On a hot August day in 2012, I was taking my usual monthly trip to Walgreens to pick up my birth control prescription. As I pulled out my wallet to cover the co-pay, I was pleasantly surprised when the pharmacist informed me that I didn’t owe anything. It was the first month that the contraceptive mandate included in the Affordable Care Act required health insurance companies to provide contraceptives without a copay.
Over the years my birth control pills had cost me between $30-50 a month. It might not sound like much, but as a young professional working in the nonprofit sector, it was something I had to budget for carefully. I was also paying my own insurance premiums at the time. Throughout most of my twenties I worked as a contractor, which meant I didn’t qualify for employer-provided insurance, and with my limited budget, I had to settle for less-than-ideal coverage.
When I discovered that the cost of my birth control would be covered completely under my premiums, I wanted to show my appreciation to the Obama Administration. I quickly snapped a picture of my pharmacy receipt that showed my total as “$0.00” and posted in on Facebook with the simple phrase, “Birth control with no copay. Thanks Obamacare!”
The next morning I woke up to find my image had gone somewhat viral after Planned Parenthood and Barack Obama social media teams had shared it on their platforms. I had a lot of support, but as you might imagine, the backlash was hellacious.