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US health body recommends gov't cover cost of birth control

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended eight preventive health services, including birth control, be covered for women at no cost under the country's health care overhaul.

The IOM report, commissioned by U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, recommended that all U.S.-approved birth control methods — including the “morning after pill” taken shortly after intercourse to forestall pregnancy — be added to the federal government's list of preventive health services.

The recommendation is a big gain for organizations like Planned Parenthood, which advocated for birth control to be added to the list. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has final say over what is added.

The report also recommended that services including diabetes testing, counseling for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, lactation counseling, screening for domestic violence and yearly wellness visits be added to the list.

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