The organizations spoke out just one day after the Trump administration issued a pair of federal rules that allow some employers to opt out of a requirement under the Affordable Care Act to provide birth control coverage for their employees. The new rules allow some employers to deny coverage on religious or moral grounds.
“By undercutting women’s access to contraception, a key preventive service, at no out-of-pocket cost in private insurance plans, the final rules conflict with our firmly held belief that no woman should lose the coverage she has today,” they said.
The other four organizations that joined with APA were the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Physicians.
“These rules create a dangerous new standard for employers to deny their employees coverage based on their own moral objections. This interferes in the personal health care decisions of our patients and inappropriately inserts a patient’s employer into the patient-physician relationship,” they cautioned. Additionally, the rules also “open the door to moral exemptions for other essential physician-recommended preventive services, such as immunizations.”
The groups also warned of the harmful effects of reducing women’s access to contraceptives on public health. “We know that when women have unintended pregnancies, they are more likely to delay prenatal care, resulting in a greater risk of complications during and following pregnancy for both the woman and her child. The final rules reject these facts and the corresponding recommendations of the medical community, jeopardizing many women’s ability to maintain a vital component of their health care,” they said.
“Our organizations, which represent more than 423,000 physicians and medical students, stand together in opposition to the administration’s final rules, the Religious Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act and the Moral Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act. … We urge the administration to immediately withdraw these rules and instead focus on policies to expand access to evidence-based health care for all Americans.”
The final rules are set to take effect in January 2019.