The Obama administration has agreed to include the payment for birth control or contraceptives in the new Affordable Care Act. After President Barack Obama signed the bill, government officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services voted yes for the inclusion of contraceptives beginning Aug. 1.
As reported on colorlines.com, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement last year, “The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start. These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.”
Though payment for birth control pills is an essential part of the plan, women will be able to receive a number of other services without insurance worries.
Guidelines also include the following: visits to the gynecologist, HPV testing, STD counseling, HIV testing and counseling and domestic violence screenings. Breast feeding support, supplies and counseling for pregnant women are included as well.
Jessica Vickery of the health education and promotion department spoke from the point of view of a health educator.
“Pregnancy is so expensive for insurance companies, as well as hospitals and doctors,” Vickery said. “By covering contraceptives, you’re kind of getting rid of this idea of unplanned pregnancies of people who are not going to be able to afford the costs that a pregnancy has over the course of that nine months.”
While some Catholics have publicly spoken against the inclusion of birth control in the Affordable Care Act, Democrats stand behind the president.
“I believe that the cost of contraceptives was included in the ACA because they are an integral part of preventing disease and ensuring the healthiness of the American people,” said Jamie Woodham, president of UA’s College Democrats. “Contraceptives are key in the fight against HIV and STDs and should therefore be included in the ACA. Furthermore, people deserve the right to choose when they wish to start a family, and contraceptives allow them to make that choice when they feel that they are ready.”
Republicans take a different stand on the topic.
“As with most every decision made by the current administration, the decision to include contraceptives, including the morning-after pill, in Obamacare was a political one,” said Cliff Sims, president of College Republicans. “Rather than enacting responsible social policy, the administration focused on playing to their liberal base.”
It’s unclear what type of effects including birth control will have on society.
“By taking away the obligation for people to pay for contraceptives out of pocket, I believe that we will not only drive down our numbers in terms of HIV and STD rates but that we will also have far fewer unwanted pregnancies,” Woodham said. “The bottom line regarding this initiative is that the many positives – disease prevention, women’s reproductive rights, etc. – far outweigh any potential negatives, most of which are rooted loosely in religious dogma and right-wing radicalism.”
“We’re witnessing the deconstruction of the social fabric of our country,” Sims said. “Whether it’s bailing out big banks, giving handouts to so-called ‘green’ companies, or dishing out morning-after pills to teenagers, our government is reinforcing the idea that it’s OK to be irresponsible because you won’t have to suffer the consequences of your decisions.”
All information on the Affordable Care Act can be found on the national website, healthcare.gov.