The Iowa Senate has overwhelmingly voted to force insurance companies to pay for contraceptives like “the pill” if policyholders have a “prescription drug benefit.” Senator Jo Ann Johnson, a republican from Adel, was the bill’s principal sponsor. She calls it a big step forward for insurance equity in Iowa. Johnson says a survey conducted in November found 66 percent of Iowans support the move to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives.Senator Maggie Tinsman, a republican from Davenport, says contraceptives improve a woman’s health and well-being.Senator Johnie Hammond, a republican from Ames, said insurance was about shared risk. Hammond says she’s willing to help pay for viagra even though she doesn’t use it. She says she hopes others will be willing to pay for contraceptives for those who need it.Senator Steve King, a republican from Kyron, voted against the bill because he believes it sends the wrong message. He says it shows the state is discouraging people from having large families when the state is having trouble filling the workforce. King said the bill flew in the face of one of Governor Vilsack’s priorities. King borrowed a line from the governor saying it’s all about having “more Iowans, younger Iowans and better paid Iowans.” Senator Neal Schuerer (sheer-er), a republican from Amana who runs a restaurant, objected to the mandate. He says it will drive the cost of health care out of the market for an individual employer.The Senate passed the bill on a 41 to 7 vote. The bill now goes to the House. Governor Vilsack has said if insurance companies cover Viagra, they should probably be forced to cover contraceptives.
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