Preservation act

White House won't back down from insurance coverage for contraceptives


The Obama Administration has decided it won’t back down further from its commitment to include insurance coverage for contraceptives under the federal health care law. That’s good.

The White House issued a final rule last month 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 more on one of the Affordable Care Act’s key provisions.

Once the law takes full effect, women who are employed by for-profit businesses with more than 50 employees will have insurance with contraception coverage. But because some religious groups opposed the contraception provision, 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 they must notify their insurance carriers, which then must offer the workers a separate contraception benefit at no cost to the employees.

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

But the Obama Administration has gone as far as it can go to address these objections and still treat such employees fairly under the health care law. It should consider the matter closed.