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News -- the president -- now talking about this country shut that contraception and I'm mandate that would require religious groups to offer birth control of two for free to their workers.
And there's a little bit of a shift period that the president just announced that it's not going to be the employers themselves -- the insurance companies.
That will provide that free access to those free services.
We're joined by health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius and I secretaries today's nice to have you on such a busy day.
Thanks -- nice to be with you let's talk a little bit about this mandate because the president just outlined why it's so important for the White House to stand behind this mandate and this week we've moved from.
From having that free contraception and paid for by employers.
Buy insurance companies but if this is so important.
And why isn't the government could.
Footing the bill for all -- it.
Well -- this is part of the Affordable Care Act and our direction to develop.
Set of benefits for women for preventive services knowing that it's more cost effective to prevent illness spend too.
The institute of medicine scientists recommended a full range of services from.
Domestic violence screening to contraception and we've set from the beginning this is so critical to women's health 99%.
Of American women use contraception.
At some point in their lives and -- -- too many women struggle to pay for it so with an insurance plan.
This will do two things women will have access to a full range of preventive services without.
Co pays without deductibles that as a core principle regardless of where she works or her spouse's or hurt.
Children aren't they we'll have these core benefits on the other hand we want to respect the religious freedom and have.
And entities that have the religious objections to contraception.
I'm not have to violate their principles so we think this is a very workable solution where insurance companies will offer this benefit.
Directly to employees we know it saves money in the long run well I -- -- Parents plan not a -- that you mentioned the point of affordability.
I had to help -- being so important let's talk a little bit about affordability.
Because we know that nothing is ever really free right when we -- things and being free so if insurance companies have to offer.
Birth control for free.
Then oftentimes they have to raise the price and other things to compensate for those losses so.
That can often pass on some of those costs to consumers and how concerned are you in this this time we're in the economy.
That this is a risk that could pass on further burden to American family.
I think that's a very legitimate and question but what we now.
That national business council on health.
As looked at this are actuaries have looked at it and in this instance contraception actually saves money in an insurance -- providing this coverage actually reduces.
The overall cost of the pool so there really is in this instance.
They know -- strategy where.
Employers do not have to pay for this coverage if they have religious objections they don't have to.
Offer the coverage if they have objections but women will have access to this incredibly important.
Health benefit if women had to buy it on their own it could be up to 600 dollars a year.
If there and try.
It did it for this separately out of quite a bit of that and power if you will flatten the better word with the insurance companies and how they think bill.
This mandate -- -- you -- -- insurance companies you have to provide birth control pills in the insurance companies say.
All right we're gonna offer one pill one brand for free.
And that's that's all that the consumer -- is that really -- -- that we should consider here when it comes to choosing the type of care and treatment that you want.
Well the recommended benefit according to the institute of medicine is the full range of contraception -- the FDA has approved.
We well at the Department of Health and Human Services work closely with insurers to make sure that that.
Is -- and that women have access to this incredibly important.
Used to benefit we know that women.
Contraceptives as the most frequently taken drugs from the age of about fourteen to 44.
It's often missing from insurance plan so they're paying.
Hundreds of dollars out of -- this is a huge step forward.
For the health of American women in Kenya apparently wanted to -- that promise and just taking you guaranteed then that the premiums for -- for health -- will not go live.
Because insurance companies have to offer this for free for everyone.
Well what we now have -- oversight.
From the Department of Health and Human Services looking at insurance -- and again actuaries.
-- -- -- on health has documented very clearly that.
This actually lowers the cost of -- so we'll be watching this.
Carefully literature that women have the benefits that they need to keep themselves healthy.
To keep their families healthy and that.
We respect the religious objections.
A group of employers.
So there's if there's a broader question here -- that has come to the surface with his debate as well.
It is the role of government so that it in the health care law the government has decided to offer this service for free.
Is the opposite also true so.
The government can offers service for free but also decide that other services are limited are not available.
Actually the government hasn't decided to offer this service for free this is part of a package of preventive benefits -- the Lott has said.
Should be offered to customers.
With no co pay and no.
Deductibles to make sure that there aren't financial barriers to getting a mammogram -- getting colon cancer screening getting your kids immunized.
Or in this case getting contraception.
What we now all of them looking at this specific benefit is that it actually -- in an insurance pool.
Lowers the overall cost doesn't increase them so in this case we're saying.
This is a kind of win win situation where employers.
Don't have to pay for coverage.
Don't have to refer coverage and don't have to offer coverage if they have objections.
On the other hand we know with this benefit contraception.
Which lowers costs insurers and can offer it to their customers free of charge to reach out to the women's of the women get advantage of that.
Mandated benefit they have an opportunity to make their own decisions about whether or not to access contraception.
A final -- -- made by -- -- -- a final question for you and we appreciate the timing of this is unprecedented law.
With the next pass through the congress and with unprecedented speed and now we're at the point where we're implementing a lots of things are coming up and how exactly do this.
Are we surprised.
By the controversy that -- Mercer did this catch you off guard and and you look down the road to further implementation what do you see on the horizon that could present a challenge like this.
Well actually Jana what I think and again you -- -- to understand this spent 28 states in the country over half of the states in the country have.
A law that requires contraception as a mandatory part of an insurance plan and -- allows many of them have been in place since the early ninety's as some have religious and exemption some have no exemptions whatsoever so what we're trying to do is is do -- balance between.
-- religious freedom and the very important step forward for women's health services -- lots of insurance plans right now -- don't offer.
The benefits that women need and it's still legal until the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented to charge women a lot more for their coverage and enforced and the pay for.
The services they need -- -- pockets so this is a huge step forward for women across America and and we think it's -- it's a very good.
Balance to make sure women get this important health benefit it.
It seems that this story will continue its its highly political highly personally talked about how -- care.
And secretary Sebelius is nice that needed dated to work you can get them to look for to have you back thank you good -- -- -- We have another.
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