Bill would allow employers to avoid covering anything they object to

The United States Senate today will vote on the Blunt Amendment, which makes the whole contraceptives controversy look like Sunday school.

Should religious employers be forced to provide their employees with free contraceptives as part of any health insurance plan? President Obama says they should. Many religious leaders are up in arms over this because they say it violates their freedom of religion. The Blunt Amendment takes that objection to its logical conclusion.

Earlier this week, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the Blunt Amendment to a transportation funding bill. His amendment would enable any employer to exempt him or herself from providing any coverage they find morally objectionable. Mitt Romney has endorsed the amendment.

This legislation would allow any employer or insurance company to deny any health care benefit for pretty much any reason. Benefits that could be denied, according to Think Progess, include:

contraception
cancer screenings
diabetes screenings
STD screenings
prenatal care
mental health coverage

The Senate is expected to vote today on the Blunt Amendment to the surface transportation re-authorization bill. The Amendment has 23 co-sponsors.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, had this to say about Romney’s support of the Blunt amendment:

“Mitt Romney opposed the Blunt amendment after lunch and supported it before dinner. It took less than two hours for Mitt Romney to again show how out of touch he is and why he can’t be trusted on women’s health.

“A wide range of health care groups, including the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Spina Bifida Association oppose the Blunt amendment because they also recognize that it is dangerous.

“Simply put, the Blunt amendment would jeopardize women’s health and allow any employer or health plan to refuse to cover any health care service they object to, such as cancer screenings, maternity care, HIV/AIDS treatments and others.

“In other words, Mitt Romney supports allowing a CEO to deny birth control coverage or cancer screenings to all his employees, if he objects.

“Americans want a president who will increase access to basic health care, not one who would allow corporations to deny health care to their employees.”

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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