CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: Bill ‘Makes Good Sense’
Noting that California still leads the nation in teen pregnancy, an editorial in Friday's Sacramento Bee argues that state Sen. Jackie Speier's (D-San Mateo) SB 41 takes "wise aim" at the problem. According to Planned Parenthood, 7 million insured Californians must "pay for their own contraceptives under [their] plans or do without." Moreover, the $16 per year that contraceptive coverage would cost employees, while "not negligible," is also not "likely to sink the ship," the Bee says. In fact, the expense may actually save insurers and employers in the long run, by avoiding the costs of abortions, or pregnancy and childbirth. Opponents call for an exemption to the bill for religious organizations, but that "could be a dangerous step down a slippery slope. Could a business owned by people whose religion prohibits blood transfusions refuse to cover the procedure for an employee who needed one?" the Bee asks. The editorial concludes that while the bill "won't assure that all women who don't want to become pregnant use it ... it would at least prevent cost from becoming a barrier. The bill goes next to the Assembly, where it deserves support, and then to Gov. Gray Davis, who should sign it" (4/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.