Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today joined a coalition of 7 states and the District of Columbia in suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over a requirement that threatens women’s access to abortion, and puts Oregon women at risk of accidentally losing health insurance coverage.
In December 2019, HHS issued a final rule that requires qualified health plans participating in the state exchanges to send two separate bills and to collect two separate payments if they offer abortion coverage. Insurers would be required to separately bill for the portion of health insurance premiums attributable to abortion coverage, and then require women to make a separate payment of at least one dollar.
“I want to be very clear: This new rule is both confusing and unnecessary, and it is yet another attack on the right to a safe abortion,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “It is designed to discourage insurers from covering abortion services, and to trick women into not paying their insurance premiums, potentially causing their insurance coverage to be revoked because they did not pay a separate one-dollar bill.”
The lawsuit alleges that the new rule is incompatible with the ACA’s requirement of equitable access to healthcare and disproportionately affects states that are committed to ensuring comprehensive reproductive healthcare.
In the lawsuit, the coalition argues that the rule is unlawful because it:
- Imposes onerous and unnecessary regulatory barriers aimed at restricting women’s constitutionally protected right to access abortion care;
- Seeks to frustrate state sovereignty by coercing states to change their policies relating to the protection of abortion care;
- Violates Section 1554 of the ACA, which prohibits the promulgation of any regulation that creates unreasonable barriers to the ability of individuals to obtain appropriate medical care; and
- Exceeds HHS’s statutory authority under Section 1303 of the ACA.
“Oregonians have voted time and time again to support women’s reproductive health freedoms, and we won’t back down now over an arbitrary rule by the federal government to make it harder to access a safe and legal abortion,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.
In addition to Oregon, the other states joining this coalition include California, New York, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and serves as the state’s law firm. The Oregon DOJ advocates for and protects all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and seniors.