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Pro-Choice Legislation in the 2009-2011 Wisconsin State Budget

Contraceptive Equity: Requires that all insurance policies that contain a prescription drug benefit to cover prescription contraceptives.

  • Fair insurance coverage must include health care women need everyday. As a matter of basic fairness, prescription drug plans should cover prescription birth control methods.
  • Birth control is basic health care, used by over 95% of women at some point in their lives. Excluding birth control coverage under prescription drug plans discriminates against women.
  • The State of Wisconsin currently provides health insurance plans that cover prescription birth control. In addition, since 1999 the federal government has required all health benefits plans to cover birth control prescriptions. Neither has seen an increase in costs as a result.
  • The National Business Group on Health, an organization representing over 160 large national and multinational companies, found that failing to provide contraceptive coverage actually costs employer 15-17% more than actually providing it (Family Health in Brief, Washington Business Group on Health, 2000).
  • Government also saves taxpayer dollars €a recent study shows that for every $1 spent on birth control services under the Medicaid program, federal and state governments save $4.02 (the Guttmacher Institute, 2008).

Prescription Protection: Requires that all pharmacies have someone available during business hours to dispense safe, legal birth control prescriptions.

  • Pharmacies must ensure that patients receive their birth control without discrimination or unnecessary delay.
  • Given the barriers women face in accessing health care and the cost of unintended pregnancy on the state (each Medicaid birth costs $10,000 as compared to $300 for annual contraceptive drugs and supplies), we need to do everything we can to dismantle these obstacles and make sure women have access to the health care they need, including birth control.
  • In Wisconsin, many women live in rural parts of the state where the next pharmacy may be miles away. It is unconscionable to expect a woman to drive all around the state just to access her doctor prescribed medication!
  • Birth control is basic health care. Prescription birth control pills are often used not just to prevent pregnancy but to treat serious medical conditions like endometriosis and infertility.
  • According to a 2007 Mellman poll, 84% of Wisconsin voters believe that pharmacies should ensure all women have access to birth control prescriptions.

Family Planning Waiver: Expands the Family Planning Waiver to provide family planning health care such as sexually transmitted infections testing and treatment for low-income men.

  • Publicly-funded family planning services provide critical health care to low-income women, men and teens, including cancer screenings, breast exams, STI testing and treatment, and access to birth control.
  • For each $1.00 spent on family planning services, $4.02 is saved by preventing unintended pregnancies and providing preventive health care.
  • Since 2003 when the Family Planning Waiver was implemented, it has saved the state $487 million.
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