Governor Wolf Calls on Legislature to Make Birth Control Coverage a Mandate

October 09, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Following the Trump Administration’s announcement of a rule released today allowing more employers to deny coverage for contraceptives, Governor Wolf called on the legislature to pass legislation requiring employers to cover contraceptives at no-cost to consumers as a preventive service.

“This decision by the Trump Administration to take women’s birth control decisions out of their hands and put them into the hands of their employers is wrong,” Governor Wolf said. “This ill-thought-out decision hurts all women, and even worse, this contraceptive restriction disproportionately affects low-income women who may now not be able to afford this important medication. I am calling on Pennsylvania’s legislature to fix this.”

“It is disappointing to see the continual attempts by our federal government to systematically roll back the rights of women in this country,” said Randi Teplitz, chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. “Denying contraceptive coverage is more than just a women’s issue, it is a healthcare issue and it is a family issue. The Pennsylvania Commission for Women applauds Governor Wolf for his leadership and stands with him in calling for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass legislation that respects the rights of the women who reside in this Commonwealth.”

Pennsylvania will continue to provide family planning services, including birth control coverage, as required under Medicaid. On July 1, 2015, Pennsylvania expanded the State Plan option to require family planning and family planning-related services to men and women of all ages who are not otherwise eligible for Medicaid if their income is at or below 215% of the Federal Poverty Limit and they are not pregnant. Individuals who may lose their commercial coverage of family planning services through the Trump Administration’s changes, may be eligible for these services under Medicaid.

“Having Medicaid coverage as a possible parachute for some who may lose coverage is good, but we need to ensure no one who has coverage now loses it,” Governor Wolf said. “That’s why I urge the legislature to introduce legislation that will maintain this vital preventive service for all Pennsylvanians.”

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department estimates that more than 2.5 million women in Pennsylvania benefit from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. According to a 2015 study, women in the United States save roughly $1.4 billion annually on the birth control pill due to the mandate. It has also helped the country’s abortion rate reach a historic low.

The Pennsylvania Employee Benefits Trust Fund, which administers health benefits for commonwealth employees, will also continue to offer birth control without a co-pay.

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