State lawmakers push bill to protect insurance coverage of contraceptives

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 1 – State Reps. Leanne Krueger-Braneky and Kevin Boyle today unveiled a plan to protect access to birth control under health insurance coverages in Pennsylvania.

The legislation, proposed by Krueger-Braneky, Boyle and Rep. Tina Davis, would require that all state-regulated insurance plans in Pennsylvania cover contraceptives and vasectomies. It would further require that plans provide coverage for any prescription or non-prescription method of birth controlled approved by the FDA.

It also would:

  • Eliminate most co-payments for birth control and vasectomies
  • Enable women to receive 12 months of birth control at one time
  • Lift pre-authorizations on intrauterine devices (IUDs)

On Oct. 6, the Trump administration announced it would roll back the contraceptive coverage requirements within the ACA. The rollback allows any employer to opt-out of providing contraceptive coverage in its health plan based on religious beliefs or moral convictions. At least 2.5 million women in Pennsylvania depend on this coverage to access affordable, effective contraceptives.

“Contraception is health care, and access to health care is a fundamental human right that is inextricably tied to economic mobility and freedom,” said Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware. “By making basic preventive care like the pill a costly luxury, the Trump administration is sidelining girls and women – whether they are students, hourly wage workers, young professionals, or already moms.

“Let’s be clear: The rollback of the birth control mandate is a rollback of women’s rights and civil rights. I urge my colleagues in the Pennsylvania House to stand up for women, girls and working families and protect affordable access to health care, including contraception.”

“Women have been in a constant battle with government on a number of issues – fighting for their communities, for better education, to close the pay gap,” said Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery. “Yet, women are still combating the social and economic forces that try to deprive them of their reproductive autonomy. Why are women still fighting to have control over their own bodies?

“The new federal policy, crafted and supported by anti-abortion activists, will have the opposite of its intended effect. The preventive benefit under President Barack Obama’s administration saved women $1.4 billion on birth control the first year it went into effect and contributed to an all-time low in unintended pregnancy. We must raise our voice and continue the fight to make it possible for all of us to achieve the maximum level of health and well-being.”

“Government has no business limiting the health care options available to women,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “This bill not only protects our right to make our own choices about our bodies, but it sends a message to the federal government that Pennsylvania women will not be hampered by its bad policies. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues on this bill, and there should be no reason to hold it up in the General Assembly.”

State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., said, “There is simply no justification for allowing any woman’s boss to object to covering contraception on moral grounds. This is not only a matter of health care, but a human rights issue. I believe that every woman has the basic human right to decide if and when she will have a baby and the conditions under which she will give birth. I trust women – not the government. Women have the right to decide on their own behalf what to do with their own bodies, including whether they choose not to have a baby and their options for preventing or ending a pregnancy.

“Why are federal authorities preventing women from getting contraceptives at a time when the same government can’t provide affordable health care, housing, education and employment to raise them? Women must have social support, safe environments and healthy communities to parent their children and live without fear of violence from individuals or the government.”