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Ear to the Ground

Free Birth Control Possible With Health Care Overhaul

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Posted on Jul 20, 2011
Flickr / Nate Grigg (CC-BY)

Health insurance companies may soon be required to provide women with free birth control, among other services, as part of the health care law passed last year.

The law requires that health insurance plans provide a given set of preventive health services to patients without co-payments or deductibles, and Tuesday an independent panel of health specialists released its recommendation of what those services should include for women.

Commissioned by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, the Institute of Medicine recommended that insurers cover “the full range” of FDA-approved contraceptives including sterilization and patient counseling, as well as coverage for breast pump rental, domestic violence counseling, and annual wellness exams and HIV tests. —BF

The Wall Street Journal:

Contraception coverage is likely to be the most controversial of the eight recommendations in the report. The Family Research Council, a conservative public-policy outfit, said it opposed a mandate to make birth-control coverage free, because people who don’t support contraception shouldn’t have to subsidize its use by others.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards praised the report, saying birth control without out-of-pocket expenses “would be a tremendous stride forward for women’s health in this country.”

The committee also recommended that insurers cover screening for gestational diabetes in pregnant women, testing for human papillomavirus in women age 30 and up, and annual counseling about sexually transmitted diseases and screening for HIV for all sexually active women. Additional recommendations by the panel include comprehensive breastfeeding support; screening for domestic violence and counseling about the issue for women and teenage girls; and at least one preventive health exam for women each year. The committee didn’t address the issue of how much its recommendations would cost.

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By christian96, July 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

How about free Viagra or Cialis for senior citizens?
My insurance company, “Express Scripts”, classified
both as recreational drugs and removed their availability to retired teachers.  I informed the
agent, “You are breaking up marriages! If a woman’s
husband can’t get it up his wife will go find someone who can!”  My reasoning fell on deaf ears!
Still no Viagra or Cialis!

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By TDoff, July 21, 2011 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

People who don’t support wars of aggression started by lying ‘conservative’ NeoCon rat bas***ds, shouldn’t have to pay for them, either, according to the Family Research Council’s logic.

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By Health Care Mailing Lists, July 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Fifty years after the pill, another birth control revolution may be on the horizon: free contraception for women in the U.S., thanks to the new health care law.

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By gstoddard, July 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

“The Family Research Council, a conservative public-policy outfit, said it opposed a
mandate to make birth-control coverage free, because people who don’t support
contraception shouldn’t have to subsidize its use by others.”

Doesn’t this get to the core issue in the abortion debate? The argument presented above
highlights the problem. In our democracy, or republic if you prefer, isn’t it the case that
many of us subsidize policies that we have fundamental disagreements with as we
participate with our neighbors in the democratic process. Sometimes we win and
sometimes we lose but if the decision making process is fair and balanced (another
expression that has been perverted in our current rhetoric) those of us on the losing side
move slowly toward acceptance of the will of the majority.

Isn’t it the case that if we promote the use of effective contraceptive methods that it will
decrease the need for abortions resulting from unwanted pregnancies? Why is this so
threatening to organizations like the Family Research Council? (A rhetorical question I
guess. They are just uncomfortable with normal human sexual behavior) It is my sense
that these same people oppose many of the social programs that are needed to provide
for the children that are the obvious consequence of the unwanted pregnancies.

Isn’t there some cognitive dissonance in play here?

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