Favola Calls for Va. Insurers to Cover Birth Control

by ARLnow.com July 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm 3,032 58 Comments

State Senate candidate and Arlington County Board Member Barbara Favola is calling on Virginia health insurers to cover birth control and other reproductive health services for women.

Favola said she would sponsor legislation to require Virginia insurers to follow the Institute of Medicine’s recent recommendations that women be provided birth control, STD counseling, breast pumps and other health services at no charge. According to a campaign press release:

“Virginia insurers should cover birth control which is basic health care for women,” Favola said. “If they won’t do it voluntarily, I will sponsor legislation that mandates it. It’s time for women’s health to be a priority in Virginia.”

The Institute for Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization, released a report today that says health insurance plans should be required to fully cover contraceptives and reproductive education with no cost to patients under the new federal health care law. Annual HIV tests, breastfeeding support and a well-woman care visit should also be fully covered as preventive health measures according to the recommendations.

“Women who have the opportunity to plan their families have healthier children and are better able to care for them. Yet, women are forced to pay more for health care because birth control is not covered by many insurance companies,” Favola continued, “It’s time for that to change. I will lead the fight in the Virginia state senate to make that a reality.”

Favola’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Jaime Areizaga-Soto, has consistently said that he supports the “reproductive rights of women.”

  • esmith69

    I’m waiting with great anticipation for various knee-jerk Tea Party type comments…

    • FW


    • Why does she only single out women?

      • FW

        Clearly sex discrimination.

        • doodly

          If a policy covers Viagra, it should cover birth control.

          • SomeGuy

            Doodly, please explain that logic? I don’t necessarily disagree that birth control should be covered. I just can’t make the leap from one to the other on my own.

          • doodly

            I was only half-serious, but still. If you cover something for men that involves sexual function only, surely you can cover something for women that involves her basic health and may result in another little beneficiary too.

    • ArlForester

      I was waiting for someone to throw up a non-existent red herring. Thanks.

  • esmith69

    In the long run, preventative care for women that already are pregnant, as well as access to birth control for those who don’t want to become pregnant, is going to help drive down health care and other costs for everyone.

    • PikerShorts


    • Sam

      B-b-b-b-but God says no and that should be the law.

    • Burger

      You are not talking about the elderly but pregnant woman which means they are young. This will have absolutely no impact on health care costs for everyone given most of healthcare costs are incurred in the last 6 months of life. So please spare us the red herring.

  • Nimmel

    I say we should make everything “free”. It is only fair. Just mandate it. It’s ridiculous I still have to pay for car insurance with my own money.

    • esmith69

      Our hospital system is always going to give out free ER care to people who cannot pay. Whether or not you agree with that idea is beside the point (I personally am not a big fan of it, but it is what it is and it’s never going to change).

      Still, we should be doing everything possible to help fund preventative care for those that cannot afford it because that helps keeps them out of the expensive ER (which we as buyers of health insurance would end up paying for).

      • ArlForester

        I do love the argument that we should pay for something in order to avoid paying for something.

        • esmith69

          A $300 visit to a family doctor (which is where someone WITH insurance is going to go for non emergencies) is significantly less expensive than a $2000 ER bill (where someone WITHOUT insurance will be forced to go, because no one else accepts people who can’t pay). My numbers are way off I’m sure, but it’s probably that I’m underestimating the cost for the ER visit.

          • Nice in theory.

            In practice? Not so much:


          • doodly

            ER visits is hardly the right measure. The right measure is total uninsured (i.e. passed on to the taxpayers or just written off) healthcare costs.

          • Someone should have told the President, then, because he was awfully fond of using that measure to help sell his plan to the rest of us.

            Here’s another measure: Private sector job creation ground to a halt right after President Obama signed health care reform into law. http://is.gd/gnP7R9

            But that was probably just a coincidence. Health care reform is going to create jobs. The President told us that as well.

          • ArlForester

            Your assumption that one office visit prevents one ER visit is a pipe dream.

