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Trump to broaden exemptions to Obamacare birth control mandate: report

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The Trump administration is considering taking steps to broaden the Obamacare limits on claiming a religious or moral exemption from providing health insurance that covers birth control, Vox news reported on Wednesday.

The Vox website posted a copy of a draft of a new rule that it said the administration was reviewing. The rule would undermine coverage for one of the 10 essential health benefits covered by President Barack Obama’s signature piece of domestic legislation, which Republicans have vowed to repeal and replace.

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment and spokeswoman Alleigh Marre said it does not “comment on alleged drafts of documents.” The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, employers are required to provide health insurance that covers birth control, except for religious houses of worship, which are exempt. Some owners of private businesses also obtained exemptions after the Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that they could object to the rule on religious grounds.

Republicans do not have enough seats in the U.S. Senate to fully repeal Obamacare and as a result, the Republican strategy for rolling back the law includes stopping implementation of new health regulations and creating new administrative rules that undermine parts of the existing law.

Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and other healthcare groups criticized the proposed rule and said it would make it harder for millions of Americans to access the healthcare they need. The ACLU threatened to challenge the administration in court if the rule becomes finalized.

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“Any rule that allows employers to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees is an attempt at allowing religion to be used as a license to discriminate,” the ACLU said in a statement.

(Reporting By Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by David Gregorio)


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Giuliani’s public invitation to Ukraine to interfere in US elections opened the door for other countries to run to Trump

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President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani turned heads with his bizarre, unhinged rant on national television that effectively urged Ukraine to continue trying to gather dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden — and for news outlets to take whatever they find seriously.

As Casey Michel wrote in The Daily Beast, even if this effort ultimately fails to turn up useful opposition research against Biden, this is a profoundly dangerous development for American democracy.

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Trump whistleblower needs to go directly to FBI because Bill Barr can’t be trusted: Ex-FBI director

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Appearing on MSNBC with host Alex Witt, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi blew up Donald Trump's claim that he is the victim of a "Ukraine Witchhunt."

He then added that the whistleblower who went to the inspector general with a serious charge against the president should take what he has and go to the FBI within a week if nothing happens.

"We've got to get to the bottom of this, and we can't rely on leaks and certain reporters getting certain tidbits of information," the ex-FBI man explained. "This needs to be explored and it's likely this could end up in a criminal investigation."

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Furious Biden goes scorched earth on ‘serial abuser’ Trump over smears in epic rant

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On Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, former Vice President Joe Biden furiously laid into President Donald Trump amid reports he tried to strong-arm the Ukrainian government into digging up dirt on him and his son.

"Here's what I know, I know Trump deserves to be investigated," said Biden. "He is violating every basic norm of a president. You should be asking him the question, why is he on the phone with a foreign leader trying to intimidate a foreign leader, if that's what happened? That appears to have happened. You should be looking at Trump. Trump's doing this because he knows I'll beat him like a drum and he's using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me."

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