Oregon Democrats Deliver on Contraceptive Equity

As promised, the Democrats in the Oregon Legislature have delivered on contraceptive equity. House Bill 2700 has passed the Senate 24-5, and now moves to the Governor's desk.

From the statement by the Senate Dems:

The Oregon Senate today passed House Bill 2700, legislation that will require birth control coverage in employee health insurance plans that offer prescription drug coverage and provide access to emergency contraception in the emergency room for women who are victims of sexual assault.

“For too long women have been denied health insurance coverage for the cost of birth control,” said Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown (D-Portland). “This bill simply provides women with fairness and equity for prescription drug coverage.”

Included in House Bill 2700 is the option for victims of sexual assault to receive emergency contraception in any hospital in Oregon. One in six Oregon women has experienced sexual assault in their lifetime.

Elections matter. As the Oregonian notes, "A similar bill passed the Senate in 2005 but died in the House."

Again, the Senate Dems:

“It is amazing to me that we had to wait until 2007 to pass this legislation,” said Senator Vicki Walker (D-Eugene). “After years of work, the day for contraceptive equity is here.”

“For over a decade as a House and Senate member, I have worked on this issue,” said Senator Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin). “I take great pride in its passage.”

Once again, all the hard work that grassroots Democrats did to help Jeff Merkley and the House Dems win a majority pays off. No longer will health insurance companies cover Viagra but fail to cover birth control.


  • (Show?)

    Glad to hear it. Birth control is quite expensive, yet having children costs even more. You'd think the companies would think about how much it costs to have children vs. paying for birth control.

    Not to mention the fact that many women need birth control for reasons other than birth control - such as controlling hormone levels, keeping ovarian cysts down, etc.

    I'm lucky in that our company already covered it. Every plan I've had thus far has. I only have to pay $7.50 per month for my medicine -- even less if I'd just remember to get the doctor to write out two prescriptions, one for a month and the other for the rest so I could mail it into the insurance company. Then I'd get a big discount and get a three months' supply.

  • Ms. Mel Harmon (unverified)

    It's about damn time....a big THANK YOU to all the legislators who kept this alive and who voted for its passage!

  • ellie (unverified)

    Yeah, it is about damn time!

  • John Goes (unverified)

    Birth control is free if you use the highly effective NFP method. You shouldn't force Catholics, for instance, to pay for birth control that is against their religion, that's coercion.

  • (Show?)

    This law is no more coercion than any other law. They all require us to do or refrain from doing something under pain of enforcement.

    There's an exemption in the law for "religious employers", by the way.

  • (Show?)

    You shouldn't force Catholics, for instance, to pay for birth control that is against their religion, that's coercion.

    Don't be stupid. This is a rule for PRIVATE health insurance. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

    On the flip side, there are lots and lots of people here on this blog and elsewhere whose view of Christianity leads them to oppose this absurd war in Iraq. And we're all still paying our taxes. The one guy who tried not to got smacked down.

  • nutmeg (unverified)

    I'm not looking for a fight, nor am I trolling. Would someone PLEase explain in a rational manner why an unfunded mandate is a good thing? Personally I belive that contraception should be part of a good comprehensive prescription drug plan. However, why do the dems celebrate mandating same?

    It already is a part of the Oregon Health Plan, so this mandate comes down squarely on employer health plans. Don't go w/the Viagra equity angle either; most plans do not allow that except in extraordinary circumstances.

    This madate will result in higher cost insurance to employers who, already faxed with double digit cost increases for the 5th year in a row, will pass it on to employees. The net result will be LESS affordable insurance coverage.

    Again, please give me some rational data other than a feel good emotion here.

  • Scott in Damascus (unverified)

    Nutmeg: This madate will result in higher cost insurance to employers who ... will pass it on to employees. The net result will be LESS affordable insurance coverage.

    As a transplant receipient my monthly prescription drug requirement if purchased OTC is $3200. If I purchase those exact same drugs in Canada, it drops to $1750. With insurance I only pay $275. You cannot honestly say that requiring private health insurance plans to cover the relatively cheap birth control pill (that in real dollars costs less than $1.00 to produce) will increase your premiums. The real reason everyone's premiums have increased year after year have nothing to do with this legislation.

    Second, if you really want to get your premiums to go down, then society as a whole needs to move to a healthy lifestyle. With 60% of America's population obese and with heart disease and diabetes rates going through the roof, birth control pills will barely register as petty cash on the bottom lines of private health insurance companies. And given that the U.S. is rated #23 for overall quality of healthcare (just above Costa Rica) I think the U.S. healthcare delivery system is long overdue for major reforms.

  • (Show?)

    As I've said before, covering birth control is a lot less expensive than the alternative. I pay the same amount for my insurance whether I have one child or ten.

    Yet, there's be a lot more prescription drug needs if I had 10 kids rather than 1. It's a lot more expensive for the insurance companies to have to insure all those extra kids than it is to cover my birth control.

    Not to mention the hit it takes on your taxes. If people are having additional kids they can't afford, there's the likelihood that they end up getting WIC and/or food stamps, which you pay for with your taxes.

    And please don't start in with me on the Natural Family Planning method. We've had 0 kids on birth control and 1 on NFP. To me, birth control is a lot more effective.

    It also controls my cysts, which mean I don't need more expensive medications, pain medicines, and surgeries.

  • raul (unverified)

    Your religion doesn't advocate birth control, and why should you have to pay for it? There are Jehovah's Witnesses in our state that do not advocate the use of blood tranfusions. Why should we pay for that?

     Some religions strongly advocate against multiracial marriages, or marrying outside of your religion. Why should I pay for those babies?
     How long should we go on with this? Contraception is health care, and health care should be part of your health insurance. Duh.
      There are these fabulous tax free havens called churches that you can go to and practice as you please. Public legislation is for the public good as a whole- and the decisions made are not and should not be based on anybody's religion.
       I support your religious freedom, and my comments are respectfully submitted. I am a pro life atheist- how should that affect your health insurance? Not at all.
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