Women rushed to get IUDs fearing Trump’s threats to repeal Obamacare

Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

The IUD business is booming in the age of Trump.

At least 134,285 women have seen a doctor for an IUD prescription or insertion since Donald Trump was elected president, a 16 percent increase from the year before, according to data from Athenahealth. The number spiked immediately following Trump’s election and fluctuated in the year after as he and Congress tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The law, commonly known as Obamacare, mandates insurers cover the cost of contraceptives, including intrauterine devices, or IUDs. The birth control method is considered to be 99 percent effective and involves the insertion of a t-shaped piece of plastic into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It can remain in place for years.

Obamacare made IUDs accessible to women who may not have otherwise been able to pay the upfront fee of about $1,000 for the device. Trump and Congressional Republicans vowed to repeal and replace the legislation and tried multiple times to do so, though unsuccessfully.

January 2017, the month Trump was inaugurated, saw the largest year-over-year increase of 38 percent, according to Athenahealth data of more than 2,200 practices providing contraceptive management to more than 1.5 million patients.

March, the month the House unveiled its first repeal-and-replace plan, saw the most insertions and prescriptions.

Some months saw hardly any growth compared with the previous year, while others posted sharp increases. Those variations tended to mirror the twists of the roller coaster that was trying to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“There’s an analytic judgment making there because we didn’t do any direct survey, so we’re not sure it’s conclusive,” said Josh Gray, vice president of Athenaresearch, the research unit of Athenahealth. “But in my opinion, it strongly suggests an obviously rational anxiety women were feeling about the rollback of the ACA translating in increases in IUD procedures.”