Arizona Law Reveals How Playing Up Non-Pregnancy-Related, Medical Use of Contraception Can Backfire
A common argument in the debate over contraception coverage is that contraceptives aren’t only used to prevent pregnancy–there are numerous other medical treatments that involve the Pill, from acne treatment up to PCOS and endometriosis. And that’s absolutely true, and a point that needs to be made. But it makes it easy to divide the uses of contraceptives into “legitimate medical condition” and “sluts just want to bone,” hoping that legislators will suck it up and cover the hobags along with the non-slutty, medically needy good girls.
The Arizona legislature, in yet another bid to prove that they’re willing to reach for the stars in the interest of screwing people over, has put paid to that with a bill, currently up for debate, that would allow employers to offer insurance coverage for the good girls but not the hobags–assuming the women in question are willing to put their private medical records up for the judgment of their boss.
Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.
“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”
Yes, we live in America. The land of freedom. Where employers are free to impose their moral judgments on my health care, and I’m free to submit to an executive upskirt if I want to get my endometriosis treated. Where my personal belief–that I should be able to have sex without making a baby, and that the money withheld from my paycheck each month should go to facilitate that–is superseded by my boss’s, because Jesus. (And, since Arizona is an employ-at-will state, where your boss is free to fire you for being a sinful slattern baby-killer. Yay, freedom!)
First of all: My medical history is my business. Whether I have acne or menstrual cramps or PCOS, it isn’t my employer’s concern–in fact, in the U.S., my employer isn’t allowed to stick his head in my medical (lady)business by requiring me to release medical information, beyond my ability to perform the functions of my job.
Second of all: My sexual activities also are my business. Inquiring at work about my sexual activities unequivocally constitutes sexual harassment, making it a condition of medical benefits doubly so, and requiring a doctor’s note to make sure I’m actually sick and not just trying to bone without consequences definitely applies.
Third of all: Hiding all that behind a veil of religious freedom is weird and freaky and really, really disturbing. And inappropriate. And unacceptable.
AZ HB 2625 requires, in subsection Y of section 20-1057.08, that if an insurance contract covers prescription drugs, that coverage must include any prescribed contraceptives; and that if a contract covers outpatient health care services, that coverage must include any outpatient contraceptive services. Subsection B comes behind it to flush it directly down the toilet.
Subsection B of this section does not exclude coverage for prescription contraceptive methods ordered by a health care provider with prescriptive authority for medical indications other than for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion or sterilization purposes. A health care services organization, employer, sponsor, issuer or other entity offering the plan may state religious beliefs in its affidavit that require the enrollee first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the health care services organization along with evidence that the prescription is not in whole or in part for a purpose covered by the objection. A health care services organization may charge an administrative fee for handling claims under this subsection. [emphasis mine]
So here are your steps:
1. Pay for the full price of your prescription out of pocket.
2. Reveal your private medical history to your employer in the hope–not the guarantee, mind you–that said employer will find your use of contraceptives acceptable.
3. Eat the administrative fee for submitting your claim.
4. Cross your fingers. And your legs.