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California Bill Would Require Health Insurance to Provide Maternity Coverage

The California Assembly was scheduled to vote on a bill this past Wednesday that would require all individual health insurance plans to include maternity benefits. The measure was sponsored by state Senator Jackie Speier (D), and would affect 354,000 Californians who do not get their health insurance through group plans provided by an employer, and who also did not buy maternity coverage, according to the Los Angeles Times. The legislation has been publicly supported by Planned Parenthood Federation of America as well as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, reports the Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report. Their justification is that while both women and men benefit from cheaper premiums by opting out of maternity coverage, only women can be forced to pay maternity expenses of an unexpected pregnancy, according to the Sacramento Bee. Though Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has not officially taken a position, his insurance advisor, Scott Reid, opposes the bill. If signed into law, this bill would make California the first state to require health insurance to provide maternity coverage, the Sacramento Bee reports. JOIN the Feminist Majority

Sources:

Los Angeles Times 8/18/04; Sacramento Bee 8/18/04; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 8/19/04

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