Connect with us


His vasectomy was not covered by insurance, signaling a potential decrease in birth control coverage.

engler 04

David Engler had been pretty sure he didn’t want children. Then a frustrating school day two years ago helped seal the deal for the now 43-year-old substitute teacher.

“It was wild. I had to call the office seven times to get kids pulled out,” he said. “The next day, I called Kaiser and said, ‘I’d like to know how much a vasectomy is.'”

A representative with Engler’s insurer, Kaiser Permanente, told him the procedure would be free because it was a form of birth control, he said. But after undergoing the vasectomy last winter, he received a bill for $1,080.

“I felt defeated, tricked and frustrated,” said Engler, who lives in Portland, Oregon.

Engler’s experience highlights how a labyrinthine patchwork of insurance coverage rules on reproductive health care creates confusion for patients. Oregon requires that vasectomies be covered for most people who work in the public sector. But the federal Affordable Care Act — which mandates that most health plans cover preventive health services, such as contraception, at no cost to the consumer — does not require vasectomies to be covered.

And that perplexity surrounding coverage may get more complicated.

An ongoing federal lawsuit aims to strike down the ACA’s preventive care coverage requirements for private insurers. If the case knocks out the mandates, state-level laws — which vary widely across the country — would carry more weight, a change that would resume the “wild West” dynamic from before Obamacare, said Zachary Baron, a health policy researcher at Georgetown Law.

It would create an environment “in which insurers and employers pick and choose which services they want to cover or which services they want to charge for,” Baron said. “It would certainly threaten access to care for millions of Americans.”

Check Out Also:  Top TV bargains during Samsung's 4th of July event: Discounts on 'The Frame' and other models

Studies have shown the requirements to cover preventive care have reduced consumers’ out-of-pocket costs and increased their use of short- and long-term birth control methods.

The job of defining which contraceptive services should be covered falls to the Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA. Two other groups — the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, or USPSTF, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP — make recommendations on other kinds of care that the ACA requires insurers to cover.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, a group of individuals and Christian-owned businesses, argue the members of these three panels haven’t been properly appointed by Congress. They also say the recommendations for insurance plans to cover medication for HIV prevention violate their religious rights.

On June 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued what it called a “mixed bag” opinion in the case. It said one group — the USPSTF — had not been properly appointed, and therefore its recommendations made after the ACA was signed into law were unconstitutional. The plaintiffs had asked for a nationwide ruling, but the court said only the plaintiffs’ organizations could be exempted from its recommendations.

The court then sent the plaintiffs’ challenges to the recommendations made by HRSA and ACIP — including those on contraception — back to a lower court to consider.

The case is likely headed to Reed O’Connor, a federal judge in Texas who has issued decisions undermining the ACA — including a ruling striking down the entire law that the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned.

Check Out Also:  Is Biden's Presidency Facing a Turning Point?

“O’Connor is a judge notoriously hostile to the Affordable Care Act,” said Gretchen Borchelt, vice president of reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center. “He is someone who is willing to impose remedies where he takes access to care…

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Burkina Faso Outlaws “Homosexuality and Related Behaviors” as Africa’s Coup Belt Shifts from Western Influence

burkina faso niger 2160141808

Johannesburg – The military junta that seized power in Burkina Faso less than two years ago announced a law Wednesday criminalizing homosexuality. Justice Minister Edasso Rodrigue Bayalawas quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. It makes the West African nation the latest of the continent’s 54 countries to follow a trend in banning same-sex relations. There are now only 21 African nations that do not explicitly prohibit same-sex relations. Uganda imposed the continent’s most severe laws in May.

Brenda Biya, the daughter of Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, came out as a lesbian in a post on her Instagram account last week, posting a photo of her kissing her girlfriend and saying: “I’m crazy about you and want the world to know.”

“There are plenty of people in the same situation as me who suffer because of who they are,” she said. “If I can give them hope, help them feel less alone, if I can send love, I’m happy.”

Her father has been president of Cameroon since 1982 and has not changed the country’s anti-LGBTQ laws, which have been in place since before he was sworn in. Brenda Biya told the French newspaper Le Parisien her parents were unaware of her sexuality and that she made the post without their knowledge, adding they had since asked her to delete it. She does not live in the country.

