Free Preventive Care for Women

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Linda Rosenstock, dean of public health at the University of California, Los Angeles, and chairwoman of the Preventive Services for Women Committee at the Institute of Medicine, discusses the Obama administration's new regulations for free preventive healthcare for women, based on the committee's recommendations. Kate Nocera, health reporter for Politico, discusses the politics of these regulations and what they mean for patients. 


Kate Nocera and Linda Rosenstock

Comments [28]

rose-ellen from jackson hts.

Birth control pills are dangerous ;They can cause clots and perhaps cancer.They shouldn't be used at all to prevent conceptions. IUD's also are not safe. The rhytymn method and the use of condoms should be the only 2 methods used.This shows how little we value womens health and womens lives when ostensibly in the name of womens health women are put at risk.

Aug. 03 2011 09:04 AM

What am I missing here in this discussion?
Private health insurance companies are NOT in business in order to provide healthcare, in particular to the people least able to pay. Private health insurance companies are in business ultimately for the same normal purpose all private enterprise is, namely, to make a profit so that they can return dividends to investors. From this perspective, I have a lot of trouble with the Obama health reform plan. Private insurers make money primarily by DENYING health coverage, and use somewhere around 30 percent of the premium income on staff whose purpose is to figure out who to cover (or what employers to cover), and who not to. If the reimbursement costs to an employer go far past what the insurer expected, the insurer can drop the whole company.

This makes perfect sense from a private-enterprise perspective.

By treating healthcare as a product "just like any other product", the U.S. is also in the Dark Ages. Somehow, I haven't noticed people who "chose" to be born with some chronic illness making "just like any other product" claim.

During the healthcare-reform negotiations, the Obama administration came up with the "public option", which sounded pretty good, until the opponents (Why do they hate Americans? -- I continue to ask myself) started calling it the "Government Option". I was always a fan of "government parks", "government lands" "government speech", "government roads" -- the notion of "public" being derided, and converted to the more derisive term, "government". We're all on our own, and if you're not rich or belong to a -- what's the word, oh yes -- rich "collective", like a decent employer, you're out of luck.

I was always a proponent of "single-payer", meaning, we're all in this together. Punish single-payer fraud schemers with as-close-to-death-penalty punishment as you can get. And about the private insurance companies who have the Dark-Age idea that healthcare is "just another product", I think they would welcome this new instance of Joseph Schumpeter's "creative destruction", and celebrate the "disruptive" nature of having all Americans paying for the general basic health of all Americans. It the private insurers do not celebrate, then they have some basic problems with the principles of economic efficiency.

Aug. 02 2011 12:02 PM

I feel like it is mostly men who oppose the idea of providing birth control pills for women. There are many other reasons that women take birth control pills: hormone imbalances, fibroid tumors, endometriosis, etc. A woman should not be punished for her illness, or, for that matter, be branded with a scarlet "P" for wanting to be on the Pill in order to enjoy a healthy sex life without worrying about pregnancy. Many men wouldn't bat an eye at Viagra being covered by insurance.

And, sorry, but condoms take two to use properly, and some men are reluctant (does, "Ooo, but then I can't feel you, baby," ring a bell for any of you ladies?)

Aug. 02 2011 12:02 PM
Katrina from North Plainfield, NJ

This is great news. I work for a small business and my copay is $45 for a monthly prescription. That's more than $500/year and is not a trivial cost. Shame on people who think they can make this choice for another person. If a woman's religious belief prohibits them from taking the medicine, then let that woman make that decision. Oh, and as the guest pointed out, this is not FREE, this is going to be covered under an insurance plan for which we pay.

Aug. 02 2011 11:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Hey Brian,

How about "free" CHASTITY BELTS for "po' wimmen?"

If you wanna PLAY you gotta PAY, baby! Medicaid is supposed to be for truly indigent and disabled people who cannot work and have no other means of support. It's supposed to be for people who wanna PLAY but expect others to PAY! THat is how we got into this "debt crisis, " among other things!

Aug. 02 2011 11:35 AM
Joe from Manhattan

There is already a birth control method available free or very inexpensively, which is almost always effective if used correctly: condoms. And, not incidentally, they also prevent many sexually transmitted infections, which no pill or ring will do.

For the small minority of women with, say, a latex allergy, I would approve the funding of other methods. But for every one else, my taxes should not fund your preference of a barrier free sexual experience.

Aug. 02 2011 11:32 AM
John A.

Remind the caller that a $5 Frappuchino is $125 per month. At least Try to Not sound entitled.

Aug. 02 2011 11:30 AM

How about sterilization? I'm planning on getting my tubes tied for mt 30th birthday, but I'm balking at the potential price-tag.

Aug. 02 2011 11:30 AM

This sounds alarmingly like a government trying to provide for its people. Conservatives must be going crazy.

In all seriousness, as a man, there are times when I don't go to a doctor because of the co-pay. It's $20, but then you get sent to a specialist and that's $20, and then there are prescriptions. It adds up. Especially when you make under $40,000 and are trying to live in NY.

