MN Legislators Introduce Controversial Birth Control Bill

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Insurance coverage of birth control by employers is sparking a furious debate at the national level.

A new bill requiring coverage was introduced here in Minnesota on Tuesday at the State Capitol.

A group of DFL legislators is proposing the bill, which would require insurance to cover contraceptive care in full, including the deductible.

The legislators said they were inspired in part by the fierce debate in Washington D.C. that included Rush Limbaugh’s use of a slur to describe law student Sandra Fluke, who testified in favor of insurance coverage for contraception.

Republicans are already speaking out against the proposal that would require MInnesota insurers to cover birth control including all copays.

In a Republican legislature it will be very tough for this measure to pass, but sponsors say they will fight for it. Rep. Erin Murphy is the bill’s chief sponsor, flanked by other DFL legisaltors, and said this is about fairness.

“This legislation will close the gap in Minnesota so that all Minnesota women will have access to this affordable coverage,” Murphy said.

The proposal is similar to President Obama’s plan, which also requires coverage of contraception by employers starting next year. Like the Obama policy, faith-based organizations have an out.

“Health plans sponsored by religious employers would be exempt from the coverage requirement but plans must offer coverage to the employees directly,” said Murphy.

Jessica Pielko a young working mother, said contraceptive care has allowed her to plan when she would have children.

“As a working mother I pay health insurance premiums and I pay taxes. I should have the opportunity to have those health care dollars go to health care that is relevant to me,” Pielko said.

The proposal drew immediate fire from the powerful Senate Chairman of the Health and Human Services committee David Hann.

“They are asking for mandated coverage. Minnesota currently has 67 or 68 mandated coverages, that’s more than any other state in the country and every mandate adds costs to insurance,” Hann said.

The sponsors say this bill would make Minnesota the 29th state to require contraceptive coverage, but again the issue is how far will it get in the Republican legislature. That’s likely not very far.

More from Esme Murphy
  • Barb Altman Cline

    Birth control should be covered, but not in full, it should have the same copays or deducitables as any other drug. Fair is fair, it is a drug which requires a prescription and should be covered as such, same as Viagra.

  • chinwhiskers

    Won’t Viagra be next? Isn’t contraceptives for one sex only a form of discrimination?

  • Sarah

    Insurance companies exist to make money.

    You can buy birth control yourself for say, $100 per month.

    Or you can pay a premium to an Insurance company for say, $115 a month.

    Having birth control be covered by medical insurance is financially asinine.

    This bill is pathetic political posturing. The liberals who introduced this bill should be unelected as soon as possible. They are everything that is wrong with politics.

    • kim

      yea, because that insurance premium wouldn’t cover anything else, like checkups and such.
      Your comment is pathetic political posturing. Exagerations such as your are everything that is wrong with politics

    • kate

      Insurance companies would rather cover contraception than pay for more babies being born. This is to push the company owners to keep their religious views from affecting their employee’s health care.

    • What?

      You….are everything that is wrong with being human. Please don’t vote…on any issue or for any candidate.

    • Holly Terror

      Sarah, your post makes no sense – a premium of $115 covers more than birth control.

  • DougT

    Politics – nothing but politics

    This is not about “women’s health” – its about firing up the base and it makes the democrats seem as small and pathetic as they are – and their base will eat it up……

  • Old Nurse

    I guess the answer to your question is who is Mike Malloy? Obviously not anyone heard locally. As he is not heard locally , and given air america’s demise, probably not heard much nationally. But way to stay on topic. Shows how smart you are not.

  • MarkMWhite

    Many existing laws and regulations apply specifically to pregnant women. Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act offer new benefits for expecting mothers. Search online for “Penny Health” if you need affordable insurance for yourself or your wife.

  • Sue

    Another way they want to get your vote, give you something for free, but you pay in the end, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • here we go

    The word has come down: attack this issue. Use the Limbaugh gaff. Never mind the economy. Introduce a bill that has little chance of passage for the purpose of political grandstanding. Its gonna be an interesting election folks. Gad I love this game.

  • See BS

    So now everyone is expected to pay their $3,000 Obamacare deductable mandate — unless you are a woman, or gay, a helpless illegal migrant worker and so on.

    Obama Healthcare will be used to incite class warfare.

    • kim

      What? Where are you getting that there is a $3,000 deductable mandate? And that women, gays or others won’t have to pay it?
      Do you understand where the $3,000 figure is coming from?
      And that the insurance companies would cover the cost of the contraception, not tax payers?

  • Rube

    The woman that testified before congress indicated it cost $3000 per year for the female students to cover the cost of birth control. I’m not sure but I wouldn’t think the cost of a regular rubber would be about a dollar. I’m sure there are designer rubbers out there that fall in the french tickler category are aimed at pleasure, not as a contraceptive or women’s health. At that cost, that would be $365.00 / yr. So if Law schools is 4 years would be $1460 … I will throw in a few party nights and go to $1500 for FOUR years, Far below the $3000 / YR she claimed…. Math obviously isn’t her strong suit.

    • kate

      She said that over the three years as a law student, birth control could cost $3,000 in some cases. So $1,000 per year = $83.33 per month. Which is appropriate.
      There are more types of contraceptives than condoms. And they work in different ways and have other effects.
      Looks like math, biology and reading aren’t your strong suits.

      • Rub me the wrong way

        Now rubbers arnt good enough, it must be any type birth controld the woman desires.
        At the $83 figure you put out, that is still 83 + rubbera a month which when combined with a week or so off (Literally) for that monthly thing and a couple of escapades centered on oral action (No fear of conception here) there would be a lot of contraceptive cash for wild weekend action.
        Maybe if she was to tell the other part involved to provide one or there would be any party, that would cut down on her costs also.
        I agree with Rube, it doesn’t add up.

        • nb

          I see that all is smart in MN.
          Let’s see. Since when have men taken responsibility for birth control, not to mention STD’s?
          A condom is approximately 80% effective at preventing transmission of sperm.
          Given the fact that most men don’t know how to properly to put one on, to stay on,
          and prevent 80% chance of pregnancy–it looks like women take responsibility. Involving white Republicans in the decision is not only unhealthy, it’s morally gut-wrenching. The same group is bent on dominating women’s wombs could care less about funding education, health care, or sustainable job creation.
          Over population should be the topic, and education about family planning.

        • Holly Terror

          Rube and Rub – I bet y’all don’t get any, huh.

        • Holly Terror

          Rube and Rub – I bet y’all don’t ever get any, huh.

  • Kurt Faber

    Why cant the Republicans just say: “Contraceptives are available everywhere that is affordable and available, adding a mandate for coverage is why insurance costs are so increasingly expensive!” Then walk away. This is just unbelievable the voting public, especially in minnesota is just clueless. But hey, gotta do it for all of the made up words and phrases: “affordable, fair, womens health, war on women………….” it never ends.

    • kate

      contraceptives are cheaper than babies. Insurance companies would prefer to pay for contraception. And no tax dollars are involved in this rule. It is insurance premiums.

  • Reality Check: The Truth About Insurance And Birth Control « CBS Minnesota

    […] State Healthcare Mandates Legislator Introduces Contraceptive Bill Health Insurance Mandates By State Birth Control Coverage By State Port Wine Stain Cranial […]

  • Holly Terror

    Kurt – here in Texas there is a mandate that insurance compaines have to cover chemo therapy. If there were no madates – insurance companies could offer and reject all sorts of coverage. For example, a insurance company has too many cancer patients in a year and it is cutting into their profits, so the next year they decide to stop covering chemo therapy. Now all those people who have been paying their premiums don’t get the treatment they need or the coverage they bought initially.

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