          • ZoningVictim

            The ER gives out birth control for $2,000?

        • doodly

          Much like you pay for car insurance so you won’t have to pay for more costly repairs if you wreck. Yes, sometimes you pay a little for something now so you won’t have to pay alot more later. Duh.

        • doodly

          Oh, another obvious example – you pay for birth control to avoid paying for a kid later!

          Double duh.

      • John Fontain

        “fund preventative care for those that cannot afford it”

        “Those that cannot afford it” are the key words. I have no problem providing pills for free or for a reduced cost for those with financial need, but a rich woman in McLean does not need free birth control. Favola shouldn’t mandate that insurers provide it for free for everyone, only for those with really low incomes.

        • esmith69

          I sort of jumped the gun in my comments before realizing this is more about making health insurance providers cover birth control and other preventative costs with no expenses than the separate issue of providing that stuff free to people who don’t already pay for insurance. That’s a separate issue, though one that’s important to discuss, just not in this thread.

          Agreed that maybe it shouldn’t be completely FREE to people who have insurance, but I’m surprised that any insurance company isn’t more supportive at least for providing free birth control. That’s something that can help prevent the insurance company from having to pay all the expenses that come with the birth of an unexpected child.

  • Maybe she can combine mandatory contraception for those living in affordable housing.

    • esmith69

      I shouldn’t laugh at that, but I feel like there is some truth to it. Many low income women seem to breed like no other, and I still don’t understand why.

      • KalashniKEV

        You don’t know why???

        More dependents = more ben-uh-fits. Have you ever heard of Rickey Lackey? It’s not an uncommon scenario. To paraphrase the gentleman, “they be concubinin’ “

        • doodly

          So now your latest whacky theory is that poor people actually make a profit by having kids on welfare? It’s a net gain for them?

          And let’s dismiss right now any notion that the race card shouldn’t be placed right in front of you, KEV.

          • KalashniKEV

            Are you reaching into your deck? I’m talking about poor people here… whether they’re black or white, inner city or trailer park is irrelevant.

            The Welfare System has grown so large that a person qualifying for several different types of aid often does quite well for themselves.

            Have you ever seen a person paying for their groceries on a WIC voucher while talking on an iPhone4?

            I have.

      • Jason S.

        Lower intelligence.

    • Amen


  • wow, she’s trying desperately to get women to vote for her, isn’t she. Breast pumps too?? Interesting what she considers a reproductive health right – another term for abortion of demand folks.

    Just another reminder why I quite voting for Democrats.

  • DSS10

    This will never happen, the Republiban in Richmondstan will have Bin Cuccinelli saying that this is an offence to personal freedom and infringes of constitutional rights.

    • Paco

      Sad but true. How about free birth control for Cuccinelli?

      • CrystalMikey


  • Thes

    Why is this particular Favola position news? It seems Favola is merely agreeing with this report. In the past I’ve criticized article-via-press release for other news organizations and in fairness I have to question this one as well. It doesn’t seem like a controversial or unique position among persons who would seek a Democratic nomination in Arlington.

    • PhilL

      Well from reading that article is sounds like some states have required similar services be supported by employer health plans, even before this report came out. Apparently, Virginia is not one of those states and Favola would introduce legislation for that purpose. Seems like a reasonable story about what she would do in Richmond, since nobody else down there has already done it. Including Democrat legislators with direct ties to Arlington.

  • SB

    There was a story about this issue on NPR and a couple with two kids said that birth control became a “luxury” that they couldn’t afford it at $25 a month… so guess what? They got pregnant again.

    Blew my mind. People like that should be given free birth control for society’s sake.

  • novasteve

    Funny how people can’t afford birth control but they can afford luxury cars and Xboxes and HDTVs in their section 8 apartments here.

    • doodly

      I am concerned by some of the things I’ve seen that Section 8 people own, but I have yet to see any Section 8 clients with any of those things.

      • ZoningVictim

        It wasn’t in section 8 housing, but I’ve definitely seen people who are getting government benefits with all sorts of stuff like that.

