‘PILL BILL’: Contraceptive Coverage Passes Legislature
In a move that could "save women hundreds of dollars a year," the Legislature approved proposals Tuesday that would mandate that insurers who cover prescriptions provide coverage for birth control pills and other prescription contraceptives, the Los Angeles Times reports. On a vote of 43 to 23, the Assembly passed state Sen. Jackie Speier's (D-San Mateo) bill, SB 41, which would require private insurers to cover prescription contraceptives. Earlier in the day, Assemblyman Bob Hertzberg's (D-Sherman) bill, AB 39, which requires HMOs that reimburse other prescription medications to cover prescription contraceptives, passed the Senate by a vote of 23 to 12. Despite the fact that the bills include an exemption for religious groups, Republicans opposed to the measures argued that the state Legislature "would be wrong ... to ignore religious beliefs" of Catholic groups and Catholic-owned hospitals. Arguing for "basic fairness to women," the measures' proponents note that legislators were quick to cover Viagra. "I am deeply offended by the notion that men in this room are standing up here and telling us how to exercise our right of conscience," said Assemblywoman Hannah Beth Jackson (D). Both bills await final approval from their respective chambers before going on to Davis' desk. Despite Gov. Davis' campaign promise to expand women's access to birth control, it is uncertain whether the governor will sign the legislation (Gladstone, 9/8).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.