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Chief Communications Officer
American Medical Student Association
Executive Exemptions: AMSA Opposes President’s Affronts to Contraception, Health Care Coverage, and Health Equity
STERLING, Virginia — October 12, 2017 – In only six days, the current executive administration has implored its agencies to seek regulatory changes that could potentially have devastating consequences on health care coverage and delivery.
On Friday, October 6, President Trump reversed protections from the ACA that would now allow more businesses to claim religious or moral exemptions to offering insurance coverage that includes birth control, ignoring abounding medical evidence on birth control’s benefits to overall population health. An employer citing religious or moral exemptions to coverage of a pacemaker or insulin, for example, would be publicly intolerable. Contraception has a multitude of medical uses. Employers set job descriptions and compensation, not the scope or necessity of health care an employee needs.
Furthermore, today President Trump released another executive order calling on federal regulatory agencies to establish rules that would expand association health plans and short-term insurance. While agencies must still logistically determine how to implement these goals, the impact on the individual market place could be dire, funneling more participants into employer/association reliant coverage. Association plans could likewise offer less coverage than the ACA-mandated essential benefits in the plans on individual exchanges, as could lengthened short-term plans. The end result could incentivize younger, healthier people to seek these less expensive, less provisional options while leaving older, sicker persons in the individual exchanges with higher premiums and deductibles, ultimately destabilizing the marketplace through increased segmentation.
Segmentation will continue to be problematic with the current infrastructure, and AMSA therefore supports a publicly and progressively financed, privately delivered federal single payer system of high quality, affordable health care for all persons. In regard to the private health insurance industry and in the absence of a unified single payer system, AMSA opposes deregulation to enable the interstate sale of private health insurance, and supports health care reform that expands comprehensive coverage and access for all persons living in the United States. We further support contraceptive equity—insurance coverage for contraceptive devices and medications, including but not limited to emergency contraception, at the same rate as other covered medications—for both private and public insurance, to achieve fair access and lower costs to patients. We likewise support federal guidelines requiring all insurance plans to cover birth control without co-pay as part of preventive health care, and oppose any exceptions for religiously affiliated plans.
We therefore denounce the aims in the president’s executive orders and calls for regulatory rollbacks as undermining evidence based medicine and progress toward achieving equitable, comprehensive, affordable health care for all.
By: Daniel H. Gouger, MD, AMSA Education and Advocacy Fellow
About the American Medical Student Association:
AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online.