Georgia U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) is summoning President Barack Obama to reverse a controversial Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that stems from the new health care law.
Under the law faith-based institutions will be forced to provide health insurance covering contraceptives and abortives, even if it does infringe on religious beliefs.
Senator Chambliss sent out a statement about his letter to the president.
"While I understand and respect the importance of protecting access to women's health coverage, I do not believe that the federal government should implement mandates that require Americans to provide services that are contrary to their moral convictions. Therefore, I joined my colleagues in a letter to the president asking him to reconsider the administration's final ruling," said Georgia U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss.
Chambliss joins 17 senators across the U.S. in this cause.
Look below to see the full letter to the president.
The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear Mr. President: We are writing to express our concerns with the final rule, promulgated on February 10th by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under which virtually all private health care plans would have to cover sterilization procedures and all forms of contraceptive methods that have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. We urge you to revisit this rule due to the fact that its implementation will unjustly impact religiously-affiliated organizations and individuals. The implementation of this rule will jeopardize access to vitally important health care services by undermining the religious practices of employers that regard certain contraceptive methods or sterilization procedures as morally objectionable. The Department's recent actions suggest a disregard for the Constitution's guarantee of religious liberty and do not adequately reflect all the public comments received by HHS. The final rule is inconsistent with your stated commitment to avoid skirting constitutional and customary limits on executive branch power. Implementing a mandate that health insurance plans must provide coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures, even if the organization purchasing the plan believes one or more of these services to be immoral, will have troubling consequences. Letting employees receive coverage through their insurance company, rather than receiving coverage directly through an employer, as the Administration proposed last week, would not forestall such consequences:
- First, in merely shifting the costs of contraceptives from policyholders to insurers, the final rule neglects to adequately protect the conscience rights of many religious organizations and individuals. Faith-based institutions will have to subsidize services they regard as inherently immoral, in the likely event that the additional costs of providing sterilization services and abortifacients without cost-sharing are passed on to religious organizations in the form of higher insurance premiums.
- Second, because many religious institutions are self-insuring, we are concerned that non-exempt religious organizations with self-funded insurance plans still could be required, as indicated recently by Secretary Sebelius, to provide services they regard as morally objectionable. We also question whether individual employers who object to subsidizing all FDA-approved contraceptive services and sterilization procedures on moral grounds would have an exemption to the requirements in the final rule.