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Health law’s contraceptive mandate has broad support

Among the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act, few are as controversial as the one requiring health insurance providers to include coverage for contraception. But a new survey finds that support for this rule is widespread, with 69 percent of Americans in favor of the mandate.

Among 2,124 adults surveyed in November 2013, 1,452 agreed that “health plans in the United States should be required to include coverage” for “birth control medications,” according to a research letter published online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. An additional 436 respondents (19 percent) did not agree, 197 (10 percent) were uncertain and 39 (2 percent) refused to answer.

Women, African-Americans, Latinos and parents living with children under the age of 18 had higher levels of support for mandatory contraception coverage than people in other demographic groups, the survey found. People who took the survey were not asked about their political or religious views.

A 69 percent approval rating may sound high for anything connected to Obamacare. (A Pew Research Center survey released in March found that only 41 percent of the public approved of the law.) But all of the other services asked about in the JAMA report were more popular than birth control. To wit:

• 85 percent of those surveyed supported mandatory coverage for mammograms and colonoscopies.

• 84 percent supported mandatory coverage for recommended vaccines.

• 82 percent were in favor of mandatory coverage for diabetes and cholesterol screening tests.

• 77 percent backed the provision on mandatory coverage for mental health care.

• 75 percent supported mandatory coverage of dental care, including routine cleanings.


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