Letter to the editor for April 4, 2012

Samantha Bailey

Reading Taylor Miksic’s column yesterday entitled “It’s the state’s decision” was like being sprayed with buckshot in the form of sound bites from Fox news and Rush Limbaugh.

The statement “in reality women have no problem acquiring what they need to be safe” (by which I assume she means “to avoid an unwanted or potentially dangerous pregnancy”) is laughably inaccurate.

Studies have consistently shown that the costs of reliable contraception is a serious barrier for poor women. This is not just an issue that impacts the poverty-stricken, although they are more adversely affected than those of us with more economic power.

I have health insurance and do not live paycheck to paycheck. But my husband and I were shocked to discover that we would have to pay over $1,000 out of pocket for an IUD­ — the option recommended by my doctor as the safest way to avoid a high-risk pregnancy following the premature birth of my son — when I was no longer able to take the pill, and we learned that our insurance didn’t cover contraception. This came as quite a surprise at the time, I assure you.

Essentially, our insurance company told us that they would pay the thousands of dollars in hospital and neonatal intensive care unit fees that we would incur with another pregnancy, but we would have to pay to avoid having those costs incurred in the first place. Regardless of politics, it seems like we should all be able to agree that doesn’t make any sense economically.

Unlike Ms. Miksic, I do believe this is a women’s health issue, but as a tax payer and citizen, I don’t think the most important issue here is religion or state’s rights or ideology — I think the most important issue is one of economics.

There are very real economic ramifications from this short-sighted (yet, long-running) practice on the part of insurance companies when it comes to covering contraception. These (and myriad other penny-wise and pound-foolish practices) contribute to increasing health care costs — one of many things that is lowering the quality of life for average Americans. I think we all experience more “mediocre lifestyles” from economic decisions like the ones made by my health insurer than by the risk of creeping socialism that Ms. Miksic fears will overtake us if such coverage is mandated by the government.


Samantha Bailey

Adjunct Professor

Department of Information Architecture

and Knowledge