Poll: Majority support free birth control

The majority of people, regardless of political party affiliation, support the requirement for private health plans to cover the full cost of birth control, according to a recent poll.

The June Kaiser Health Tracking Poll looked at the support for the Affordable Care Act requirement that makes employers cover the full cost of prescription birth control as part of their health insurance plans.

The majority of Democrats (81 percent), independents (68 percent) and Republicans (54 percent) support the requirement, according to the June poll.

But when it comes to exemptions for religious reasons, results split along political party affiliations.

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that some for-profit corporations could be exempt from the birth control requirement – in addition to the already-exempt religious institutions – if their owners had religious objections.

A draft rule revision by the Trump administration would expand the exemption to include more employers who object for either religious or moral reasons.

In general, the majority oppose allowing employers to get an exemption for religious (53 percent) or moral (55 percent) reasons, according to the poll.

But among Democrats, 65 percent oppose exemptions for religious reasons and 76 oppose exemptions for moral reasons. Among Republicans, however, the majority support such exemptions (54 percent for religious and 58 percent for moral reasons), according to the poll.

People are pretty split on who should pick up the tab if employers are exempt from paying for birth control, with 40 percent saying the insurance company should pay and 39 percent saying the woman should pay. Just 16 percent said the government should pay, according to the poll.

Among men, 48 percent of Democrats say the insurance company should pay, while 65 percent of Republicans say the woman should pay.

Among women, 57 percent of Democrats say the insurance company should cover the cost of birth control, while 62 percent of Republicans say the woman should pay for her own contraceptives.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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