Rep. Tom Price (D-GA) yesterday in his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing dodged questions about whether he would rip away the benefit that gave 55 million women across the country access to no-copay birth control.
If confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Price could have the power to change this benefit and force women to pay more out of pocket for birth control.
Without insurance coverage, birth control pills can cost up to $600 a year, putting them out of reach for many women already struggling financially and who already face barriers to accessing health care. Nationally, women have saved more than $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs on birth control pills alone since the benefit took effect.
Price’s longtime opposition to making birth control more accessible and affordable were on full display as Finance Committee Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) also raised concerns about his history of working to defund Planned Parenthood. Responding to a line of questioning from Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Price dodged questions about whether he would rip away the no-copay birth control benefit, refusing to guarantee he would preserve the benefit.
A study released yesterday from the Urban Institute today showed that more two-thirds of women at risk of unintended pregnancy always used some form of contraception in the past six months. More than two-thirds of women also report that health insurance or another program, like Title X or Medicaid family planning programs, covered the full cost of their contraception.
Price has repeatedly devalued and dismissed the importance of affordable birth control.
Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Price believes “there’s not one woman” who doesn’t have access to birth control.
A Guttmacher Institute study released recently showed that increased access to contraception helped contribute to the U.S. abortion rate reaching its lowest level ever recorded.
A Hart Research poll found that one in three women voters have struggled to afford prescription birth control, including 55% of young women aged 18 to 34.
The Urban Institute report released yesterday showed that more than 1 in 6 women reported barriers to accessing contraception, and uninsured women were twice as likely to report barriers. The most commonly cited barriers were issues with costs of birth control (41%) and insurance coverage for birth control (46%), such as women who do not have insurance.
Uninsured women were much less likely to use contraception. Only 40% of uninsured women reported always using contraception, compared to 73% of insured women
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 20.2 million women in the U.S. were in need of publicly funded family planning services like birth control in 2014, an increase of 1 million since 2010.
However, Price’s promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act and dismantle the women’s preventive benefit that gave more than 55 million women access to no-copay birth control will most certainly make it harder for women across the country to afford birth control.
A Perry/Undem poll showed that 85% of Americans want access to quality affordable birth control.