We knew this was eventually going to happen. And if it was going to happen it would more likely than not happen in California (known as the Cereal State because it is populated by fruits, flakes, and nuts). And now it has. California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) Director Michelle Rouillard has ordered all insurance plans in the state to cover surgical abortion for any and all reasons. For instance:
Blue Cross must amend current health plan documents to remove discriminatory coverage exclusions and limitations. These limitations or exclusions include, but are not limited to, any exclusion of coverage for “voluntary” or “elective” abortions and/or any limitation of coverage to only “therapeutic” or “medically necessary” abortions. Blue Cross may, consistent with the law, omit any mention of coverage for abortion services in health plan documents, as abortion is a basic health care service.
It makes no sense to allow a employer to opt out of some contraceptive requirements for reasons of conscience yet require coverage of abortion. In an even more bizarre twist, the California letter allows employers to NOT cover Plan B and similar abortifacients but requires coverage of partial birth abortion. Via The Federalist:
Several other California churches have received similar notices from their insurers, and others will follow. While California (like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS) exempts churches from its contraceptive mandate, there is no exception to this bureaucratic abortion mandate. This leaves California churches in the illogical and impossible position of being free to exclude contraceptives from their health plan for reasons of religious conscience but required to provide their employees with abortion coverage.
This California mandate is in blatant violation of federal law that specifically prohibits California from discriminating against health care plans on the basis that they do not cover abortion. Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation have filed administrative complaints with the HHS Office of Civil Rights (which oversees this federal law) on behalf of individual employees and seven California churches forced into abortion coverage in violation of their conscience.
The Los Angeles times, in its op-ed pages, crows:
In upholding the law against a constitutional challenge from Catholic Charities in 2004,the state Supreme Court noted that the law’s definition of a “religious employer” entitled to an exemption is specific. The employer must be a nonprofit entity whose purpose is the “inculcation of religious …read more