DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     May 14, 1998     vol. 9, no. 94

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - The American Life League took issue on Tuesday with a group representing gynecologists and obstetricians who said insurance companies who cover the cost of Viagra for men, but not birth control for women are discriminating against women.

          Judie Brown, president of ALL, said the difference is basic. "Pregnancy is not a disease," she said. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which met in New Orleans on Tuesday, urged Congress to pass a bill requiring insurers who pay for prescription drugs to also cover birth control. The group said covering Viagra, a drug to treat impotence in men, shows a bias by those who refuse to cover another "medical necessity" -- birth control.

          While nine out of 10 employer-based health insurance plans cover prescription drugs, most don't cover prescription contraceptives, the doctors' group said. Last month, Maryland became the first state to require insurers cover the cost of birth control if they also cover prescription drugs. US Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine this week proposed legislation to mandate coverage by insurers.

          ALL said the difference between birth control and impotence is that the latter is a medical dysfunction. "The decision to use artificial birth control is elective," said Brown. Most insurers offer plans that cover contraception, but employers often don't choose to pay for it, said Health Insurance Association of America spokesman Richard Coorsh. The industry group opposes requiring contraceptive coverage and mandated benefits in general because they drive up insurance costs, he said.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 14, 1998       volume 9, no. 94


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