Senator Clinton Cosponsors Legislation to Address Birth Control Pricing Crisis
Senator Clinton joined several of her Senate colleagues in cosponsoring the "Prevention Through Affordable Access Act." This bill would correct a provision included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 (DRA) that unintentionally cut off every college and university health clinic and hundreds of safety net providers from being able to offer affordable prescription drugs to students and lower-income women.
"I am proud to support legislation to help the more than three million college women and approximately 800,000 low-income women who been affected by this mistaken provision," Senator Clinton said, "This is a simple, no-cost, technical fix that will restore access to affordable prescription drugs for our most vulnerable women."
Since 1990, Congress has permitted pharmaceutical companies to offer reduced priced drugs to certain health care entities to help ensure that these women have access to affordable prescription drugs. However, a provision included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 unintentionally severed these providers' capabilities to accessing these low cost drugs.
Since the DRA went into effect in January of this year, college and universities nationwide have seen birth control prices rise from $5 or $10 to $40 or $50. Many college health providers have stopped providing birth control altogether as they can no longer afford to do so. Hundreds of safety-net health centers are similarly affected. Declining access to birth control heightens the risk of unintended pregnancies among college students and low-income women.
The "Prevention Through Affordable Access Act," sponsored by Senators Barack Obama, Claire McCaskill, Edward Kennedy and Patty Murray, offers a technical fix to the DRA that would incur no cost to the federal government or state Medicaid agencies. The bill would merely allow drug manufacturers to offer deeply discounted prices to safety net health care providers as they had been beforehand. There are nearly 1370 college and university health centers across the country- all of which are affected by the DRA change. In addition, at least 200 Planned Parenthoods in 37 states and 200 community clinics nationwide are affected by this issue.
Senator Clinton has been an advocate for women and their reproductive rights for more than thirty five years. She is the champion of the Prevention First Act, a comprehensive approach aimed at reducing unintended pregnancies, preventing abortions, and improving women's health. She reintroduced this legislation as well as the Unintended Pregnancy Reduction Act in the 110th Congress. This bill will strengthen Medicaid coverage of family planning services by ensuring that this coverage remains accessible to low-income women.