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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Do We Want? Free Birth Control!

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 10:14 AM

As part of the healthcare overhaul, a group of experts will begin meeting today to advise the federal government on whether health insurance should have to cover contraceptives, everything from condoms to IUDs.

Ninety percent of employee insurance plans already cover birth control and it's obvious why: research shows that paying for contraception saves taxpayers $3.74 for every $1 invested. It turns out the Pill is way cheaper to society than a baby a mom can't afford. As the president of Planned Parenthood told me earlier this year, "Family planning is the smartest investment the federal government can make, so I think they should just be dropping it out of airplanes and it should be free for every woman."

Oregon has pretty kickass coverage birth control coverage. The federal government has a special Medicaid program that matches state contributions to family planning, but the way it's administered state-by-state varies. I've acquired birth control in four states and personally found Oregon to be the best (an expert agrees!) for a couple reasons: there's a lot of clinics (and a birth-control-by-mail system for rural folks), plus the federal program covers 90 percent of birth control costs for low-income Oregon residents who have proof of citizenship. With birth control costing $10-50 a month, federal or private health insurance subsidies makes the different between a planned pregnancy and accidental babymakin'.

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