Disinformation in Africa’s coup belt

General Michael Langley, Commander of the U.S. Military’s Africa Command, voiced concern in a phone briefing with journalists at the end of June about the rapid slide of West Africa, a volatile region plagued by security and misinformation challenges, away from democratic values.

Check Out Also:  Martin Mull, the talented comic actor known for his role in 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,' passes away at the age of 80

“There’s a strong link between the scope of disinformation and instability,” Langley said. “Getting the truth out there to counter disinformation is essential… Disinformation campaigns have directly driven deadly violence, promoted and validated military coups, and also cowed civil society members into silence.”

The Sahel, region in Africa between Sahara and Sudanian savanna, political map
A map shows the Sahel region stretching across the northern African continent.

The volatility Langley was referring to has been apparent across what’s become known as Africa’s coup belt.

First, there was Mali, where a military coup toppled the government in August 2021. Then Burkina Faso fell to military rulers in a September 2022 coup. Niger’s government was overthrown by generals in July 2023.

Common history, and a new alliance

The three countries have a considerable amount in common.

They are still governed by military coup leaders. None has held elections since the uprisings. All three share common borders, a common French colonial history — and rising anti-Western sentiment, both in their leadership and their populations.

Niger U.S. troops
Young boys gather on top of a car, displaying the flags of Niger, Burkina Faso and Russia, during a demonstration demanding the immediate departure of U.S. soldiers from Niger, in Niamey, April 13, 2024.
AFP via Getty

The three nations also face the same threats of violent extremism: Armed groups including ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates have been fighting to gain territory in recent years in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Perhaps from these commonalities, an alliance was born: The Alliance of Sahel States was formed in September 2024 in the wake of these three countries asserting their independence from former colonial ruler France. They all left the regional ECOWAS bloc of nations and, in September, they signed the Liptako-Gourma Charter, the first of a few agreements that amount to a new defense pact between them.

Check Out Also:  Guide to Watching the First Presidential Debate between Biden and Trump

The three coup leaders declared their new partnership a tool to form alliances with other countries that have not yet “exploited” their own resources. Some took that as a nod, if not an invitation, to nations such as Russia and Iran, where anti-Western sentiment has also been stoked by leaders for years.

Russia, in particular, has sought to extend its influence in Africa by investing in partnerships that often see security forces offered in exchange for access to natural resources.

How Russia’s Wagner mercenary group exploits Africa for funding

“I think it’s important that our African partners understand that what the Russians are offering is, maybe regime protection — it’s certainly not national security,” U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Virginia Palmer told CBS News in May. “What those countries are paying for that is extraordinarily high in terms of treasure. You know, young men and women’s lives, and mining concessions, all those kinds of things. … The Russians are very transactional, and U.S. partnership is about development and security, and it’s a real partnership, and I think those are very stark differences.”

The members of the Sahel alliance have made it clear already that they view Western interests very differently, however.

“Westerners consider that we belong to them, and our wealth belongs to them,” Mali’s post-coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita, who was chosen to lead the new coalition of states from the Sahel, a vast region that stretches across Africa, was quoted as saying. “This era is gone forever, our resources will remain for us.”

Check Out Also:  Newest Developments: Tropical Storm Beryl Forecasted to Bring Strong Winds and Rainfall to Mexico and Texas
The head of head of Niger’s military government General Abdourahamane Tiani (C), Malian Colonel Assimi Goita (3rd R) and Burkina Faso’s Captain Ibrahim Traore (2nd R) arrive ahead of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) summit in Niamey, Niger, July 6, 2024.
AFP via Getty

At the group’s first summit last week, the partners ruled out returning to the nearly 50-year-old ECOWAS bloc, which has worked with the U.S. and other Western nations, and accused it of failing to curb the violence spreading across West Africa.

The West’s eviction from West African nations

As the leaders met last week, the U.S. announced that it had pulled the last of its military personnel and hardware out of one its two bases in Niger, this one outside the capital, Niamey.

Sources tell CBS News the rest of the roughly 1,000 troops the U.S. had based in Niger, and its remaining equipment, will be pulled out of the $110 million Agadez drone base by the end of August, before the complete U.S. withdrawal from the country is completed in September.

