WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined a bipartisan group of 19 Senate colleagues in introducing the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act to eliminate copayments for contraception covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While civilians can receive contraception without a copay through the Affordable Care Act and active duty servicemembers can receive health care—including basic contraceptive services—without copays through TRICARE, VA healthcare only waives contraception copays for a limited number of veterans. The Senate legislation is led by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and the House legislation, which was approved by a bipartisan vote of 245-181 in June, was authored by U.S. Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA).
“We have a responsibility to do right by the troops who bravely defended our freedom, and that includes ensuring they all are able to get the family planning health care services they deserve,” said Senator Baldwin. “The Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act supports our women veterans by ensuring that they can get their contraception without a copay, just like active duty service members and other women on private insurers receive.”
Under current law, only a restricted group of veterans, including 50 percent disabled veterans and veterans below specific income levels, are exempt from copayments for contraception. This legislation will eliminate out-of-pocket costs levied against countless veterans, including women who make up the fastest growing group of veterans enrolling in the VA healthcare system.
The Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The bill is also endorsed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Council of Jewish Women, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Women's Health Network, National Women's Law Center, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Academy of Nursing, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Council of Jewish Women, National Women's Health Network, and the National Women's Law Center.