Monday, March 26, 2007

Birth Control Costs On Campus Double Thanks to Medicaid

Reproductive rights are something that about which I feel very strongly. Those of you who were in 312 with me know this. I think that so many issues in America could be resolved through better sex education and increased access to birth control.

Other countries of similar economic status and values already know this and have implemented programs to reduce unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Yet the response of the American Federal Government is to keep its collective head in the sand and refuse to listen to reason on this issue. Our president and a large number of Republican leaders have ignored the data which shows that abstinence-only sex education does not work. Furthermore, they also have ignored numerous polls which show that American citizens support more comprehensive sex education.

What boggles my mind the most is that when people cut programs to prevent unplanned pregnancies, they fail to recognize that it is cheaper to prevent a pregnancy than to deal with the consequences of it after conception. And by that I don't mean simply abortion -- I mean that abortion, adoption, raising the child or even simply leaving it at a Fire Station -- all cost taxpayers more than the cost of providing birth control.

I know that some legislators and activists believe that paying for birth control is tantamount to condoning out-of-wedlock sex. Yet this position ignores the fact that even married people cannot afford birth control sometimes. Furthermore, there are individuals in society who simply should not have children, regardless of their marital status. I happen to be one of those people. For health reasons, I should not have children as I could possibly pass on the same congenital birth defect to them which was discovered in me. And for those same health reasons, although I could conceive and bear children, it would be a tremendous strain on my health and well-being. My being married would not change these facts.

But all of this is simply a lengthy intro to my main concern today. Thanks to our federal government, obtaining birth control at the CSUMB Health Center could now cost you more. The reasons why costs are increasing is a little complicated. Basically, drug companies sold pharmaceuticals to universities at deep discounts in order to get rebates from those states when it came time to pay to participate in Medicaid. Now, pharmaceutical companies who give discounts to universities are required to pay more to participate in Medicaid. (Please click on the title of this blog for more information.)

Now, I believe that pharmaceutical companies have been allowed to put America in a stranglehold and they need to be reigned in. However, this legislation feels distinctly as if it is punishing university students along with the drug companies. Not only will students have to pay more for birth control, but any other prescription drugs we obtain at the health center. If you contract pneumonia, antibiotics will cost you more. If you suffer from depression (and reports of depression in college students are on the rise), then your anti-depressants will cost more. Frankly, I don't understand how our government can see fit to punish students in this manner.

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