The head of head of Niger’s military government General Abdourahamane Tiani (C), Malian Colonel Assimi Goita (L) and Burkina Faso’s Captain Ibrahim Traore (R) show the documents of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), which they signed during their first summit in Niamey, Niger, July 6, 2024.
AFP via Getty

Niger’s leaders ordered the American forces to leave the country late last year. French troops left Niger and Burkina Faso in 2023, and Mali in 2022.

One U.S. defense official told CBS News the U.S. has longstanding relationships with all three of the Sahel alliance countries and that, while the current situation is “less than ideal,” the U.S. is in it for the long haul because both the region and the entire continent are too important for American interests to ignore.

Continue Reading


Breaking News First Annual Juneteenth Celebration of Basketball Tournament Festival Set to Make History in Inglewood CA Breaking News First Annual Juneteenth Celebration of Basketball Tournament Festival Set to Make History in Inglewood CA
Entertainment3 hours ago

Breaking News: The Annual Juneteenth Celebration of Basketball Tournament Festival Set to Make History in Inglewood, CA

A historic fusion of sports, culture, and community is set to unfold in Inglewood, California, this Black History Month. The...

burkina faso niger 2160141808 burkina faso niger 2160141808
News5 hours ago

Burkina Faso Outlaws “Homosexuality and Related Behaviors” as Africa’s Coup Belt Shifts from Western Influence

Johannesburg – The military junta that seized power in Burkina Faso less than two years ago announced a law Wednesday...

85240531 85240531
Entertainment8 hours ago

New documentary hints at Abraham Lincoln’s hidden homosexual relationships

Abraham Lincoln, the iconic 16th president of the United States, is the subject of a new documentary that suggests he...

urlhttps3A2F2Fcalifornia times brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com2F022F862Fb7b28cc848679bc769b58d9d86152Faptopix california wildfires 39195 urlhttps3A2F2Fcalifornia times brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com2F022F862Fb7b28cc848679bc769b58d9d86152Faptopix california wildfires 39195
News15 hours ago

Blaze in San Bernardino National Forest Burns Through 2,700+ Acres

The Vista fire has been raging in the San Bernardino National Forest, scorching over 2,700 acres as of Thursday morning....

News1 day ago

Actress Shelley Duvall, Known for ‘The Shining’ and ‘Nashville,’ Passes Away at 75

Shelley Duvall, the talented actress known for her roles in iconic films such as ‘The Shining’ and ‘Nashville,’ has passed...

michael douglas carys zeta douglas dylan michael douglas americas burning new york screening 071124 1 f584991533d44d45b7f1761042194401 michael douglas carys zeta douglas dylan michael douglas americas burning new york screening 071124 1 f584991533d44d45b7f1761042194401
Entertainment1 day ago

Michael Douglas Steps Out With His Children on the Red Carpet in Rare Appearance

Michael Douglas, the legendary actor, recently made a rare red carpet appearance with his two children, Carys and Dylan. The...

urlhttps3A2F2Fcalifornia times brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com2F502F652F2b7984a849dc98bd4379b93239252Felection 2024 biden 54682 urlhttps3A2F2Fcalifornia times brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com2F502F652F2b7984a849dc98bd4379b93239252Felection 2024 biden 54682
News2 days ago

Biden seeks support from Democratic mayors amidst controversy over reelection

President Biden has turned to Democratic mayors in the midst of mounting concerns over his re-election bid, seeking support from...

News2 days ago

Is Biden’s Presidency Facing a Turning Point?

This May Be a Turning Point for Biden. But in Which Direction? As Joe Biden continues his campaign for the...

85202002 85202002
Entertainment2 days ago

Report states that Brad Pitt has minimal communication with his adult children

Brad Pitt’s relationship with his adult children appears to be strained as a source close to the family told People...

urlhttps3A2F2Fcalifornia times brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com2F9d2F9a2F658fb4084589a0320ab197cbf1d92Fbiden 53010 urlhttps3A2F2Fcalifornia times brightspot.s3.amazonaws.com2F9d2F9a2F658fb4084589a0320ab197cbf1d92Fbiden 53010
News3 days ago

Biden Urged to Take COVID-19 Test with Public Disclosure of Results

President Biden keeps pushing back. He’s not going anywhere, he defiantly insists, and claims he feels just fine. But I’ve...