Health | Local

Sen. Merkley Fights Against Moral Exemption Amendment

OPB | Feb. 21, 2012 9:21 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:02 a.m. | Portland, OR

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Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is trying to rally colleagues to reject an amendment that would permit health plans to opt out of certain coverage on moral grounds.

Later this year, health care reforms will require workplace insurance plans to cover birth control costs as a standard, preventive care benefit.

A vote is expected next week on an amendment, offered by Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri.  It would allow any insurer or employer to decline covering a medical service on moral grounds.

Senator Merkley calls that a huge loophole. “This is wide open, this basically says the person who runs an inusurance plan gets to impose their view of the world on everyone else.”

Merkley says the federal government would be well-advised to follow Oregon’s model.

In 2007, the state passed a law requiring insurers to treat birth control as they do other prescriptions.

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