Wednesday, March 27, 2013

PA House: Separate Insurance for Vasectomies

The PA House has introduced three bills that, to my quick reading, seem to cover the exact same thing.  HB 1049, HB 1050, HB 1051 all concern insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs and devices.  All three are six pages long but they don't end on the same line number so there are differences in the text of the three.  One requires that any insurance companies operating in the public sphere offering coverage for the items mentioned above, also provide an insurance policy that is identical except for the exclusion of those items. One says people have to request coverage for those items.  Third says insurance companies are not required to cover these items.  The meat of the bills don't start until page 5; the first four pages are diatribes about the founding fathers.

I have two thoughts on this.  

The first is that, with the exception of vasectomies, all of the items listed affect women's bodies.  I wonder if all hysterectomies would be considered sterilization?  What about women who are passed menopause and can no longer have children, would a D&C or a hysterectomy for other reasons still fall under this bill if it became a law?  What about young women who hysterectomies because of family health issues -- would they have to specifically request coverage for such an event?    I have no medical training so this is all ignorant conjecture on my part but these bills do make me wonder.  Men would lose the ability to decide they didn't want any more children, unless they were going to be celibate.  

The second is that we do not have a state religion in this country.  I understand that some people do not believe in birth control of any kind, and this objection is primarily based on religious beliefs.  There are a lot of religions in the US and a lot of branches of Christianity.  Should Quakers be exempt from paying taxes that support the military?  My branch of Christianity is "dry," no alcohol at church functions and people tend not to drink much at home.  My annual alcohol intake is maybe  2 glasses of wine.  In wine there may be truth but there's a lot of trouble, too.  How many crimes on the news are alcohol-based?  Quite a few I would guess.  You could close down all the liquor stores and take it off the menu in restaurants, close the bars, and I would be just as happy.  Ditto with gambling.  But I don't think my beliefs should be forced upon anyone else.

These bills say that some people's religious beliefs outweigh others.  They also do not distinguish between medical procedures used for contraceptive purposes and those same medical procedures used for other purposes.  Hopefully they won't move out of committee.


Anonymous said...

Speaking from personal experience, requesting and receiving treatment and obtaining coverage from my insurance company for medical issues related to my reproductive organs that were not related to pregnancy was incredibly difficult. I had to put off treatment of a painful condition for years in order to prove to the insurance company that my issues were "valid" -- essentially by having numerous, repetitive diagnostic procedures, as well as by trying alternative medical solutions that my doctors didn't even recommend (or want to do, in one case).

One of those solutions was chemical and the prescription drug I was taking required separate approval every 3 months by my prescription coverage (which was frequently denied, because each time I had to send the backlog of medical paperwork proving that I needed the drug). The drug ended up causing side effects and I had to stop taking it entirely.

In the end, I got the procedure I needed and it was covered by insurance -- thanks to having endured all of the above BUT only after I was forced to see a shrink to discuss the impact the medical procedure would have on my reproductive health. The whole process took nearly 10 years.

Meanwhile, my husband went to his doctor, requested a vasectomy, and had the procedure done in less than 9 calendar days. His operation was fully covered with no extra paperwork and no coddling or counseling.

AboveAvgJane said...

It is interesting, isn't it, how differently procedures are viewed depending on who is having them.

Thanks for sharing your story.