Aug. 02 2011 11:30 AM
Kim from NY, NY

Although not perfect, I believe that these preventative measures may provide substantial cost-saving in the future.

More importantly, this is a step forward in healthcare for women..these services should have always been included. Women are still the primary caregivers for families and households and many are now also the primary breadwinner, helping to ensure their health now and in the future could offer a great benefit to our communities.

Although not perfect, I think this is a solid step in the right direction.

Aug. 02 2011 11:29 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Ed- you don't have to pay. Pay cash for your health care. I dont want to pay for the treatment of a smokers cancer, a result of their own choice to smoke. But alas this is how insurance pools work.
I find it interesting that most of the people who oppose contraceptives and abortion are the same who are now trying to cut funds for Medicaid. So they want to make women bringthat unwanted pregnancy to term, then deny them the help they need for pre- and post-natal care.

Aug. 02 2011 11:29 AM
jgarbuz from QUeens

How about insurance companies providing free chastity belts to poor women, which only Liberal politicians will have keys to?

Aug. 02 2011 11:28 AM
Amy from Manhattan

If most insurance already covers most of this, then how much would requiring it really raise costs for the insurers?

Aug. 02 2011 11:28 AM

I agree with the physician who just called; I'm extremely excited about this!!! (Except the conscience clause).

Aug. 02 2011 11:26 AM
Hugh Sansom

Kate Nocera sounds like a typical Politico mouthpiece for business. Health insurers work on a model of charging for denial of care -- the pattern is well-documented.

As for coverage of contraception for men -- failure to offer some coverage for men would make the law unconstitutionally discriminatory.

Aug. 02 2011 11:26 AM

In an overpopulated world here is the opportunity for America to set a wonderful example of how to control fecundity. Now we need the psychologists to weigh in to inform men of their responsibilities in the reproductive process.

Aug. 02 2011 11:26 AM

Regarding your upcoming segment about Ambivalence, I'd imagine more than a few office holding GOP moralists who can be expected to, in the near future, predictably rage against government-sponsored anti-religion birth control, are presently receiving backslaps from their good friends from Big Pharma, whose birth control departments are looking very good today...

Aug. 02 2011 11:26 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Yes, tash, there is a plan. The government will provide poor women with locked chastity belts, that only politicians will have the keys to :)`

Aug. 02 2011 11:25 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Wow, I was unaware this was in the works; when will this be implemented? What are the parameters for care?

This is such a breath of fresh air; preventative care is so important to women's health!

Ed from Larchmont - it's wholly unrealistic to cherry pick which aspects of healthcare people should contribute to, and for people to keep harping on not wanting to pay for women's contraception and pregnancy-prevention, based on one's personal beliefs.

Imagine if every, single doctor's appointment, medication, and medical procedure that every person received was scrutinized by the masses; I'd imagine we could all find something we think is unnecessary in others' care.

If you don't want to contribute to women's care, perhaps you should drop insurance and pay out of pocket for your own medical needs? This is an extreme option, but the only viable one if you don't think people should pay for medical care you might receive, but they don't believe is necessary.

Aug. 02 2011 11:25 AM
tash from Midtown

What about women who do not have insurance coverage? Is there anything in this ruling for them?

Aug. 02 2011 11:23 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Why should this be FREE? "Free" means the taxpayer, or other insurance holders, are paying for it. The taxpayers should be providing both abortion AND contaception for "free?"

Aug. 02 2011 11:23 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I guess the liberals just want to kill of all the native born embryos and infants, and import the deficit from China or Mexico. Business as usual. Eat your own children, and import exotic babies from abroad. That is America, 2011!

Aug. 02 2011 11:23 AM
Robin from NY

Really, going to the doctor to just get condoms - and a prescription nonetheless! That example is ridiculous. The condoms should be provided as part of a general check-up, which means along with another appointment. Do you really think condom providers are going to pull condoms from the shelves of supermarkets and pharmacies? No, I don't think they will. But it could be an opportunity to provide them freely to those who need them. This would very much like they do on many college campuses.

Aug. 02 2011 11:22 AM
Edward from NJ

It's odd that health insurance plans don't already cover for free birth control. Insurance companies have strong financial incentives to prevent pregnancies: a $15,000 - $40,000 hospital bill for the delivery and another person to insure for the next 26 years.

Aug. 02 2011 11:19 AM
ben from Brooklyn

Are the brands of birth control specified?

Aug. 02 2011 11:17 AM
Louise Berenson from UWS

Brian --
Three syllables:
pre ven tive

unless you mean pre ven ta tate ive !
(a joke, please)

Aug. 02 2011 11:16 AM

Ask Linda if we are related. We have the same, very unusual name. How can we contact each other?

Aug. 02 2011 11:15 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Many of these contraceptive methods are not only harmful to women (e.g. the pill as a steroid), but are abortifacients, and many people don't want to contribute to pay for them, and don't want to see them promoted. (The medical community states that they aren't abortifacients because it defines abortion as ending a pregnancy, and they arbitrarily define pregnancy as not beginning before the implantation of the embryo in the womb - not at conception.)

Aug. 02 2011 10:53 AM

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