  • Bender

    Whatever happened to freedom?

    If someone wants an insurance policy that covers contraception, then he or she should be free to have one.

    But if someone wants an insurance policy that does NOT cover contraception, then he or she should also be free to have one. He or she should not be forced to subsidize someone else’s sex life against his or her will, by operation of government dictate, especially since sexuality is supposed to be a PRIVATE concern.

    • Josh S

      I’m a strict vegan, I want an insurance policy that doesn’t help people who get heart attacks from eating too much red meat.

      I’m a teetotaler, I want an insurance policy that doesn’t help people who get cirrhosis of the liver from drinking alcohol.

      I’m a professional trainer, I want an insurance policy that doesn’t help people who get diabetes from lying around on their couch all day and getting fat.

      I think smoking is a disgusting habit, I want an insurance policy that doesn’t help people who get lung cancer.

      I’m a bible-thumping orthodox Christian, I want an insurance policy that doesn’t help gays unless they promise to enter a healing program that will cure them.

      I live in Iowa, I want an insurance policy that doesn’t cover victims of hurricanes, why are they so stupid to live on the coast anyway?

      Ridiculous, isn’t it?

      • Bender

        It is a sad day when freedom is called ridiculous.

        If those are the insurance policies you want, why should you not be free to have them? Why are you so quick to hand over freedom to the government?

        • Bender

          What people do in the privacy of their bedrooms is none of my business. NONE. Including it being none of my business to pay for it.

          And what insurance policies that I might wish to enter into with a health insurer is none of your business or the business of government.

    • doodly

      I don’t know where to start, that’s a whacked comment on so many levels.

  • Bender

    Of course, thankfully, this being Virginia, dictator-wannabe-Favola’s plan will go absolutely nowhere.

    • doodly

      You think so? The General Assembly just recently passed a law mandating health insurance coverage of autism treatment. This is hardly outside the realm of possibility.l

  • c

    I believe insurers should “cover” birth control for women, but see no reason for it to be provided for free. I think $10 – $20 a month for a pack of pills is reasonable. I think the type of birth control should be specified. I have to believe that oral contraceptives cost less money than some of the other products on the market.

    As to choosing insurance with coverage, that implies every employer offers a type of insurance with such coverage. Some employers offer a very limited selection.

    • Anon

      Some people, for a variety of health reasons, can’t take hormonal birth control.

      Also, non-pill methods do not require someone remember to take it the same time everyday. So its more effective for the irresponsible people you really don’t want having an unplanned child.

      Honestly, the pill is actually pretty expensive (and reoccurring cost) w/o insurance. IUDs are a one time fee.

  • novasteve

    If you’re too irresponsible, and given the number of abortions there are in this country, merely having the pill, and taking it, will not prevent pregnancies unless you take it at the same time, every day….. If anything someone who irresponsibly takes it will be more likely to get pregnant.

  • ArlingtonDweller


    I will not pay for this.

    • God

      Free abortions for all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • CMo

    The “freedom” to contract for tailor-made insurance policies misses the basic way that insurance operates. The insurance companies bet that the costs they will bear, when spread among a wide range of the population, will be less than the premiums collected from that same wide range of people. On that basis, we as a society can’t have these wildly restrictive policies – because they won’t spread the risk. People get coverage because we spread the risk among a large group. The majority of the group doesn’t make claims because they don’t need to – but has the comfort of the ability to make a claim if the unexpected happens.

    • Bender

      In other words, what you are saying is — “no freedom for you!”

      Like I said, thankfully this is Virginia.

      Besides, a person’s natural and healthy fertility is not a “disease” for which one needs medical treatment to get rid of.

  • leftieS

    I heard that a group of physicians Tuesday advised the United States Department of Health that all insurance plans should cover contraception for all females. If the recommendation is implemented, it could mean 1 less concern for females struggling to make do in the tough economy. I found this here: Birth control could become free for all health plans This could gain controversy for sure.


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