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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Obamacare birth control rollback won’t impact A&M access

Photo by Photo by Hanna Hausman

Despite the recent changes concerning birth control and health insurance policies, women’s health needs will still be addressed on campus.

Following recent federal changes to birth control and health insurance policies, Texas A&M Student Health Services assures students that women’s health needs will still be addressed on campus.
On Oct. 6, the Trump Administration officially issued a rollback on the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that required employers to provide birth control as part of health insurance plans.
Dr. Martha C. Dannenbaum, a Student Health Services administrator, said the process for birth control prescriptions and contraceptive counseling will not be changing at Beutel.
“The changes will not impact how SHS provides these services,” Dannenbaum said. “We will continue to see students for their women’s health needs and counsel and prescribe contraceptives that are appropriate for the individual.”
Dannenbaum said the on-campus prices for prescription contraceptives won’t be directly impacted by recent federal changes due to the way SHS prices out medication for students.
“Most of our students are not using insurance to pay for their care because our prices for services and prescriptions are very low, often less than what they would have to pay if they used insurance,” Dannenbaum said. “What we currently charge for prescription contraceptive products is based on our cost to purchase these products. That is not changing. We work to keep the costs as low as possible for students.”
The current changes to federal health care policies are primarily focused on employers’ rights to refuse to offer coverage for contraceptives. Dannenbaum said these policies may impact students seeking off-campus contraceptive health care.
“Students who use their health insurance outside of the health center to purchase their prescription contraceptives may now have to pay a portion of the cost of the prescription contraceptive – a copay – or all of the cost, depending on their insurance benefits,” Dannenbaum said. “Prior to the Affordable Care Act, this was how most prescription contraceptives were handled.”
English sophomore Dorothy McIntush said she believes the federal changes to health care policy represent an attack on women. McIntush is the president of the Aggie Riveters, an organization which advocates for women on campus.
“It feels like Trump is trying to get rid of all the ways in which women have tried to make the world safer for ourselves,” McIntush said.
McIntush said she feels the new federal policies will be particularly dangerous for students who seek contraceptive health coverage off campus.
“Students rely on cheap forms of medication,” McIntush said. “The monthly copays from non-covered birth control could really impact students’ abilities to pay for it, especially students from lower economic statuses.”
McIntush said the issue of providing contraception isn’t merely a question of sexual health, but of women’s health in general.
“While I am extremely sex positive and think no woman should be shamed for using birth control for that reason alone, birth control is also a treatment for a large variety of issues women have,” McIntush said. “[For example,] Endometriosis, hormonal deficiencies and debilitating menstrual cycles.”
Despite the changes at the federal level and the many opinions surrounding the issue, Dannenbaum assured that the function of Student Health Services with respect to contraceptive care will remain unchanged.

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