Sen Kyl: “I Don’t Need Maternity Care Coverage…”, Sen. Stabenow: “But Your Mother Did”

Ah, a lovely moment as the Senate subcommittee on Finance debates an amendment that would allow the federal government to define what kinds of health care services are included in private insurance coverage.

According to The Wonk Room

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) argued, “I don’t need maternity care, and so
requiring that to be in my insurance policy is something that I don’t
need and will make the policy more expensive.”

To which Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) remarks, "I think your mother probably did." 

Why is Senator Kyl arguing against including pregnant women in his health care plan? 

The Wonk Room notes,

"Kyl’s amendment would prohibit the government from defining which
benefits should be included in a standard benefit package and would
permit health insurance companies to design policies that exclude
higher-cost beneficiaries.
"[emphasis mine]

So, once again, we are to sit back while legislators and insurance company executives decide that women are just too darned expensive to cover in health care plans if we want to make our own personal decision to get pregnant and have a baby, experience childbirth with the provider of our choice, make the best decision about how one should birth, in consultation with a doctor.  I will say that the health care reform process has been extremely enlightening as it relates to maternal health care. 

Are you a woman who has had a prior or currently planned c-section? Health insurance denied. Have you been a victim of domestic violence? Denied. Are you simply pregnant? Denied. Want to birth with a midwife? Denied. It certainly feels as if just being a woman has become a pre-existing condition on which basis you are likely to be denied health insurance. 

Read more at The Wonk Room and watch the video here:

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  • jodi-jacobson

    Great post, as always….and so glad you did this.

    I just wanted to add to your list another thing critical to women’s health that members of the far right and many Republicans (and so-called pro-life Democrats) also are trying to eliminate from private coverage through the process of health care reform:

    Abortion care: Today, the majority of women with private insurance have coverage for abortion care.  According to a federally funded study by Guttmacher assessing
    levels of insurance coverage for a wide range of reproductive health

    • 87% of typical employer-based insurance policies
      in 2002 covered medically necessary or appropriate abortions; the data can be found in Table 1 here.

      • Importantly, the 87% of plans that covered abortions did not
        include plans that offered abortion coverage only in very limited
        circumstances (such as rape and incest, or to protect the woman’s
        life). Only a very small number of respondents offered such limited
        coverage, and they were not included in the study’s findings.
      • The
        study queried all large insurers (with at least 100,000 enrollees) and
        a random, nationally representative sample of small insurers.

    All of this comes at a time, as you noted in your post the other day, of women being challenged by the economic crisis to both plan their families and to afford contraception and other preventive care.

    I am beginning to think that the most effective strategy for all of this is in fact to get the mothers’ of all of these Senators on the phone to their sons.



  • crowepps

    Sponsored two constitutional amendments to prohibit abortion WITHOUT exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother.
    Voted YES on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP.
    Voted YES on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion
    Voted YES on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions.
    Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions
    Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives
    Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime
    Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life.
    Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions.
    Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions.
    Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance.

    But requiring insurance companies to provide maternity care? THAT’S not Pro-life, THAT might cost him some money. Pretty funny, considering that he gets FREE health care as a Senator.

  • marysia

    If Kyl is prolife, then he should be the biggest champion of including maternity care in health coverage. for example, my daughter and I are both alive today in large part because I was able to get expenses for my ultra expensive, high risk unplanned pregnancy paid for.

    Yet he would do nothing to help women like me actually exercise our prolife beliefs in regard to our difficult pregnancies. For shame!

    Nonviolent Choice Directory,

  • equalist

    Prostate exams, coverage for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, impotence, or any other men’s health issues. If we can cut out funding for maternity care and women’s health issues, does that mean we get to cut out funding for solely men’s health issues as well? Let’s see how much the good senator likes paying for his little blue pills out of pocket, shall we?

    Equal rights, equal responsibilities.

  • lautay6

    My comment is very simple: Kyle needs to step down from office. Hopefully, he will be voted out of office!  I live in AZ and cannot see anything he has done which can be considered of value.