Coverage with no copay extended to birth control

A half-century after the advent of the pill,the Obama administration today ushered in a change in women'shealth care potentially as transformative: coverage of birthcontrol as

WASHINGTON - A half-century after the advent of the pill,the Obama administration today ushered in a change in women'shealth care potentially as transformative: coverage of birthcontrol as prevention, with no copays.

Services ranging from breast pumps for new mothers to counselingon domestic violence were also included in the broad expansion ofwomen's preventive care under President Barack Obama's health careoverhaul.

The president of Planned Parenthood in Nassau County, JoAnne Smith, says the new law is a step in the right direction. Planned Parenthood says money spent on preventative care will save money in the long run on things such as unintended pregnancies and cervical cancer.

Since birth control is the most common drug prescribed to women,health plans should make sure it's readily available, said Healthand Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Not doing itwould be like not covering flu shots," she said.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says it is against the plan because it requires all private health plans to cover drugs that prevent pregnancy - regardless of religious moral views.

The new health care requirements will take effect in 2013. AP wire services were used in this report

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