Obama administration mandates contraceptive coverage

The Department of Health and Human Services, which is taking on an Orwellian context come to think of it, has just added a new twist to healthcare law.

In the form of more mandates.

Following recommendations by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the Obama administration announced this morning that insurance plans will be required to cover contraceptives, which include abortion-inducing drugs such as Plan B and Ella, as well as elective sterilizations.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a news release included the drugs as part of an essential “preventive care” package. “Historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost were announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” she said.

The HHS release notes that “contraception methods and contraceptive counseling” are to be covered, while CNN notes that the preventive mandate will include sterilizations.

The mandate comes after a massive, months-long push by abortion giant Planned Parenthood to establish free birth control for American women, a campaign strongly opposed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Pregnancy is not a disease, they said, and this is not “preventive health”, which Congressman Jeff Fortenberry said on my radio show Friday evening just after the House voted on the debt deal. He’s co-author of the Rights of Conscience Act, even more under threat Monday than it was on Friday.

The spin has been interesting. Early on Monday, the Associated Press carried the story at this link with the headline “Insurers must cover birth control with no copays.” I printed it at the time to use in my show prep materials, so I have the original version. It opened with this:

Health insurance plans must cover birth control as preventive care for women, with no copays, the Obama administration said Monday in a decision with far-reaching implications for health care as well as social mores.

The requirement is part of a broad expansion of coverage for women’s preventive care under President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Etc., etc.

Then that same link took you to a story that morphed into this, headlined “Coverage with no copay extended to health care”. Here’s how it opened:

A half-century after the advent of the pill, the Obama administration on Monday ushered in a change in women’s health care potentially as transformative: coverage of birth control as prevention, with no copays.

Services ranging from breast pumps for new mothers to counseling on domestic violence were also included in the broad expansion of women’s preventive care under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Since birth control is the most common drug prescribed to women, health plans should make sure it’s readily available, said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Not doing it would be like not covering flu shots,” she said.

Yes, she really said that. It’s tortured logic (apply critical thinking skills to that one). Or it’s  Orwellian. Whichever is worse.