S. 2578 – Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act
(Senator Murray, D-Washington, and 43 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports legislation that would give women affected by the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the same coverage that everyone else is offered without interference by their employers.
Preventive health services, when accessible and affordable, have the potential to prevent disease, manage chronic illness, and save lives as well as dollars. That is why the Affordable Care Act ensures that Americans have coverage for preventive care like vaccines, cancer screenings, and contraception that medical experts have concluded are critical to the Nation's health. According to a recent analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 76 million people have gained preventive services coverage since the law passed, and there are now an estimated 48.5 million women enrolled in private plans that are required to cover contraception without cost‑sharing. Contraception has significant health benefits, as documented by the independent Institute of Medicine, and coverage removes cost as a barrier to its use. One study found that in 2013, the year the coverage requirement started, utilization increased and women saved $483 million.
However, the Supreme Court's rulings in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell, allow some employers to now withhold contraception coverage from their employees based on their own religious beliefs that their employees may not share. The Administration believes that women should make personal health care decisions for themselves, rather than their employers deciding for them.
This legislation would restore that right. It would prevent owners of for-profit companies from asserting their personal religious views to deny their employees Federally-required health benefits. At the same time, it would preserve the regulatory exemption for religious organizations like houses of worship and an accommodation for eligible nonprofit religious organizations, like some charities, that have religious objections to contraception coverage. This legislation is consistent with the congressional intent in enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 2578 and remains committed to working with the Congress to improve the affordability and accessibility of health care for all Americans.