The Corner

Romney and Massachusetts’ Contraception Insurance Coverage Mandate

As the Obama administration struggles to defend the contraception mandate, they’ve particularly targeted one GOP candidate: Mitt Romney. 

“The former governor of Massachusetts is an odd messenger on this given that the services that this rule would provide for women around the country are the same that are provided in Massachusetts and were provided when he was governor, including contraception, including covered with no co-pay or deductible, and a religious exemption for houses of worship and churches and church-controlled organizations such as parochial schools, but not to universities and hospitals,” said Jay Carney in a press briefing last week.

“This is, I think, ironic that Mitt Romney is expressing — criticizing the President for pursing a policy that’s virtually identical to the one that was in place when he was governor of Massachusetts,” Carney added.

The Romney campaign has fought back against the charges, pointing out that the contraception mandate was passed before Romney became governor, and that, when designing his Massachusetts health-care program, Romney worked to eliminate mandates for a host of health-care services insurance companies in the Bay State were required to provide, including contraception.

But, according to a Wall Street Journal article out today, the Romney administration did not fight against the contraception mandate on grounds that it violated religious liberty nor did the administration single out that mandate as particularly worth eliminating: 

 

The governor’s office never zeroed in on contraception as one benefit that needed to be jettisoned more than any other, according to a former health care official in the Romney administration. “I don’t recall a conversation about that specific topic,’’ said the former official. “We had a conversation about mandated benefits and that we could save money.’’

Asked about Mr. Romney’s handling of the contraception requirement as governor, his campaign said he proposed “eliminating all of these coverage requirements so that insurance companies could tailor their products to specific consumers…’’ The campaign didn’t respond to a question about whether he raised the issue of religious liberty at the time.

In his 2010 book, “No Apology,’’ Mr. Romney also described the benefit requirements in financial terms. He specifically cited “unlimited” in vitro fertilization treatments and dental care as “expensive’’ but he said nothing about contraceptives.

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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