I’m sure most of TSM readers remember when the George W. Bush administration approved Viagra prescriptions to be covered by health insurance. The bitter irony was that health insurance companies were paying to make sure men could have an erection, but would not cover birth control for women. Was I the only one that thought this smacked of misogyny?
Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services received the formal report finding that birth control should be included in health plans for women, if prescribed. The report found (none of this is a surprise) ” eight additional services as necessary to support women’s optimal health and well-being. The most contentious of these appears to be the free contraception service.”
The report also confirmed what most of us already knew: ( save for a few misogynists in the House of Representatives)
because of gaps in the current guidelines, womens needs for preventive services are not being met and this results in them suffering a disproportionate rate of chronic disease and disability. And, because they need more preventive care than men, due to “reproductive and gender-specific conditions”, they end up paying more out of their own pockets.
Now all we have to do is wait for Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to do the right thing and put into place the tools to implement the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. Click here to see the report.