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Bill allowing insurers to deny birth control coverage vetoed by Mo. governor


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.—Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed legislation that would allow health insurers to deny contraceptive coverage.

In his veto message, Gov. Nixon said giving insurers such power would take “the authority to make decisions about access to contraceptive coverage away from Missouri women, families and employers…That would be a step backward for Missouri.”

Families “should make those decisions, not insurance companies. For that reason, I am vetoing this bill,” he said in his Thursday veto message.

The legislation, S.B. 749, also could set up a potential conflict with federal health care reform law regulations. Those regulations will require most employers, for plan years beginning on or after Aug. 1, 2012, to offer full coverage for prescription contraceptives.

In the case of nonprofit employers, such as hospitals and universities, that are affiliates of religious organizations, their health insurers will be required to offer the coverage at no cost. That part of the regulation would apply for plan years starting on or after Aug. 1, 2013.

The administration also is developing a rule that would apply to religious organizations' affiliates that self-insure their health care plans.

However, numerous suits have been filed by Catholic or Catholic-related organizations to block the requirement. In the suit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Archdiocese of Washington and several other organizations that joined the suit said the mandate would require Catholic entities to “violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

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