Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Medicare, They Don't Care

From Inside Higher Education:

You’ve heard the complaints about paying more for tuition and textbooks. The
latest sticker shock to be upsetting students: the rising cost of birth control.

A little known provision in a deficit reduction law enacted in 2005 is taking effect this year and leading to sharp increases in costs for students who use prescription birth control. Exact costs vary from campus to campus, but students whose birth control needs could have been financed with $10 to $20 a month now find themselves facing bills as much as $50 a month. That may not sound like a huge increase, but health educators report that many students don’t have an extra few hundred dollars a year in their budgets and are furious about the change. Those frustrations upset health educators, who already worry about students having sex without birth control, and who don’t want any unwanted pregnancies on their campuses. In addition, health educators note that students who seek prescription birth control typically receive guidance on sexual health issues, guidance that might disappear if students are discouraged from these froms of birth control.

I'm sure someone with their head in the sand figured this would be a cost-cutting measure that would actually prevent unwanted pregnancies as it would force students to be abstinent. Hey, I also have some swamp land in Florida for sale! This provision benefits no one but the pharmaceutical companies (read the rest of the article), which seems to be something that Bush's Medicare changes were intended to do, at least the way they've been playing out. Personally, I think it's profoundly cheaper to be realistic, give students access to birth control they can afford (I didn't say make it free), and prevent unwanted pregnancies in actuality (rather than by just wishing they'll be good little boys and girls).

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