Rick Santorum Claims Lack Of Insurance Coverage Would Not Deny Women Access To Birth Control

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told CNN's Wolf Blitzer last week that birth control is cheap and therefore should not be covered by insurance plans: In an interview with CNN on Friday, Santorum also defended his opposition to
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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told CNN's Wolf Blitzer last week that birth control is cheap and therefore should not be covered by insurance plans:

In an interview with CNN on Friday, Santorum also defended his opposition to requiring employers and insurers to cover contraception by asserting that birth control is “inexpensive” and therefore should not be subject to a government mandate -- a claim that, in the backdrop of a fall campaign, could be a target for liberal-leaning groups representing women of modest means or living in poverty. [...]

“This is the federal government using the power of coercion to force an employer to pay for things that are morally objectionable to that employer,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We're not talking about a $10,000 procedure here. We're talking about something that is an inexpensive drug. And the idea that somehow the government even has to insure this … make(s) a mockery out of the issue of insurance.”

The cost of birth control, Santorum further argued, “is not going to threaten anybody’s financial stability.… This is a president trying to impose his values, rolling over religious liberty, and in the case of the [Catholic] archdiocese, rolling over the freedom of speech.”

This Sunday on Meet the Press, Santorum again denied that refusing to cover the cost of birth control in insurance plans was going to mean that women would be denied access to the drugs and used some hapless Democrats who are scared to death of the Catholic bishops for cover.

Naturally we got no push back from David Gregory telling Santorum that he and anyone else who agrees with him are just dead wrong when they say costs are not a factor in women having access to birth control.

Santorum also repeated these same sort of remarks at CPAC over the weekend and Think Progress has more on that here -- Santorum: Birth Control Is Not Something ‘You Need Insurance For’ Because It Costs ‘Just A Few Dollars’:

Rick Santorum told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this morning that insurance plans shouldn’t cover contraception services because birth control “costs a few dollars” and is only a “minor expense” for women: [...]

In reality, oral contraceptives or “The Pill” range between $35 and $250 for the initial provider visit and the cost of a monthly supply of pills ranges between $15 and $50 a month, which amounts to between $180 and $600 a year depending on woman’s medical coverage. This means some women without insurance coverage for contraception may pay over $850 the first year of their prescription. Other forms of birth control are far more expensive. For instance, the cost for a monthly supply of birth control patches ranges from $15 to $80 dollars, or between $180 and $960 a year. Combined with the doctors visit, uninsured women could spend over $1,200 dollars in the first year.

As I've said before, it really is shameful we're even having this discussion in the year 2012 and if this is really what these people want to run on... again, good luck with that. You're going to need it.

Transcript below the fold.

GREGORY: Let's talk about this birth control fight and the direct question. You just heard the White House chief of staff. Is this a debate that you want to have in the course of the campaign as he would frame it, to deny women access to birth control in this country?

SANTORUM: No one's denying them access to birth control. This is, this is outrageous. I mean, the, the bottom line is that you have the federal government now saying we're going to give you a right and then saying, by the way, we're going to tell you how to exercise that right. We're going to control you, a religious, a church-affiliated group as to, you know, what you provide to your employee. And if you don't like it, tough, because our rights, our right to tell you what to do trumps your deeply held convictions about what your dollars should be spent for. And the idea that you can have the insurance company, and by the way, many and--of--a large number of Catholic social service providers are self-insured, and so the self-insured is the insurance company, they're going to be forced to still provide. So there's no compromise here. They're forcing religious organizations, either directly or indirectly, to pay for something that they find is a deeply, morally, morally, you know, wrong thing. And this is not what the government should be doing.

And this is not just Rick Santorum talking. You've got a lot of Democrats, you've got a lot of liberals who are, who are just aghast that this president's going to take on a fight of saying government will force you to do things that are against your conscience.

GREGORY: Do you think this is a public health issue for women? I've heard you say before you think contraception is dangerous.

SANTORUM: Well, I--what I've talked about it with respect is my Catholic faith, which, you know, I, I agree with the Catholic Church on the issue of contraception. But as you know, I mean, I--that's, that's a different position than I have with respect to public policy. You know, public policy, women should have access to contraception. I have no problem with that at all. The question is whether some religious organization should be forced to pay for something that they believe is a moral wrong, and the issue is--the answer to that is no. And under the Obama administration policy they are continuing to be forced to do so.

GREGORY: You talk about this in broader terms, as I brought up with Mr. Lew, the idea that a lot of conservatives have that this is beyond the religious freedom issue but this is what happens when government makes healthcare decisions. That's your argument and the argument of others. You've talked about this in terms of why you believe the president is dangerous, that re-electing the, the president would unmask some sort of hidden plan that he has for the second term. This is what you said recently on Fox News.

(Videotape, Tuesday)

SANTORUM: I suspect that it will be backed down here rather shortly, but it's a lesson learned of what this president would do if he's got another term and he doesn't have to worry about re-election.

(End videotape)

GREGORY: What is that secret plan that you're, you're so worried about? And is that not just hyperbole and demagoguery?

SANTORUM: It's not secret at all. I mean, the president went out and, and promoted, at the time he was promoting Obamacare, a program of cap and trade where he wants to control and literally control people's availability to, to use energy in this country and, and charge you for that energy in a, in a way that, again, that the government decides the allocation of these resources. The president's agenda is very, very clear. He believes, as, as someone who's, who's smarter than everybody else, that they should make decisions for you and that whether it's health care, whether it's Dodd-Frank and having this consumer protection board that's going to go out and tell people what kind of loans they're going to get, who's going to qualify, who's not, this is government taking over choices from people.

Even if you look at the Medicare system, which we may be talking about. I mean, the idea that, you know, Ron Wyden and, and Paul Ryan come together and say, look, we're going to give Medicare recipients choices as to what is best for them. And President Obama says, oh, you give people choices, that's throwing people off a cliff. We need to make those decisions for them. We're the ones who should decide what kind of health care everybody should have. It is a top down, I--that government knows best attitude, and it's, and it's reaching more and more places in people's lives.

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