New Jersey’s U.S. senators are fighting back against a Supreme Court ruling last month that would exempt some corporations from providing employees with contraceptive coverage required under the Affordable Care Act.
Both Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) joined U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and other senate Democrats earlier today in introducing Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, a bill that would override the court’s Hobby Lobby decision by ensuring that employers not interfere in employee contraceptive and health service decisions through discrimination.
“Private and personal health care decisions should be between a woman and her doctor— not her boss,” said Booker in a statement released earlier. “The Hobby Lobby decision highlights the constant threat to women’s access to health care and why we must go on the offensive. This bill will provide a necessary fix to the devastating effect of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision on women’s access to comprehensive health care.”
In their decision last month, the court found that some private corporations are protected, on religious grounds, from the health care reform requirement enacted under the ACA that employer-sponsored health insurance policies cover contraception.
Senate Democrats’ latest effort would work to negate that ruling, first by banning employers from refusing to cover any health coverage–including contraceptive coverage –guaranteed to their employees and dependents under federal law, but also by stating that all federal laws do not permit employers to refuse to comply with the ACA requirement.
Menendez joined Booker in decrying the ruling and getting behind the new legislation.
“Last week’s Supreme Court ruling allowing employers to deny essential health care coverage to their female workers was a dangerous blow to equality in America.” said Menendez. “Congress must take action to right this wrong. This legislation will help us ensure vital medical decisions are made by an employee and her doctor – not her boss. We should quickly pass this act to protect health reform’s promise of equal access to care and coverage.”
Jeff Bell, the GOP hopeful looking to boot Booker from his briefly-held seat in November, has previously declared his support for the Hobby Lobby ruling.
Identical legislation is being proposed in the House, and both bills are said to have to support of the White House.