(NEW YORK TIMES)
By Bryce Covert
This month, 41 Democrats introduced a bill with a simple mission: It would undo the Trump administration’s recent change to the Affordable Care Act that paves the way for virtually any employer to deny its employees access to contraception without a co-payment. Before President Trump’s new guidance, the law required nearly all employers to offer workers health insurance plans that include contraception without cost. But the new rules, effective immediately after the announcement, allow any employer to request that the government let it opt out based on religious or moral objections.
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In a statement on the bill, Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, said that “birth control is about being healthy and financially secure.”
Indeed, while access to contraception is clearly about women’s health, it also profoundly affects the economy. The easier it is for women to obtain birth control, the more able they are to gain education and employment. That has been enormously important for the economy. The opposite, however, can be just as true. Mr. Trump has promised economic growth at rates we haven’t seen in decades. His actions on contraception are at odds with that.
For individual women, this is certainly about their wallets. The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health insurance offer birth control without cost-sharing has resulted in an estimated 57.6 million American women getting contraception without a co-payment. That has saved them a huge amount of money: $1.4 billion in 2013 alone.