Supreme Court allows employers to dodge Obamacare contraceptive provision

July 8, 2020

In a win for the Trump administration, employers will be able to opt out of the provision due to religious objections.

The U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration July 8 and ruled that regulations allowing employers to opt out of an Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision to provide birth control without a copay.

In a seven to two ruling, the justices ruled that the Trump administration can allow employers to opt out of the requirement based on religious or moral objections to contraception. The move is expected to lead to and estimated 70,000 to 126,000 women losing contraceptive coverage from their employer, according to a report from The New York Times.

Previously, the provision has weathered two challenges before the high court brought by religious groups refusing to comply with the regulation. With this case, the Trump administration sided with religious employers and claimed that the provision could impose a substantial burden on freedom of religion, the Times says.

The administration’s new regulation was blocked last year by a three-judge panel at the U.S. Third District Appeals Court in Philadelphia. In that decision, the judges wrote that the move would disproportionately affect poor women’s access to birth control, according to the Times.

The move is just one part of President Donald J. Trump’s full-term attempt to dismantle the healthcare law which he promised to “repeal and replace” during his 2016 election.

Justices are still considering another challenge to the ACA aimed at dismissing the whole law as unconstitutional due to the removal of the so-called individual mandate, or the tax penalty for those who do not buy health insurance.

In that case the administration has sided with opponents of the ACA. A decision is not expected on that case until after the November 2020 General Election.