“While this will improve health equity, there remains a larger threat to preventive care that cannot be ignored.” – Emily Stewart


Feb. 3, 2023

CONTACT: Jack Cardinal, (781) 960-5208, jcardinal@communitycatalyst.org

(BOSTON, MA) – Community Catalyst issued the following statement in response to the Biden administration’s release of a proposed rule to make it easier for people to access no-cost birth control under the Affordable Care Act. The proposed rule comes as more and more states ban abortion and health justice advocates prepare for a broader threat to preventive services.

Statement from Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst:

“Where people work should not affect the quality of their health coverage. The Biden administration’s proposed rule would reverse the Trump-era refusal regulation to open the door for more companies and employers to deny people access no copay birth control. This comes at a critical moment for millions of people across 14 states where abortion has been banned.

“While this will improve health equity, there remains a larger threat to preventive care that cannot be ignored. The people who crafted the Trump-era health care refusal policy are the very same people who today are doing all they can to take away hard-fought protections that ensure people and families are able to get the care they need and deserve.

“Right now, there is a case making its way to the Supreme Court that could strip away critical protections for essential preventive care for millions of people. Beyond birth control, this could impact access to no-copay cancer screenings, pre- and postnatal care, as well as other preventive care that is currently protected under the Affordable Care Act. The loss of these benefits would disproportionately impact Black and Latinx people as a result of systemic racism and barriers to affordable health coverage and care.

“At Community Catalyst, we will work alongside coalition partners to ensure the Biden administration rule to expand access to birth control is finalized, and we will continue to shine a light on those standing in the way of health equity. We will not stop fighting until everyone has equitable access to the care they want and need to be healthy.”

Additional Background:

The Biden-Harris administration proposes new rules to expand access to birth control.

  • The proposed rule from the Biden administration would remove the Trump-era health care refusal policy that allows employers to deny employees birth control coverage because of the employer’s stated religious or moral objection.
  • Birth control access is strongly connected to greater educational and professional opportunities and increased lifetime earnings.

This takes place as other threats to preventive health care loom large.

  • In September 2022, a federal judge ruled that the ACA’s requirement for health plans to cover preventive services at no cost was unconstitutional. In this case, the judge ruled that the plaintiff, a privately held company with religious objections, was not required to cover PrEP, a preventative measure protecting people from contracting HIV, under its health insurance plan offered to employees.
  • This action would also threaten coverage of a range of other services including but not limited to: cancer screenings as well as screenings for heart disease, Hepatitis B and C viruses, and hypertension, as well as alcohol, substance use, tobacco cessation, depression screenings, and breastfeeding services.
  • The loss of guaranteed preventive care under the Affordable Care Act would affect millions of people, including more than 150 million people with private insurance, including 58 million women and 37 million children.

About Community Catalyst:

Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for race equity and health justice. We partner with local, state and national advocates to leverage and build power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit http://www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.