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Cruz, AOC want a birth control bill. But they're having trouble with the details

Rick Childress, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

But the initiative has been a hit on social media. Twitter exchanges between the two have gotten thousands of shares and lots of media coverage.

Finding agreement on the birth control bill will be tough. In most states, birth control is only available via a doctor's visit and subsequent prescription. The cost of most forms of prescription birth control currently can be covered by health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

"I think when we talk about price, that's the rubbing point with Republicans," Ocascio-Cortez said. "If they just want to make a clean, over-the-counter bill but they don't want to make adjustments for the current methods of affordability, then birth control is going to cost hundreds of dollars a month and it's going to defeat the purpose and it's going to make the situation worse."

In 2014, Republicans proposed legislation that would make birth control available for sale over the counter. The bill lacked provisions that would require the price to be covered by health insurance. Democrats and advocacy groups criticized the bill and called it a Republican ploy to diminish the Affordable Care Act, since the law does not mandate that all over-the-counter medicines be covered by insurance.

Ocasio-Cortez never directly responded to Cruz's birth control bill offer on Twitter, but Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts told Cruz that he should support her bill. It would allow over-the-counter sale of birth control while adding insurance requirements, since there is currently no federal law that mandates over-the-counter birth control be covered by insurance. Ocasio-Cortez joined Pressley in introducing the bill.

When asked if he supported Pressley's bill last week, Cruz referred back to his original tweet.

 

"As I tweeted I support policy of allowing birth control pills to be sold over the counter and I'm happy to work with anybody to get a simple clean bill," Cruz said.

He has not said publicly if he supports Pressley's bill or a companion bill that was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington.

(c)2019 McClatchy Washington Bureau

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