Executive order issued to expand contraception access

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The White House has announced the signing of an executive order from President Biden to allow easier access to contraception in the United States.

Executive order issued to expand contraception access | Image Credit: © Vacclav - © Vacclav - stock.adobe.com.

Executive order issued to expand contraception access | Image Credit: © Vacclav - © Vacclav - stock.adobe.com.

President Biden has issued an executive order to improve contraception access in the United States.

This executive order prioritizes expanding and protecting contraception access and is the third executive order related to reproductive health issued by President Biden since the Supreme Court vote on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The issuing of orders following Dobbs indicates it has become more vital for contraception to be easily accessible.

One action initiated by the order is for women with private health insurance to have improved access and affordability of contraception. The Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS) departments have been urged by the executive order to develop guidance which providescoverage of FDA-approved contraception from private health insurance.

The order also urges improved access to over-the-counter contraception through actions from the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS. Potential actions include providing guidance on covering over-the-counter contraception, determining practices which promote coverage of over-the-counter contraception, and discussing opportunities for improved access with insurers, pharmacies, and employers.

Family services and supplies are also supported by the Executive Order through Medicaid. This includes sharing the highest quality practices for providing effective family planning services and supplies.

Contraception coverage will also be improved, allowing women of reproductive age with disabilities and other Medicare beneficiaries to receive access to contraception without barriers. Access will also be increased for veterans, service members, and federal employees, with support from the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Federally supported health care services will receive support for improving contraception access. These include clinics such as Title X (the federal grant program dedicated to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services) family planning clinics and community health centers, improving contraception access in these settings. This may be accomplished through issuing new guidance, technical assistance, and training resources.

Employees and college students will also receive improved access to contraception through practices shared by the Secretaries of Labor and Education. To improve overall contraception access, the order promotes research on gaps in access and benefits of coverage. Research, data collection, and date analysis will be directly support by the Secretary of HHS.

The Biden-Harris administration has taken other steps to improve contraception action in the past. One step taken was providing clear protections for women with private health insurance. Along with contraception, family counseling is available for these patients with no out-of-pocket costs.

Another step taken was expanding access provided by the Affordable Care Act. Billions of dollars have been saved across millions of women under the Affordable Care Act, which is strengthened by expanding contraception access.

Title X clinics have also received support from the Biden-Harris administration. This has supported clinics in providing, “equitable, affordable, client-centered, and high-quality family planning services,” along with training and technical assistance. At $512 million, the 2024 budget request for the Title X Family Planning Program is 76% over the 2023 level.

A public-private partnership between the HHS and a national nonprofit organization known as Upstream was started to provide free patient-centered, evidence-based training on contraceptive options. This partnership aims to improve contraceptive care in over 700 health centers by 2030.

Walk-in contraceptive care services were expanded for Military Health System beneficiaries by the Department of Defense, helping service members, their families, and veterans receive contraception. The removal of out-of-pocket service costs was also recommended by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Updates guidance from the Health Resources and Services Administration reminds community health centers to provide their patients with family planning services. Plans were also updated under the Affordable Care Act to include family planning providers. All these improvements, along with the new Executive Order, will help increase contraception access to US individuals.

Reference

Fact sheet: President Biden issues executive order on strengthening access to contraception. The White House. June 23, 2023. Accessed July 6, 2023. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/06/23/fact-sheet-president-biden-issues-executive-order-on-strengthening-access-to-contraception/

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