What Is The Keep Birth Control Copay Free Campaign? You Can Now "Bill" Trump For Your Contraception
Now that Trump wants to take away birth control funding, you could have to pay on average $600 more per year in copays. And if you want to get an IUD, it could cost you up to $1,100 — it basically amounts to a woman tax. But don't fret: This brilliant campaign fighting to keep your birth control copay-free has made it ridiculously easy to send the Trump administration your medical bill.
The Keep Birth Control Copay Free campaign's goal is to "lift up a national conversation about access to birth control" and explain "why it's important to women's lives and to our economy," according to coordinator Amy Runyon-Harms. And considering how much women spend on birth control over a lifetime, the campaign aims to inspire Americans to "take action in the face of President Trump's repeated attacks on women’s reproductive health."
The process is simple. One click takes the user to a page with a drop down menu of birth control options. Whatever the chosen method clicked on, the system will calculate what an annual average sum in copays would be, and then creates a mock invoice for that amount to be sent to President Trump and the Department of Health and Human Services. The organization will submit the faux invoices as public comments on the Trump administration's proposed new rules. The public comment period is open through Dec. 5, 2017.
"Given the sheer number of women and families that would suffer real economic and potentially life-changing consequences by putting birth control out of their reach, we wanted make sure Americans knew what was at stake," Runyon-Harms explains. "What better way to do that than put a dollar amount next to the different types of contraception used by women across our country and use Twitter to get President Trump's attention."
The economics at work here are staggering: Women saved roughly $1.4 billion in copay fees in the year 2013 alone after the ACA mandate that eliminated the copay kicked in. Clearly, the average annual cost in birth control copay amounts really adds up. According to the Keep Birth Control Copay Free's invoice generator, a woman who uses oral contraception will spend roughly $600 a year in copays. And IUD contraception results in an average of $1,111 a year. That's not an insignificant sum, especially for economically at risk women. In fact, the campaign's website points out that about a third of women currently taking birth control wouldn't be able to afford a $10 monthly copay.
And the people behind Keep Birth Control Copay Free are not shying away from getting cheeky with it. "That's gonna cost you $1,111 a year. Send Trump the invoice and tell him to keep his tiny hands off your birth control" — so reads the results page for an IUD yearly calculation in copays.
Runyon-Harms uses astonishing comparisons to put the cost of birth control copays into perspective. "The out-of-pocket monthly cost for the NuvaRing is similar to the cost of a monthly cell phone bill," she says. "For a college student, the out-of-pocket annual cost for the pill is comparable to a semester's worth of books. For a low-income family, the upfront out-of-pocket cost of an IUD isn't even an option — lest they skip some meals throughout the year."
In conjunction with their birth control invoice delivery service to Trump, the campaign also put together a video asking several women a simple question: If Trump could get pregnant himself, would he bring back the birth control copay? The answer isn't hard for any of the featured women to answer. Fair warning: the video also features a cartoon imagining a pregnant Trump.
The Keep Birth Control Copay Free campaign is also encouraging supporters to use the hashtag #oncontrolincontrol and @keepbcfree on social media to express their solidarity with the goal of keeping the birth control copay a thing of the past. Given the high cost of re-instituting that policy, and forcing women to pay billions of dollars more for birth control, fighting against the copay is a no-brainer.