected a virtually identical in policy in Massachusetts.

REALITY: ROMNEY DID NOT SEEK TO REPEAL OR AMEND THE STATE CONTRACEPTION REQUIREMENT WHICH WAS VIRTUALLY THE SAME AS THE FEDERAL REQUIREMENT HE HAS BEEN ATTACKING

As Governor, Romney Did Not Seek To Amend Or Repeal A 2002 Massachusetts Law That “Mirrored” President Obama’s Proposal To Require All Employers To Provide Health Insurance That Covered Birth Control. “Mitt Romney faulted President Barack Obama's original push to require church-affiliated employers to pay for birth control as an ‘assault on religion,’ but as Massachusetts governor, Romney was largely silent about a state law that required virtually the same contraceptive coverage. The Massachusetts law, which essentially mirrored Obama's proposal, was signed by Romney's predecessor in 2002, the year before he took office. Romney did not seek its repeal. …As governor, Romney made no similar effort to amend or repeal the state law, which required employers that purchase insurance plans in Massachusetts to pay for contraceptives.” [Associated Press, 2/11/12]

As Governor, Romney Did Not Raise Objections To A Contraception Services Mandate On Religious Or Moral Grounds But “Viewed The Contraception Requirement More In Economic Terms.” “Mitt Romney has said the Obama administration is intruding on religious freedom by moving to require religious–affiliated employers to cover contraception services in their health insurance plans. When confronted with a similar law as governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Romney didn't raise objections on religious or moral grounds, say people who worked in his administration or in health care interest groups there. Rather, he viewed the contraception requirement more in economic terms, as only one of many costly ‘mandates’ that some believed were driving up the price of insurance and suppressing competition, according to these people.” [Wall Street Journal, 2/13/12]

 

Federal Law

Massachusetts Law

All FDA-approved contraception, including emergency contraception, must be covered.

All FDA-approved contraception, including emergency contraception, must be covered.

Contraception must be covered without cost-sharing.

Contraception must be covered on the same terms as other outpatient services.

Religious exemption applies to any nonprofit

that promotes religion and primarily serves

and employs people of the same faith, such as

churches, other houses of worship, and some

parochial schools—so churches don’t have to

cover birth control for their direct employees.

Religious exemption applies to churches and other houses of worship, and to church-controlled organizations.

Other religious organizations will not be required to offer contraception, and women will have access to coverage directly through their insurer

Religious exemption does not apply to nonprofits like hospitals and universities that are organized separate from the church.

Source: http://www.barackobama.com/news/entry/say-anything-mitt-on-contraceptive-coverage

REALITY: ROMNEY MAINTAINED THE CONTRACEPTION MANDATE AND EXPANDED COVERAGE TO MORE WOMEN WITH HIS HEALTH CARE LAW

2006: Romney Signed The Massachusetts Health Care Law Which Kept In Place The Contraceptive Coverage Mandate. “The closest Romney came to addressing the question of mandated health care coverage was during the debate over what would become Massachusetts' landmark 2006 health care law. Romney's version of the law would have lifted all mandated insurance benefit requirements for individuals and small businesses insured through what would become the state's health connector. It also would have lifted benefit requirements from subsidized insurance plans. The goal was mandate-free insurance. But the version of the bill approved by the Democrat-controlled Legislature rejected Romney's proposal and the mandates remained. Backers of the 2006 law signed by Romney say it actually expanded contraceptive coverage. ‘The uninsured individuals who got access to health insurance because of the health law ... all got access to contraceptive coverage because of that law,’ said John McDonough, former head of the advocacy group Health Care For All. While Romney was largely silent on the contraceptive coverage mandate, he fought a much more public battle over whether to require hospitals in Massachusetts to dispense emergency contraception to rape victims.” [Associated Press, 2/11/12]

REALITY: MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH EXPERTS SAID ROMNEY IS NOT BEING TRUTHFUL WHEN HE SAYS HE TRIED TO ELIMINATE THE CONTRACEPTION MANDATE

Harvard Professor John McDonough, Who Led Health Care For All During Massachusetts’ Health Care Reform Debate, Said The Contraception Requirement “Never Came Up.” “A consumer-advocacy group that tracked the progress of the health care law ushered in by Mr. Romney in 2005 and 2006 said the contraception question never arose. … ‘It never came up,’' said John McDonough, a professor at Harvard School of Public Health, who led Health Care for All when the state healthcare overhaul was under debate.” [Wall Street Journal, 2/13/12]

Health Care For All’s Amy Whitcomb Slemmer: “Contraception Was Not An Issue During The Debate Around Health Reform In Massachusetts.” “A consumer-advocacy group that tracked the progress of the health care law ushered in by Mr. Romney in 2005 and 2006 said the contraception question never arose. Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of the nonpartisan group, Health Care for All, said, ‘Contraception was not an issue during the debate around health reform in Massachusetts.’' [Wall Street Journal, 2/13/12]

 Former Massachusetts Secretary for Human Services Phil Johnston Said Romney Is “Not Being Truthful” When He Says He Opposes The Contraception Mandate. “Mitt Romney never expressed any concern about the mandate – never mentioned that it would infringe upon religious freedoms. During the four years that Governor Romney served, he was totally silent about that issue. Most notably, his signature issue as Governor, which all of us supported and which we now affectionately refer to as “Romneycare” left the contraception mandate in place. So when he says he opposes the contraception mandate and will repeal it, which apparently he’s been saying the past day or two since this issue has become very public, he’s really not being truthful. He had four years to repeal it or to speak out against it in our state and he didn’t do that. And even more tellingly, his own healthcare plan which he signed into law embraced contraception mandates.” [Former Massachusetts Secretary of Human Services Phil Johnston During DNC Press Call, 2/9/12; audio available here http://my.democrats.org/page/-/audio/calls/MAHealthCare130pmCall020912.mp3]

REALITY: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S GUIDELINES PROTECT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WHILE ENSURING WOMEN’S ACCESS TO VITAL HEALTH SERVICES

The Obama Administration’s Contraception Rule Exempts Churches And Houses Of Worship From Covering Contraception Based On Religious Objections. “Today, the Obama Administration will publish final rules in the Federal Register that: Exempts churches, other houses of worship, and similar organizations from covering contraception on the basis of their religious objections.” [The White House, 2/10/12]

Ø  Under The Obama Administration’s Guidelines, Women Who Work For Religiously-Affiliated Institutions That Object To Providing Coverage Will Be Able To Obtain Contraception Directly From Their Insurance Company. “This amends a rule announced in August and set to take effect this summer that will require employers to provide contraceptive coverage with no out-of-pocket costs as part of their health plans for workers. Churches have always been exempt from the mandate. ... Under the new arrangement - the details of which have yet to be finalized - women who work for such organizations would still be guaranteed contraceptive coverage. But they will obtain it directly from their insurance companies, which must provide the coverage without charging an additional premium.” [Washington Post, 2/11/12]

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