• Alina Salganicoff, Ph.D., senior vice president and director, Women’s Health Policy, Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Krishna Upadhya, M.D., M.P.H., vice president of quality care and health equity, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  • Michelle Trupiano, executive director, Missouri Family Health Council, Inc.
  • Alice M. Ollstein, health care reporter, Politico (moderator)

By Keshondra Shipp

This session explored access to contraception, its stakes and barriers on both the national and local level. 

Alina Salganicoff said people are paying for contraceptives despite being eligible for free coverage. 
“The bottom line is that there are still people out there who are eligible for free, no-cost contraceptive coverage and are paying out of pocket,” Salganicoff said. 

She also said the cost of contraceptives for uninsured women is a major problem and has led many of them to stop using certain methods. According to a survey, 20% of insured women of reproductive age had to stop using a birth control method because they could no longer afford it. 

Krishna Upadhya said birth control access is critical and that it’s “not something nice for people to have, but it’s really something that is essential for people to have.”

She said even if the FDA were to approve an over-the-counter pill, the cost of that pill and the age of the person seeking it would be big factors in whether people could access it. She said if pills become available over the counter, they should come without an age restriction.

Keshondra Shipp is the health and sciences reporter for The Red & Black in Athens, Georgia. She is a 2023 AHCJ-Academic Health Journalism Fellow.