Senate to vote tomorrow on whether your boss can dictate your health care coverage

Tomorrow, the Senate is expected to vote on the Blunt amendment, which, as we’ve reported, would “allow any employer to exclude any health service coverage by claiming that it violates their religious or moral convictions.” Birth control? HIV treatment? Maternity care? Whateves.

Republican supporters are saying it isn’t that big a deal–that it’s just the same conscious protections that have always been in place. In fact, allowing even non-religious employers to refuse to cover any services they want is a radical new move. Any employer–even a Taco Bell–could deny their employees coverage of key preventive services that are guaranteed to everyone else under health care reform on the basis of their own personal “morals.” Here’s a video from the Senate Democrats that clearly explains what exactly is at stake.

Blunt and co. have pushed hard to get a vote on this amendment. Which is weird since most people like birth control and don’t agree that your boss should be able to dictate what kind of health care you can get. Indeed, Democrats are happy to have this fight and drive home just how out of touch the GOP has become. Majority Leader Harry Reid quipped, “Once we put this extreme, distracting proposal behind us, I’m hoping my Republican colleagues will stop living in the past and join us this year, 2012, and help us create jobs.” Well, a guy can dream.

Transcript after the jump.

Republicans, led by Senator Roy Blunt, are pushing legislation that could radically change the health services available to women across the country. Under this legislation, any corporation could deny any preventive health service to employees on the basis of religious or moral objections. If the Blunt amendment passes, a corporate CEO who doesn’t believe in birth control could simply decide to take it away from his employees health care coverage. And coverage of many more health services critical to women, including mammograms and prenatal screenings, could be eliminated by employers. Should employers at any corporation be able to make these decisions on behalf of the women working for them? The vast majority of Americans say “no.” It’s time for these men to listen. Health care decisions should belong to women, their families, and their doctors–not corporations or out-of-touch Washington politicians.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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