Brown Co-Sponsors Amendment That Allows CEOs to Restrict Your Health Coverage

Boston Globe (subscription needed) is reporting that Senator Scott Brown has joined as a co-sponsor to an amendment that would allow employers and insurers to limit health care coverage.

Bill S. 1467 Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011

Declares that nothing in PPACA shall be construed to authorize a health plan to require a provider to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.

PPACA is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Elizabeth Warren responded to Scott Brown’s position:

“This election is about whose side you stand on,” she said. “Here’s an example of giving power to insurance companies and corporations to undercut basic health care coverage. I’m going to fight for families to keep that coverage. The economics around health care are huge for families.”

“I don’t think this will go over well in Massachusetts,” she said. “I think the people of Massachusetts will want to hear about it.”

Scott Brown’s response:

“It’s elitist for Elizabeth Warren to dictate to religious people about what they should believe and how they should act. She wants to use the power of government to force Catholics to violate the teachings of their faith,” Brown spokesman Colin Reed emailed. “That is wrong. This issue deals with one of our most fundamental rights as a people — the freedom of religion. Like Ted Kennedy, Scott Brown supports a religious conscience exemption in health care.”

It seems that Brown is not telling the whole story, while the amendment does have language on religious exemptions, it also includes what is called “moral objection”, Mother Jones explains that this bill:

would allow any insurer or employer, religiously affiliated or otherwise, to opt out of providing any health care services required by federal law—everything from maternity care to screening for diabetes. Employers wouldn’t have to cite religious reasons for their decision; they could just say the treatment goes against their moral convictions. That exception could include almost anything—an employer could theoretically claim a “moral objection” to the cost of providing a given benefit. The bill would also allow employers to sue if state or federal regulators try to make them comply with the law.

I don’t see the upside of co-sponsoring this legislation.

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Sat 29 Apr 11:30 AM