Power to Decide Applauds Introduction of the Affordability is Access Act
(Washington, D.C.) Today, Power to Decide applauds the introduction of the Affordability is Access Act, led by Senators Patty Murray, Mazie Hirono and Catherine Cortez Masto, as well as Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ami Bera and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This critically important bill requires insurance companies to cover birth control approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be available over the counter without the need for a prescription.
“Removing barriers to safe and effective birth control is an urgent reproductive health access and equity issue,” said Power to Decide CEO and practicing OB-GYN, Raegan McDonald-Mosley, MD, MPH. “That’s especially true for people in rural communities and communities of color, who already face systemic roadblocks to getting the health care they need.”
The Affordability is Access Act builds on the promise of the ACA, which requires health plans to cover the full range of birth control with no out-of-pocket costs, by clarifying that coverage applies to over-the-counter contraception without requiring a prescription, now and in the future. Among its goals, this bill seeks to address the urgent needs of the more than 19 million women with low incomes who currently live in “contraceptive deserts,” areas without reasonable access to a health center that offers the full range of birth control methods. Of these, around 1.2 million live in a county without a single such health center.
“In my own practice, I have seen how barriers such as cost and access to providers can limit the options available to my patients and make it harder for them to access the contraceptive method that meets their needs,” said Dr. McDonald-Mosley. “Far too often, after counseling my patients, assessing the risks and benefits of each type of birth control and helping them identify a method that works best for them, we find that the price tag or lack of availability places it out of reach. Many more people may not be able to get a timely appointment with a provider in the first place. The Affordability is Access Act would expand access to birth control not only for the 19 million women living in contraceptive deserts, but for people in every part of the country.
“By expanding access to contraception, we are supporting everyone’s right to protect their health and determine their own future.”
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Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live, or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant or have a child.