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St. Paul, Minnesota – Today, State Representative Erin Murphy (DFL – St. Paul) offered an amendment to the GOP Health and Human Services Omnibus Bill, requiring Minnesota health plans providing prescription drug coverage to cover contraception without charging co-pay. Earlier this session, Rep. Murphy and other DFL legislators introduced the “Contraceptive Equity Act," but were unable to get a hearing scheduled by Republicans.
The provision included in the amendment differs slightly from the federal mandate put forward by President Obama. The federal law allows for the grandfathering in of certain plans. The “Contraceptive Equity Act” proposed by Rep. Murphy would close coverage gaps as a result of this grandfathering.
In addition to citing the high cost and regional inequities to access associated with contraception, Rep. Murphy also believes this is a necessary step forward in addressing the existence of gender disparities in our health care system—making it clear that this is an issue about health care and preventative services.
Using procedural maneuvers, Republicans shot down a vote the amendment.
Rep. Murphy offered the following comments:
“Given the leadership that Minnesota has shown on health care reform and prevention, it is unacceptable for us to be one of 22 states not offering this type of basic coverage and peace of mind for women.
“For many women, access to affordable contraception is a matter maintaining their health. With the high cost of contraception and the recent emphasis by Republican’s to defund family planning programs like Title X, many clinics have been forced to close, leaving many women without the resources necessary to access affordable contraception.
“When it comes to accessing preventative care and services, we should not have a system of haves and haves not, winners and losers. Instead, we should be focused on policies that ensure that all Minnesotans have equitable access to the care they need.”
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