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Shannon Koehle: Proposed Legislation Could Reverse Upward Costs of Birth Control

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Legislation implemented by Congress last year has unintentionally increased the cost of birth control at colleges and universities throughout the country.

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 was a legislation intended to affect Medicaid alone. However, the passing of this act prevented schools from purchasing birth control from pharmaceutical companies at a reduced price.

Now Congress has a new legislation on the table aimed at reversing the increased prescriptions costs for students – Prevention Through Affordable Access.

Backed by a bipartisan group of Congressman, both Democrats and Republicans alike are working to once again lower the cost of birth control for all state colleges and universities.

As New York Congressman Joseph Crowley stated in a November 2007 press release on this issue, “Legislation that was implemented this year has had a severe unintentional consequence. It included a provision that is now preventing all college clinics and hundreds of safety net healthcare providers from purchasing birth control from drug companies at an extremely discounted rate.”

This birth control price increase is hurting students and school health clinics alike.

Arizona State University freshman Lindsay Standifer says it’s “ridiculous” this new legislation has not yet passed.

“They didn’t fix that yet?” she says. “I guess they don’t care about it very much. It’s obviously not that important to them.”

With just two weeks remaining in the current Congress session, many are awaiting to hear whether the legislation reversing this unintentional action will be implemented.

ASU student Hillary Wade says, this legislation would benefit many students. “It would make it easier for girls,” she says.
Wade is not currently using birth control but says, “I probably would if it was cheaper.”

ASU, which was previously under clinical pricing, was forced to raise the price of all brand name birth control prescriptions.

ASU Pharmaceutical Manager at Student Health Services Eric Anger says, “Birth control prices have risen at least 50% across the board, if not more.”

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