Bill to Protect Contraception Coverage from Trump’s Reckless Obamacare Repeal Effort Clears Committee

Bill to Protect Contraception Coverage from Trump’s Reckless Obamacare Repeal Effort Clears Committee

Bill Sponsored by Five Democratic Women Would Guarantee Contraception Coverage for New Mexicans 

Santa Fe, N.M. - House Democrats Wednesday continued to protect New Mexico families from the Trump Administration’s reckless Obamacare repeal by passing a bill to ensure access to birth control through the House Health and Human Services Committee. 

HB 284, Health Coverage for Contraception, would require health insurance providers in the state to make available to consumers at least one type of all FDA-approved contraception methods and to provide the birth control at no cost. Under the ACA, also known as Obamacare, insurance companies already provide contraception for free, but that could change if the ACA were repealed. The bill was introduced by Representatives Debbie Armstrong (D-Albuquerque), Patricia Royal Caballero (D-Albuquerque), Joanne Ferrary (D-Las Cruces), Christine Trujillo (D-Albuquerque) and Linda Trujillo (D-Santa Fe).

“We are unwilling to allow the federal government to hold hostage New Mexicans’ ability to make critical decisions about when and how many children to have,” the bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Debbie Armstrong said. “HB 284 will ensure that no matter what happens in Washington, D.C., New Mexicans will have access to contraception.”

Twenty-two Democratic members the House joined Armstrong in cosponsoring the bill.

HB 284 further allows a patient to fill a prescription for a 12-month supply of a birth control at one time, easing the strain on patients with limited time or ability to access a pharmacy. This is a large issue in rural communities where consumers travel long distances to pick up prescriptions.

Finally, the legislation allows for equal, free access to contraception for men and women. Under current guidelines, vasectomy may require a copay while tubal ligation can be performed without charge. This cost differential can leave the responsibility of birth control disproportionately with women.

HB 284 passed the House Health and Human Services Committee by a vote of 5-1, and now heads to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.