by Sam Stein, politcal reporting for The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON -- Minutes after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney found himself tripped up over whether or not he supported a bill that would allow employers to deny health care coverage over religious or moral objections, the White House exhibited no such vagueness on the issue.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday evening sent The Huffington Post the following statement on the Blunt Amendment, which is slated to have a vote in the Senate Thursday.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health & Human Services reported that over 20 million American women in private health insurance plans have already gained access to at least one free preventive service because of the health care law. Without financial barriers like co-pays and deductibles, women are better able to access potentially life-saving services, and cancers are caught earlier, chronic diseases are managed and hospitalizations are prevented.
A proposal being considered in the Senate this week would allow employers that have no religious affiliation to exclude coverage of any health service, no matter how important, in the health plan they offer to their workers. This proposal isn't limited to contraception nor is it limited to any preventive service. Any employer could restrict access to any service they say they object to. This is dangerous and wrong.
The Obama administration believes that decisions about medical care should be made by a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss. We encourage the Senate to reject this cynical attempt to roll back decades of progress in women’s health.
The debate over contraception coverage has managed to remain prominent both on the campaign trail and in Washington D.C. And it stands to reason that Democrats aren't too displeased with that being the case.
This is the second time the Obama administration publicly released a statement on the matter. Meanwhile, party officials were giddy over the Romney campaign's quick walk back of an earlier statement in which he seemingly said he opposed the amendment -- not just because he made an abrupt reversal on the topic, but because he has now publicly come out in favor of an amendment that many voters find objectionable.