KUNM

Lawmakers Aim To Protect Protection

Feb 15, 2017

Lawmakers advanced a bill Wednesday that would require health insurance providers to cover birth control. The federal Affordable Care Act already requires this, but the proposal will keep birth control covered in New Mexico, even if Congress repeals the ACA.

Democratic Representative Debbie Armstrong presented House Bill 284 to the House Health and Human Services committee and said she loved that young women turned out to support the measure.

"But there’s many women my age who remember when insurance didn’t cover contraception at all. This is to protect it in-state law no matter what happens with the Affordable Care Act," Armstrong reminded the committee. 

The bill goes beyond ACA requirements to include over-the-counter birth control like condoms.

Insurance company lobbyists told the committee they support the bill, but said covering non-prescription contraceptives is just one of the logistical kinks that would need to be worked out. 

The measure now heads to the House Judiciary Committee.

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The People, Power and Democracy project examines ethics, transparency and accountability in state government. It's a collaborative, multi-media partnership between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, New Mexico In Depth and the New Mexico NewsPort at UNM. The project is funded by the Thornburg Foundation and by contributions from KUNM listeners.