pcloudy.png
Sunday August 9th, 2020 3:42PM

Judge tosses Trump rule on billing for abortion coverage

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge in Baltimore on Friday struck down a Trump administration rule that abortion rights advocates called a maneuver to restrict access but officials defended as merely following the law.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake affects women covered under the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, not the majority with workplace insurance. The ruling hinged on the arcane question of whether a congressional requirement that insurers collect a “separate payment” for abortion coverage meant the companies also have to send their policyholders an additional, different bill, as the Trump administration wanted to require.

The judge's ruling means insurers can continue to make the charge for abortion coverage a line item on their monthly bill, or just give policyholders notice that it's included.

Although abortion is a legal medical procedure, federal law has long barred the use of taxpayer funds to pay for it in most cases. To secure the support of Democratic lawmakers opposed to abortion for his health law, former President Barack Obama agreed that insurers who covered the procedure would have to collect a separate payment and strictly segregate those funds from taxpayer subsidies for medical coverage.

But the law did not spell out the billing method insurers had to follow, and the Obama administration left it up to the companies to decide whether to list the relatively small cost of covering abortions on the main bill, or bill separately.

Abortion opponents cried foul, saying separate bills should be mandatory because that would clearly reflect the intent of the law. The Trump administration, which takes its lead on social issues from religious conservatives, agreed. Last year the Department of Health and Human Services proposed that separate bills would be required.

Planned Parenthood of Maryland sued on behalf of several women, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union. They argued that the requirement to send separate bills could prompt insurers to drop coverage for abortions and would create confusion for policyholders. Insurers argued that they were already complying with the law's requirement to keep premiums for abortion coverage strictly separate, and that mandating separate bills would only increase health care costs and complicate their business operations.

Judge Blake sided with the plaintiffs, underlining that the health care law itself called for “separate payments” but did not address how to collect.

“HHS has simply stated that it believes that (its) interpretation is reasonable and more appropriate, without explaining why,” the judge wrote.

It was the second setback in recent weeks for abortion opponents. In a much bigger case, a divided Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that doctors who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

If upheld, the Louisiana law could have led to clinics closing and directly reduced access. Blake's decision was much narrower, dealing with interpretations of administrative law.

HHS said it is reviewing the ruling and would have no comment.

Planned Parenthood celebrated. “Today is a huge victory for the people who need and deserve access to safe, legal abortion,” Alexis McGill Johnson, the group's president, said in a statement.

Blake was nominated by former President Bill Clinton.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Health, AP Business, AP Health - Women's health, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Financial Services
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Posey out for 2020 as MLB teams deal with churning rosters
San Francisco catcher Buster Posey became the latest well-known player to opt out of the abbreviated 2020 season
6:01PM ( 25 minutes ago )
NBA teams at Disney had tough travel-party decisions to make
The 22 teams participating in the NBA restart were all at the Disney campus together for the first time on Friday
5:59PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Indiana GOP ousts attorney general after groping allegations
Indiana Republicans have scuttled Attorney General Curtis Hill’s bid for reelection following a monthlong suspension of his law license over allegations that he groped a state lawmaker and three other women during a party
5:54PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump threatens to pull tax exemption for schools, colleges
In his push to get schools and colleges to reopen this fall, President Donald Trump is again taking aim at their finances, this time threatening their tax-exempt status
5:29PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Judge halts 1st federal execution in 17 years, citing virus
A federal judge in Indiana is halting the first federal execution in 17 years, citing concerns over the coronavirus
5:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
It's not just the presidency: Trump is changing the Congress
Donald Trump isn’t just changing the presidency during his first term in office
5:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Pennsylvania logs 1,000-plus cases in one day
Confirmed coronavirus infections in Pennsylvania hit over 1,000 on Friday in the state’s highest one-day mark since May, with state health officials blaming the rising numbers on crowded bars and out-of-state travel to virus hot spots
5:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
Foreign students weigh studying in person vs. losing visas
International students worried about a new immigration policy that could potentially cost them their visas say they feel stuck between being unnecessarily exposed during the coronavirus pandemic and being able to finish their studies in America
4:10PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: N.C. state senator tests positive for virus
A North Carolina state senator has tested positive for COVID-19, the first known case to involve a General Assembly member
3:42PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Health
COVID hits dozens of Latin leaders, including presidents
The COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping through  the leadership of Latin America,  with two more presidents and a powerful official testing positive this week for the new coronavirus
5:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ex-Trump fixer Cohen returned to prison where sentence began
President Donald Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen is back in the same federal prison he was in before the coronavirus pandemic prompted his early release
5:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Amazon bans TikTok from phones that access internal email
Amazon has told employees to delete the popular video app TikTok from phones on which they use Amazon email, citing security risks from the China-owned app
4:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Study suggests fetal coronavirus infection is possible
A small study strengthens evidence that a pregnant woman infected with the coronavirus might be able to spread it to her fetus
1:05PM ( 1 day ago )
Split high court throws out Louisiana abortion clinic limit
The Supreme Court has reasserted a commitment to abortion rights over fierce opposition from dissenting conservative justices in the first big abortion case of the Trump era
5:33PM ( 1 week ago )
Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion clinic law
The Supreme Court has struck down a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics, reasserting a commitment to abortion rights over fierce opposition from dissenting conservative justices in the first big abortion case of the Trump era
2:48PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Health - Women's health
Retail bankruptcy filings keep coming, coffee habits change
Muji U.S.A Ltd
1:56PM ( 4 hours ago )
Electric vehicle startup Rivian gets $2.5B in added funding
Electric vehicle startup Rivian says it has raised another $2.5 billion in funding from accounts advised by investment firm T
11:04AM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: India reports more than 26,000 new virus cases
India’s is reporting another record one-day spike in coronavirus cases, prompting some states to reimpose lockdowns in high-risk areas
1:38AM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Brazil asks investment firms to adopt protected Amazon areas
Brazil’s government has proposed that global asset-managers adopt protected areas in the Amazon rainforest in order to curb illegal deforestation ahead of the season farmers traditionally use fire to clear land and brush
2:45PM ( 1 day ago )
Housing market heats up, cruise industry in murky waters
Home buying is heating up, despite the pandemic
2:47PM ( 2 days ago )
Small business program scrutinized for loans to big firms
Congress set aside $659 billion to throw a lifeline to small businesses and organizations side-swiped by the coronavirus pandemic and to help paychecks keep flowing to workers who might otherwise head to the unemployment line
4:13PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Business - Financial Services
Posey out for 2020 as MLB teams deal with churning rosters
San Francisco catcher Buster Posey became the latest well-known player to opt out of the abbreviated 2020 season
6:01PM ( 25 minutes ago )
NBA teams at Disney had tough travel-party decisions to make
The 22 teams participating in the NBA restart were all at the Disney campus together for the first time on Friday
5:59PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Indiana GOP ousts attorney general after groping allegations
Indiana Republicans have scuttled Attorney General Curtis Hill’s bid for reelection following a monthlong suspension of his law license over allegations that he groped a state lawmaker and three other women during a party
5:54PM ( 32 minutes ago )
A look at the cases behind the Supreme Court rulings
The Supreme Court's rulings in two cases involving access to President Donald Trump’s financial records were the last ones of the court's term
5:53PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Shipbuilder files complaint over union threats during strike
Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing its largest union of threatening workers who cross the picket line during an ongoing strike
5:51PM ( 35 minutes ago )