Herrings, AGs defeat Trump rollback of contraception coverage

healthcare

Photo Credit: Peshkova

Attorney General Mark Herring and a coalition of 14 attorneys general have defeated the Trump Administration’s second attempt to strip access to cost-free birth control coverage protected under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, have sided with Attorney General Herring and his colleagues in State of California, et al. v. Alex Azar, II, et al., protecting the injunction currently in place and maintaining women’s access to birth control. Today’s ruling means that 1.6 million Virginia women will continue to benefit from reproductive health services.

“This ruling is a big win for women across the country and it sends an important message to the Trump Administration that if they try to trample on women’s rights they will lose,” said Herring. “A woman’s decisions about her body and her reproductive rights should be between her doctor and her and that’s it. Period. I am proud to stand with my colleagues on this important issue and I will continue to fight to make sure that women across Virginia and around the country have access to affordable contraception coverage.”

In 2017, Herring and four other attorneys general filed a lawsuit in response to the Trump Administration’s decision to undermine the contraception coverage rule created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In December 2017, Virginia and its partner states won a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s efforts to rollback the contraception coverage rules.

In December 2018, a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the injunction, but only in the states that had sued over the policy change, which included Virginia, California, Delaware, Maryland and New York. In January 2019, Virginia and 14 partner states won a preliminary injunction blocking President Trump’s most recent efforts to rollback contraception coverage rules in their states.

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted in 2010, most employers who provide health insurance coverage to their employees have been required to include coverage for contraception, at no cost to their employees. As a result of the ACA, more than 55 million women in the United States have access to a range of FDA-approved methods of birth control, including the longest-acting and most effective ones, with no out-of-pocket costs. The ACA also included an accommodation process by which employees whose employers had religious objections to contraception could nevertheless obtain seamless alternative coverage for contraception—seamless coverage that is not provided under the new regulations’ expanded exemptions.

For millions of women the contraception coverage rule has reduced their healthcare costs, helped address medical conditions, and allowed them to make their own decisions about when and if to have children. Before the contraception coverage rule, birth control accounted for 30-44% of a woman’s out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

Now 1.6 million women in Virginia will continue to have access to contraception without a co-pay, saving an average of $255 per year for oral pill contraceptives, and the percentage of women who have a co-pay for contraception has fallen from more than 20% to less than 4%.

 



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