Ms. Lerner seems not to have carefully read the bills pending before Congress.
While I agree that there is much healthcare reform ought to do, including cover prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, the bills do mandate coverage for some of the services Ms. Lerner names, despite her assertion to the contrary.
For example, in the just-released Senate version (and in the HELP Committee draft released in July 2009) the minimum benefits package is required to cover--with no cost-sharing--anything that receives an A or B rating from the US Preventive Services Task (USPSTF) Force (see section 2713 here, for example).
If you read the latest report from the USPSTF, you can see beginning on p. 83 that they recommend routine chlamydial, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV screening (and some limited screening for Hep B). They also recommend "high-intensity behavioralcounseling to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for all sexually active adolescents and for adults at increased risk for STIs."
Again, due to the A or B rating, these services would not be subject to cost-sharing in either the House or Senate bill.
It is true that the USPSTF found "insufficient evidence" to recommend partner violence screening. This is unfortunate, but does not close the issue forever. If good data points for the efficacy of routine partner violence screening can be gathered and published, the USPSTF may yet change the I to an A or B.
As for birth control, it is true that the bill does not require coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs or devices. However, neither does the bill pre-empt the coverage required in twenty-seven states (see Guttmacher Institute's "State Policies in Brief").
Nov 20 2009 - 11:49am