Bipartisan Group Votes to Affirm Women’s Access to No-Copay Birth Control, but ACA Repeal Would Take It Away from More Than 55 Million Women
WASHINGTON - With last night’s approval of a budget resolution, Senate Republican leaders have taken a step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act and taking away health care from millions of people, including the more than 55 million women receiving access to no-copay preventive care, such as birth control. The resolution offers no plan for replacing the coverage that will be lost. A bipartisan group of Senators supported an amendment offered by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) taking a stand against any attempt to take away or roll back the coverage protections and access to care for women under the ACA, including access to the full range of birth control without a copay.
Statement from Dana Singiser, Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy:
“Last night, Republican leadership in the Senate took the first step in tearing apart historic health reform. This historic law has given 22 million Americans health care, and made extraordinary gains in access to care, especially for women. Repealing the ACA would mean that more than 55 million women would lose their right to access no-copay preventive services such as birth control and life-saving cancer screenings. It would mean that being a woman would once again be a pre-existing condition, and health insurers could charge women more than men for the same coverage and deny health coverage to tens of millions of women. Repealing the ACA would mean that millions of women, men and young people would lose their health insurance. And it would mean the gains in combating health care inequity faced by those who have historically faced systemic barriers to accessing care including people of color, immigrant communities and people in rural areas would be rolled back. Repealing this progress rips away the certainty that these communities can see a range of health care providers when they need it.
“We are also grateful for Senator Gillibrand’s leadership on an amendment, that earned bipartisan support, to affirm access to no-copay birth control. Eliminating the women’s preventive benefit through repeal is one reason of many that folks across the political spectrum don’t want these dangerous policies. The American people do not want their health care torn down and to lose the peace of mind that their families will be healthy and safe.”
What repealing the ACA would mean for women:
Before the ACA, being a woman could be considered a pre-existing condition. Without the law, health plans could, once again, be able to deny health coverage to tens of millions of women.
- Before the ACA, health plans would routinely classify common medical events, like pregnancy and yeast infections, as pre-existing conditions -- and deny women coverage. Some health plans went as far as denying women coverage because they had experienced domestic violence (another “pre-existing condition”).
If the ACA were repealed, 55 million women would lose access to no-copay preventive services, including birth control, STI screenings, and life-saving preventive services such as breast cancer screenings and pap tests.
- The ACA requires almost all health insurance plans to cover all 18 FDA-approved methods of birth control, without cost-sharing.
- The law also requires coverage of other important women’s preventive health care, like breast cancer screenings, HIV and STI screenings, and well-woman visits, without cost-sharing.
- Since the ACA’s implementation, the prohibition on cost-sharing has saved women more than $1.4 billion annually in out-of-pocket costs on birth control pills.
- Currently, approximately 55 million women benefit from preventive care with no out-of pocket costs.
- Women also are entitled to receive Essential Health Benefits, including maternity coverage.
Repealing the ACA would reinstate gender inequality by allowing plans to charge women more than men for the same health care coverage.
- The ACA includes a provision that prevents insurance companies from using what’s called “gender rating”: charging women higher costs than men for the same coverage.
- If gender rating was allowed again, women would pay an estimated $1 billion per year more than men for the same health care plans.
As a leading provider of high quality affordable health care and advocate for health equity for all, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand how much communities of color — many of whom already face barriers to accessing care — can and have benefitted from the historic advancements in the Affordable Care Act.
- Since the implementation of the ACA we have seen the largest reduction in the number of uninsured people in four decades and the uninsured rate is at an all time low at 8.6 percent. These coverage expansions are especially important for Latino and African American communities — and particularly women of color — who are more likely to be uninsured than white Americans.
The ACA has had a big impact on reducing uninsured rates and helping millions of Americans, including millions of women of color, get affordable and high-quality health insurance.
- Among African Americans, the uninsured rate declined by 10.4 percentage points (from a baseline uninsured rate of 22.4 percent to 12.1 percent), resulting in 2.6 million adult African Americans gaining coverage.
- Among Latinos, the uninsured rate declined by 11.5 percentage points (from a baseline uninsured rate of 41.8 percent to 30.3 percent), resulting in about 4.0 million Latino adults gaining coverage.
- Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Latino/as have seen the largest reduction of the uninsured rate than any other group.
- 509,000 African American young adults and 913,000 Latino young adults between the ages of 19 and 26 who would have been uninsured now have coverage under their parents’ plan.
- For Latinos and African Americans, the Affordable Care Act means more affordable health care and greater peace of mind. Having insurance means you can see a range of health care providers when you need to.
Without the ACA, millions of people with low-incomes would lose their health insurance. Under the ACA, states may expand their Medicaid programs to cover additional low-income, hard-working individuals and families.
- Currently 32 states including the District of Columbia have expanded their Medicaid programs. Approximately 17 million additional people have gained access to free or low-cost health insurance coverage under Medicaid since the first open enrollment period (October 2013). Currently more than 74 million individuals are enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP.
- Millions of women, who would not have otherwise been eligible, have gained Medicaid coverage as a result of Medicaid expansion. In 2014, Medicaid covered 16% of women ages 19-64 (15.6 million), up from 10% in 2008 (pre-ACA).
- By gaining Medicaid coverage, individuals gain access to the largest source of reproductive health care and are entitled to receive services, such as including contraceptives, maternity care, and breastfeeding support and supplies. Federal law also requires Medicaid programs to provide family planning services and pregnancy-related services without cost-sharing.
- If the remaining states expand their Medicaid programs, over 3 million women will be able to get preventive health screenings, birth control, check-ups, and the care they need to manage chronic conditions.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.