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Planned Parenthood Applauds Democratic Senators for Protecting Women's Health, Standing Up for Prevention

WASHINGTON, DC — Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) stood up for women's health today and demanded contraceptive coverage be protected in the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (S.1955-HIMMAA), introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). The senators introduced an amendment to the bill to ensure that access to family planning is protected. HIMMAA, without this amendment, would gut states' contraceptive equity protections and exempt insurance companies from virtually all state laws regulating health insurance benefits.

"Access to birth control is fundamental to women's health care, but, without state benefit protections, insurance companies can deny this basic coverage." said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "We commend Senator Reid for recognizing that fair and equitable prescription coverage is vital for women and families."

For years, many insurance plans covered prescription drugs, but refused to cover birth control pills and other prescription contraceptives for women. In the past decade, lawmakers in 23 states have remedied this inequity and enacted contraceptive coverage laws. Under HIMMAA, women would lose contraceptive equity protections currently guaranteed by state law.

In addition to wiping out these protections, HIMMAA would nullify hundreds of state laws that ensure patients get the medical care they need. The law would potentially

  • not allow women to designate their ob/gyns as primary care providers
  • not allow women to seek care directly from their ob/gyns, but would force them to be screened by their primary care doctors first
  • dismantle coverage for contraception
  • dismantle coverage for annual cervical and ovarian cancer exams
  • not allow women to stay with the same doctor throughout a pregnancy, if that doctor was dropped from the insurance provider plan

HIMMAA is bad medicine for all Americans. More than 250 national organizations, health plans, and state officials have opposed it. This includes 41 state attorneys general, 19 state insurance commissioners, many governors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Diabetes Association, United Cerebral Palsy, the American Cancer Society, the American Nurses Association, the American Mental Health Association, and the American Association of People with Disabilities.

Read the full list of organizations and officials opposing S. 1955.

Learn more about HIMMAA and its effects.

See a state-by-state list of benefits that could be lost.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Erin Kiernon, 202-973-4975
Andrea Hagelgans, 212-261-4652


May 11, 2014