An internal document shows the administration's plans to cut the popular birth control mandate.

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen
May 31, 2017

The birth control mandate, an Affordable Care Act provision that requires health insurance plans secured through employers to cover birth control at no additional cost to women-a popular part of Obama's plan-may be on the chopping block, according to a leaked document.

It's no secret that President Trump isn't a fan of "Obamacare." While Trump's first bill to replace it was pulled before it got to a vote, health care changes are likely still on the horizon.

Exhibit A: Trump may have plans to roll back the mandate that requires employer-provided health insurance plans to cover birth control, according to a leaked internal White House document obtained by Vox (read the whole thing on DocumentCloud).

Should the proposed plan go into effect, any employer could claim an exemption, essentially making birth control coverage voluntary. "It's just a very, very, very broad exception for everybody," Tim Jost, a health law professor at Washington and Lee University, told Vox. "If you don't want to provide it, you don't have to provide it."

This is a huge deal. Prior to the ACA, more than 20 percent of U.S. woman of childbearing age had to pay money out of pocket for birth control, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Now less than 4 percent of women pay out of pocket, as Vox reports.

The birth control mandate is just one of eight women's preventive health benefits protected by the ACA. These benefits include not just birth control at no additional cost but also require that breastfeeding support, STD testing, some maternity care, and well-woman checkups be covered with no additional cost to the woman. It isn't clear from the leaked document whether other benefits will also be revoked under the proposed changes.

It's unclear who leaked the document online. But the proposed changes are in line with the current administration's stated positions. In January, the Senate voted to stop free birth control, and the American Health Care Act suggests slashing preventative health care coverage for women. So far no one from the White House nor from the U.S. Health and Human Services, Labor, or Treasury departments have commented on the leaked document or the administration's plans for birth control coverage.


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