House, Senate Dems Introduce Measure Requiring Insurance to Cover Over-the-Counter Birth Control

US
(Melissa King/Dreamstime)

House and Senate Democrats introduced a measure Thursday that would mandate that insurance companies provide full coverage to patients for over-the-counter birth control.

Representative Ayanna Pressley and Senator Patty Murray introduced the legislation, which would prevent women from being charged for over-the-counter birth control, in their respective chambers. Currently, Plan B is the only pill-form contraceptive available without a prescription, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for the Food and Drug Administration to approve more forms of birth control for over-the-counter purchase.

“At a time when reproductive rights are under attack, it is more critical than ever that we take bold steps to reaffirm reproductive rights for all Americans,” Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat, said in a statement.

“I hope Republicans who have spoken about increasing access to over-the-counter birth control will support this bill and acknowledge the reality that you simply can’t have access without affordability,” Murray said.

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Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez co-sponsored the bill and found an unlikely ally in Senator Ted Cruz, the conservative firebrand, who said he agrees birth control should be available without a prescription.

Psst! Birth control should be over-the-counter, pass it on,” the New York Democrat wrote last week on Twitter, adding, “It should be free, too.”

“I agree,” the Texas senator responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet. “Perhaps, in addition to the legislation we are already working on together to ban Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, we can team up here as well. A simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter. Interested?”

Republican senators Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner introduced a proposal in April designed to catalyze the regulatory process for hormonal contraceptives to be approved for over-the-counter purchase.

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