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Obamacare in jeopardy, states protect no-cost contraception, including vasectomy

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(CNN)Even before President Donald Trump suggested Obamacare was in jeopardy, Republican cries of “replace and repeal” inspired some states to protect the no-cost contraceptive benefit guaranteed under the federal bill.

California, Illinois, Maryland and Vermont have passed laws over the past two years requiring cost-free coverage of birth control options.
    Like the Obamacare provision, the state laws cover one type of contraception per person — including IUDs, oral contraception and tubal ligation. But all of the states, except California, also extended this benefit to include one other, far less popular family planning method: Vasectomy.
    And with repeal of the federal law a real possibility, other states may soon follow suit.
    “If you have a huge Medicaid budget one of the most effective ways of keeping that Medicaid budget in control is preventing unintended births,” said Applegate. “So the cost of the most expensive form of birth control — like an IUD or a vasectomy — is way less than even the cost of a healthy pregnancy and birth.”
    Providing both a public health and an economic benefit, family planning was, years ago, “very much a bipartisan issue,” said Applegate. On both sides of the aisle, it was commonly considered a “why wouldn’t we cover this? kind of issue,” she said.
    In fact, the Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which supports family planning, was signed into law by former President Richard Nixon in 1970.
    “Most people think, ‘What — wasn’t he a Republican?” said Applegate. “In recent years, it’s become much more embroiled in social policy.”
    As Applegate sees it, the reason why individual states may be including vasectomy in their contraceptive coverage today is simply to maximize availability of it and positively impact public health.
    Considering why states are only now beginning to require coverage of the procedure, Nguyen pointed out that reproductive health care policy has long focused only on women.

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    “The real question is why this hadn’t been happening years ago,” said Nguyen. “Right now men only have condoms and vasectomies when it comes to birth control, whereas women have a lot of options so there’s a big gap to be filled there.”
    For Nguyen, reproductive health care has always been an issue for men, women, and couples.
    Pearson agrees.
    “It’s a great option for families and its fairly popular, so we wanted to make sure it was widely available for Vermont families,” said Pearson. “The bottom line is it’s a one time thing that takes very little time and effort and it’s extremely effective.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/20/health/states-protect-no-cost-contraception-and-vasectomy-aca/index.html

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