Health insurance coverage for contraceptives (audio) 2-22-10
By Jackelyn Severin
A measure requiring heath insurance companies to cover contraceptives failed in the House Commerce Committee. The committee killed House Bill 1156 by a vote of seven to six.
Representative Joni Cutler of Sioux Falls is the main sponsor of House Bill 1156. She says this bill not only gives greater access to birth control but overcomes a bias against women’s reproductive rights.
“Male reproductive challenges are covered by insurance while women’s ongoing reproductive needs are not,” says Cutler, “Men are rewarded with their pleasure; women are punished in their pain. Viagra is covered; contraception is not.”
Cutler says making contraceptives more available allows women to control the timing of pregnancy giving them greater power over their lives to achieve education and career goals. She says it also saves the state and women money by preventing unintended pregnancies.
Opponents of the measure say putting mandates on insurance companies increases the cost of premiums.
Member stations can download audio file here.