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Kaine, Blumenthal, & Collins Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Eliminate Copays for Veterans Accessing Contraception

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) 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 health care only waives contraception copays for a select number of veterans.

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much to keep us safe, and we have a responsibility to ensure they’re able to access high-quality, affordable health care, including contraception,” said Senator Kaine. “I’m proud to join my colleagues on legislation to help ensure veterans with VA health care don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for contraception, similar to their active duty counterparts.”

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 cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), 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), 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). Companion legislation, led by U.S. Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA), was passed in the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote.

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.

Full text of the legislation is available here.