A federal judge on Friday issued a temporary injunction against the Trump administration's modification of ObamaCare's contraception mandate.
The Affordable Care Act requires employers to pay for birth control as part of employee health plans, with limited exemptions. The Trump White House issued a new rule expanding those exemptions to allow almost any business to decline to offer contraception coverage for religious or moral reasons.
Judge Wendy Beetlestone of Pennsylvania wrote in her opinion that the rule could cause "enormous and irreversible" harm, worrying that employers could seek to drive women out of the workplace entirely by changing their coverage policies.
While Beetlestone argued it "is difficult to comprehend a rule that does more to undermine the contraceptive mandate or that intrudes more into the lives of women," religious liberty advocates argue that business owners with sincere religious or moral opposition to birth control methods — like the morning-after pill, which can stop a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall — should not be forced to offer coverage. Bonnie Kristian
The House could vote to repeal and replace ObamaCare before the end of the month, Politico reports. A person who attended a closed-door meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday revealed that Ryan hopes to have the House vote on the replacement plan in three weeks.
It isn't clear if the White House has backed Ryan's bill. "There have been stories in the media that somehow the White House and Ryan's office are in agreement on health care," said Freedom Caucus member Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho). "We have not yet heard that [President Trump] backed it or he doesn't."
But even many Republicans are skeptical about ambitions to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Last week, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner claimed that a full repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act is "not going to happen," calling the suggestion that it might just "happy talk." "Republicans never agree on health care," Boehner said.
On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul wondered "what is the House leadership trying to hide?" following reports that a bill was drafted and hidden away. "My guess is, they are trying to hide their 'ObamaCare Lite' approach," Paul said. Jeva Lange
As Republicans approach repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in the coming months, American voters are divided on what specific changes they want to see. Most everyone, though, wants changes: Just 41 percent of people in a new Politico/Morning Consult poll said they approve of the law, with 52 percent of people disapproving. In fact, repealing ObamaCare ranks as the most important issue for President-elect Donald Trump to address, according to voters.
But what voters mean by "changes" is not an agreed-upon topic. Less than a third of voters, at 32 percent, want the law repealed in part, and just 27 percent want it repealed completely. On the contrary, 24 percent want the law expanded, while only 11 percent want it to hold as is.
On this most people can agree, though: The law should not be repealed if there is not a plan to replace it, 61 percent of respondents said. Twenty-eight percent of people answered that the law should be repealed regardless of whether a replacement plan is in place.
What a replacement will look like is up in the air, too (Trump's incoming chief strategist and senior counselor, Steve Bannon, told Politico the team is "still thinking [it] through"). There is agreement about certain parts of the law, though, with even 63 percent of Republicans saying the prohibition on denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions should be a part of the new health-care law, and 56 percent of Republicans saying insurance companies should be required to keep children of policyholders on plans until 26.