Opponents of no-deductible, or low-deductible, insurance coverage for routine maternity care argue that that approach reduces patients' "skin in the game," or out-of-pocket costs. (Photo: HHS.gov)

The Senate’s new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) chief is opposed to the Affordable Care Act essential health benefits (EHB) coverage mandate, and to the idea that all major medical policies should cover maternity and newborn care.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., made that observation today on the Senate floor, during a discussion about whether the Senate should clear the way for debate on the nomination of Alex Azar II to be the next HHS secretary. His appointment was confirmed Wednesday by a vote of 55 to 34.

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