When Republican policymakers condemn the provision in the Affordable Care Act condemning contraception coverage, they should probably realize they’re up against an American public that’s largely come to the opposite conclusion.
Most Americans – 69 percent – support the requirement that health insurance plans pay for birth control, a new survey shows.The 2010 Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to pay for contraception as part of 10 essential benefits, including vaccines and cancer screenings…. [T]he survey of more than 2,000 people, conducted by Dr. Michelle Moniz and colleagues at the University of Michigan, suggests the mandate is popular.
The entirety of the report, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, is available online here.
It’s worth noting that while Americans support the contraception policy by a greater than 2-to-1 margin, there are other mandated policies that are actually more popular. For example, in the same survey, when respondents were asked whether all U.S. health plans should be required to include coverage for preventive services like mammograms, support is even higher at 85%. Screenings for diabetes and cholesterol do nearly as well, with support at 82%.
By this measure, the fact that only 69% back contraception coverage might seem less impressive, but that’s foolish – when more than two-thirds of the public supports a health care policy, that’s pretty one-sided.
And the closer one looks, the clearer it becomes that the right is taking a big risk by ignoring public attitudes on the subject.
JAMA published the crosstabs and found that clear majorities support the “Obamacare” contraception policy regardless of age, income, race/ethnicity, education, insurance status, or parental status. (Parents with young kids, oddly enough, are more enthusiastic about the policy than those without young kids.)
What’s more, while there’s a gender gap – women support the contraception mandate in far larger numbers than men – support for the policy is very strong among both.
And it’s against this backdrop that Republican officials, from the House Speaker’s office on down, are taking an unapologetic stand against the policy. Perhaps they just hate the Affordable Care Act, maybe they just don’t like birth control, or maybe it’s a little bit of both.
But there can be little doubt that the GOP is not siding with the American mainstream on this one.