Cruz responded to a tweet Ocasio-Cortez wrote last week where she said birth control should be allowed to be purchased over-the-counter. Ocasio-Cortez then added in another tweet that the medicine should also be free.
Of course, the devil would be in the details of any potential bill.
The Texas senator said he agreed with Ocasio-Cortez about making it over-the-counter, but did not mention anything about her assertion that it should be free.
“I agree. Perhaps, in addition to the legislation we are already working on together to ban Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, we can team up here as well. A simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter. Interested?” Cruz wrote.
I agree. Perhaps, in addition to the legislation we are already working on together to ban Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, we can team up here as well. A simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter. Interested? https://t.co/7kh3kqxN1w— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 12, 2019
The Daily Dot reached out to Cruz’s office to see if he also agrees with Ocasio-Cortez that over-the-counter birth control should be free. We’ll update this story if we hear back.
Another wrinkle is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires most insurance plans to cover birth control for free.
It’s unclear if Cruz would want it over-the-counter to exclude it from needing to be covered by insurance companies as required by the ACA, which the Texas senator has voted to repeal on several occasions.
As Vox reported in 2016, the way birth control is made into over-the-counter medicine could actually increase the cost of it. The news outlet noted insurance companies don’t typically cover other over-the-counter medicine like Tylenol, so if they no longer covered birth control, the price could raise.
In 2015, Democratic senators unveiled a bill that would have required insurance companies to cover birth control options even if they became over-the-counter, the Hill reported.
Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez became an odd political pairing last month when the two of them discussed the possibility of co-sponsoring a bill that would ban former members of Congress from serving as lobbyists.
Update: 4:08pm CT: In a tweet on Wednesday evening, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) replied to Cruz’s tweet, saying her, Sen. Patty Murrary (D-Wash.), Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), and Ocasio-Cortez were all co-sponsors of an over-the-counter birth control bill.
“Hi there @tedcruz hit up our girl @pattymurray she and I have already written the bill, album dropping tomorrow :wink: @AOC’s vocals (& original co sponsorship) = on point. @KatieHill4CA’s an original too. Just call it the Destiny’s Child of OTC birth control,” the Massachusetts senator wrote.
In a follow-up tweet, Pressley said she looked forward to Cruz co-sponsoring the companion bill in the Senate.
“We’ve always believed affordable, accessible birth control isn’t just a women’s issue so look forward to you co-sponsoring, got a few good men on already including @RepBera M.D.”
We've always believed affordable, accessible birth control isn't just a women's issue so look forward to you co-sponsoring, got a few good men on already including @RepBera M.D.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) June 12, 2019