Friday, December 02, 2016

Trump's victory and pick to lead health services could end free birth control under ACA

Donald Trump's presidential victory and his announcement that he has tabbed Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to lead the Department of Health and Human Services could lead women to lose free birth control under federal health reform, Lesley Clark reports for McClatchy Newspapers. While running for president Trump said he would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He has since said he would keep certain popular features. But Price, who has 100 percent anti-abortion-rights voting record, "would be able to revoke the contraceptive measure, which is unpopular with foes of abortion rights, without engaging Congress."

"Price, who, like the president-elect, has championed repealing the ACA, would not have to wait for the overall law to be targeted by Congress because the contraceptive measure exists due to a rule enacted by the Obama administration," Clark writes. "The ACA provision requires job-based health-insurance plans to provide women with free coverage for all contraceptive services approved by the Food and Drug Administration and prescribed by health professionals. They include diaphragms, birth-control pills and intrauterine devices."

In 2010 Price "questioned the need for health insurers to offer birth control at no cost, saying he didn’t believe there were women who couldn’t afford coverage." He said at the time during an interview with ThinkProgress, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one.”

Trump's victory already has some women flocking to get birth control. Planned Parenthood of Illinois said its online appointments for intrauterine devices in November was up 82 percent—an increase of 200 appointments—over November 2015, Lisa Schencker reports for the Chicago Tribune. "After the election, appointments made online for all kinds of birth control services spiked 40 percent over the same time last year."

Dr. Amy Whitaker, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said some women cited Trump's pledge to repeal the ACA for making appointments, Schencker writes. Whitaker told her, "People are legitimately worried that they might lose their insurance."

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