How You Can Help Protect No Co-Pay Birth Control Today: A Practical Guide from a Proud Millennial, Like You
Admittedly, it can be difficult to read the news lately. Our health coverage and access are under attack. Due to recent changes in executive and congressional leadership, the contraceptive coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act is a prime target for repeal. Losing this provision would mean increased out-of-pocket costs for birth control, making it out of financial reach for many women.
There is a lot of uncertainty around this issue and women are understandably worried. Some are even rushing to their health care providers and inquiring about getting an IUD or implant. Dr. Jamila Perritt MD, MPH shared her insights in a recent Bedsider article titled “But really, should you get an IUD right now?” But if we’re truly concerned to the point where we are considering choosing a long-acting reversible contraceptive method for birth control, shouldn’t we be voicing our concerns to our Representative and Senators too?
Elected officials want—and need—to hear our voices. They want to know about the issues that matter most to their constituents and how they can help influence legislation to address them. By sharing our stories, we put faces and names to the issues that affect our day-to-day lives. Our stories are powerful tools that can influence members of Congress to take action. And fortunately, getting in touch with them is not very difficult at all!
Recently, I contacted my Senators and Representative to talk about protecting no co-pay birth control coverage. On my call, I knew I had to convey two critical pieces of information: my story (including the crucial fact that I am their constituent), and “the ask” (what I wanted my elected official to do about my concern, i.e. please protect my access to no co-pay birth control). I conveyed that these issues are deeply personal and I wanted them to know about concrete actions they could take to improve my life and the lives of other constituents like me.
Below is my step-by-step guide to help you contact your Representative and Senators regarding protecting no co-pay birth control.
For those interested in having an extended conversation about birth control coverage and access with their elected officials, please refer to our Questions for Policymakers document.
Overall, my telephone conversations were positive experiences and I appreciated that my concerns were acknowledged. Furthermore, I know my voice was heard because the legislative staff at every office keeps track of call volume and positions on issues, logging each call from their constituents. These metrics are tallied, summarized, and shared directly with the member of Congress. Truly, every call counts!
I urge you to please call your Representative and Senators and share why you care about protecting coverage and access to birth control. And also, state and local officials should hear from us too. Your story is important and can influence the future decisions that our elected officials make on behalf of all of us.
Angel Robinson is an MD/MPH student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a Public Policy Fellow at Power to Decide. Twitter: @AngelCRobinson