Democrats roll out proposal requiring insurance to cover OTC birth control

Democrats roll out proposal requiring insurance to cover OTC birth control
© Stefani Reynolds

House and Senate Democrats rolled out a proposal Thursday that would require insurance companies to cover over-the-counter birth control at no cost to patients.

The measure, introduced by Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyTlaib says she held Omar's hand during 'triggering' moments at Trump's State of the Union speech Pressley slams trolls over alopecia comments Pramila Jayapal endorses Democrat Henry Cuellar's primary challenger MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySenate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign Democratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students Lawmakers with first-hand experience using food stamps call on Trump not to cut program MORE (D-Wash.), would ensure birth control that is available to women without a prescription is covered by insurance companies. 

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Plan B, commonly referred to as the morning after pill, is currently the only method of oral contraception available over the counter, without a prescription, which means it is often not covered by insurance. 

"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 said in a statement. 

This bill would not make birth control available over the counter. Only the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to do so. It only requires that insurance companies pay for over-the-counter birth control if it is ever approved by the FDA.

For this to happen, a drug manufacturer would have to petition the FDA to approve their product for sale over the counter. No drug makers have done this, even though birth control is available over the counter in other countries. 

The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Democratic demolition derby Julián Castro endorses Rep. Cuellar's primary opponent in Texas Overnight Energy: Controversial Trump adviser reportedly returning to EPA | Delta aims to be first carbon neutral airline | Dem senator gives EPA D-minus on 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillHouse GOP campaign arm mocks Democrats after stumbling upon internal info on races DCCC unveils initial dozen candidates for 'Red to Blue' program Veronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address MORE (D-Calif.) 

 
Pressley then encouraged Cruz to sign on to her bill, but he didn't respond. 
 
Murray encouraged Republicans to co-sponsor the measure.
 
"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," she said in a statement. 
 
The Affordable Care Act requires that insurance companies cover FDA-approved methods of contraception with no cost-sharing, but only for methods that require prescriptions.