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The Biden Administration

4 Ways the Biden Administration Can Expand Access to Contraception for Millions

Last month’s executive order to review the Title X family planning program, foreshadowing the restoration of a bedrock service that more than 4 million people depend on, is a step in the right direction — yet much more must be done to restore and expand contraceptive access.

Prescription contraceptives sit on the counter of a drug store in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

Here are a few ways the next administration can strengthen health care delivery systems, remove barriers to care, and ensure people can get the birth control of their choice.

#1 Protect contraceptive access under the ACA

With the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, more than 60 million people have access to contraception without copays or other out-of-pocket expenses. The contraception coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act was put into jeopardy by the Supreme Court ruling in Trump v. Pennsylvania, allowing virtually any employer to gain an exemption to federally required coverage of birth control in employee health insurance plans. Read more from National Women’s Law Center about rules the Biden administration must tackle to ensure birth control coverage.

#2 Restore contraceptive access in Medicaid. 

Medicaid finances 75 percent of all publicly funded family planning services, meaning it plays a vital role in ensuring access for millions of low-income Americans. The Trump Administration let states restrict Medicaid patients from choosing qualified health care providers, sometimes the only provider that offers a full range of contraceptive methods. The Biden administration should reinstate guidance that allows people to receive services from any qualified provider they chose.

#3 Develop evidence-based guidelines, performance measures, and funding strategies. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can play an important role in reducing barriers and expanding access to reproductive health care. It can do this through developing evidence-based clinical and programmatic guidelines ensuring standards in care, developing performance measures based on guidelines to drive improvement and inform consumers on their contraceptive choices. It can also develop funding structures that look to reduce or eliminate financial barriers to contraceptive use. Read more from the Coalition to Expand Contraceptive Access about steps the Biden administration can take.

#4 Support innovation. 

States are working to expand contraceptive care through innovative policymaking. Federal agencies play a crucial role in mitigating barriers and expanding access to reproductive health care in communities across the country. The Biden administration can leverage federal processes to lay the groundwork for widespread implementation of new delivery channels like pharmacist prescribing, provide contraceptive access in managed care, and explore new payment models that would help mitigate barriers to care.

More than 90 organizations have collaborated on a comprehensive policy agenda to advance sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice in the United States. The blueprint includes recommendations on expanding coverage to contraception for millions more people and offers ways the federal processes can be leveraged to expand and build stronger foundations for health equity.

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