Trump Administration to rollback birth control protections

Jeopardizes access to birth control for 62 million women

Last night the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is set to roll back the birth control mandate that has so far given 62 million women access to birth control. The rollback is set to take effect immediately.

“Birth control is not controversial. It’s something the vast majority of women will use in the course of their lifetime,” said Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy for the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund. “A woman’s reproductive health care is between her and her doctor — not at the discretion of her boss or the president. We should not go back on the progress we have made.”

Under the ACA and the Obama Administration’s rule, employers needed to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans and health insurance companies must cover the cost of birth control without copays.

States have continued to increase access to birth control. Earlier this year, Maine passed LD 1237, a bill to eliminate medically-unnecessary restrictions on insurance coverage of contraception.The new Maine law will also guarantee Maine women access to no-copay birth control through their insurance. Maine employers will not be able to opt out of birth control coverage per the leaked Trump Administration rule.

“Access to birth control shouldn’t depend upon your zip code,” added Clegg. “Birth control is basic health care and should be available to all women no matter their home state. It is critical that Maine’s congressional delegation stand up for women and oppose this dangerous restriction on access to birth control.”

In its first year, the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone. Prior to the rule, one in three women voters struggled to afford prescription birth control, including 57 percent of young women aged 18 to 34.

Because of the expanded access to birth control, the US is experiencing the lowest rates of unintended pregnancy and teen pregnancy in decades.

Key Points of the Trump Administration’s proposed rollback:

  • Under the new regulations, hundreds of thousands of women could lose birth control benefits they now receive at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Trump administration acknowledges that this is a reversal of President Barack Obama’s conclusion that the mandate was needed because the government had a compelling interest in protecting women’s health.
  • The exemption will be available to for-profit companies, whether they are owned by one family or thousands of shareholders.
  • The new exemptions will be available to colleges and universities that provide health insurance to students as well as employees.

This comes after a slew of attacks on women’s health care from the Trump administration —- including implementing an expanded global gag rule, rolling back safeguards for transgender people, attempting to block millions from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood, and proposing a budget that drastically undercut programs that help women with low-incomes access birth control. It also comes a little more than a week after the failed Graham-Cassidy legislation that the Trump administration aggressively pushed to pass in the Senate, which eliminated the requirement that health insurance cover birth control.

Key Points of LD 1237, the Maine law:

  • Insurance companies must cover up to 12 months of birth control at a time
  • Birth control must be offered without co-pay for at least one drug, device or other product for each contraceptive method
  • This applies to all individual and group policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2019.

 

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