Thursday, February 10, 2005

Montana & Contraceptive Equity

The Montana State Senate passed a bill mandating that insurance companies cover women's contraception. It still has to hurdle the state House, which will be tough. But some of the Republican justifications for opposing the bill are ridiculous:

During an earlier committee hearing, Blue Cross and Blue Shield estimated that mandating contraception coverage would cost each customer an extra $1.30 a month.

Sen. Duane Grimes, R-Clancy, said he worried that requiring too much of the insurance industry will drive up costs. He proposed the Legislature regulate less and allow the free market do most of the work.

Yes, requiring the insurance companies to address the health needs of women is a despicable government mandate. Like Title VII.

But this one takes the cake:

According to Sen. Jerry O'Neil, R-Columbia Falls, there are 39 bills this session that would place requirements on insurance companies. It is unfair that everyone must pay when only a few people benefit, he said.

"My 80-year-old constituents shouldn't have to pay for your kids' contraceptives," he said.

Someone doesn't understand how insurance works. I'm sure the kids feel that they shouldn't have to pay for the old people's arthritis or cholesterol or heart medication, all of which are substantially more expensive than $1.30 a month. If we all had to agree on which drugs to pay for in our insurance premiums, everyone would have to buy drugs out of pocket.

Bottom line: the young people pay higher premiums to finance care for more expensive elderly people, and if each paid their own way, the elderly would pay far more and the young far less.


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