a bird and a bottle

When The Pill is Too Pricey

There’s been a lot of news recently about the rising prices of the birth control pill on college campuses. Whereas students used to be able to get the pill at cut-rate prices, those days are gone. And birth control is now too expensive for many college women to afford. The Times has more in an Editorial today:

For almost 20 years, college health centers have been able to purchase contraceptives at nominal prices. This was not a tax-funded subsidy. It was a financial incentive that gave drug manufacturers an exemption from Medicaid pricing rules so they could sell contraceptives and other products to certain charitable groups, like the college clinics, at an extreme discount. In response to concerns that drug companies were abusing this privilege, language was sewn into legislation in 2005 to close a loophole. It also inadvertently slashed this important benefit for clinics and their patients.

On some college campuses, the price of brand-name contraceptives has risen from the neighborhood of $5 per month to $40 or even $50. Switching to a generic is an option in some cases, but it can still entail a 300 percent price increase. Generics often run at about $15 per month. Newer contraceptives, like the NuvaRing, which contains a very low hormone dose and does not require a daily action that is easily forgotten, are not yet available generically. Many students are priced out of the market.

So we now live in a society where young women are unable to purchase monthly birth control and unable to secure state funding for an abortion (in most states). Anyone see a pattern here? Feels to me like mounting pressure for a return to the glory days of women as babymakers. For a long time now, religious conservatives have quietly lobbied against birth control while shouting about abortion. More and more, they’re raising the volume.

Correlation instead of causation? Perhaps. But given the power wielded by the wingnuts, I’m suspicious. Whatever the cause, the new Democrat-controlled Congress has got to close this loophole, and fast.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Nothing done in a bill is “inadvertent”—it’s there because someone wanted it there and knew what it would mean.

To pretend otherwise does the NYT no credit.

Comment by Ken Houghton

Ken – good point. I would agree that “inadvertent” is probably a mistake on the Times’s part, or an instance of the paper being overly generous to business interests. I don’t think for second that this was an inadvertent move. Perhaps it wasn’t motivated by the puritanical interests I assign to it, but I am sure that it wasn’t something that just “whoops” happened when they altered the statute.

Comment by bean

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