Preservation act: Obama has been flexible enough on contraception

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The Obama administration has decided that it won't back down from its commitment to include insurance coverage for contraceptives under the federal health care law. That's a good thing.

The White House issued a final rule June 28 that requires most employers to provide free insurance coverage of contraceptives for women. After court challenges to the health care law's constitutionality and some adjustments to placate religious groups, the White House has reached a point where it can compromise no further on one of the Affordable Care Act's key provisions.

Once fully implemented, women employed by for-profit businesses with more than 50 employees will have insurance with contraception coverage.

Because some religious groups and organizations opposed the contraception provision from the start, the health care law treats them differently. A house of worship is exempt from the requirement, as long as it is a tax-exempt religious employer. Universities, hospitals and other religious-affiliated employers that provide nonreligious services to people of all faiths do not have to provide contraception coverage either, but must notify their insurance carriers, which then must offer the workers a separate contraception benefit at no cost to the employees.

Some religious-affiliated organizations despise even a passive role in helping women get access to birth control that does not conform to the group's religious teaching. Nothing short of eliminating this coverage will please these critics.

The Obama administration has gone as far as it can to address these objections and still treat such employees fairly under the health care act. It should consider the matter closed.



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