Pam Bucy has a guest editorial in the Missoulian today in which she proudly recounts how she fought, as Deputy Attorney General, for women’s prescription drug coverage, a benefit that insurance companies once denied. She writes:
Contraception has not always been a partisan or gendered issue. In 1970, Republicans and Democrats, women and men, worked together to pass landmark legislation establishing Title X. Signing the bill, President Richard Nixon stated, “It is my view that no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.”
When Bucy first took up the fight, Viagra and male pattern baldness medication were both covered by insurance companies, while birth control–a prescription 99% of women use–was not.
In March 2006, then-President of the Montana Senate Jon Tester requested an opinion from Attorney General Mike McGrath, specifically asking if this exclusion of contraception violated Montana statute. As McGrath’s chief deputy attorney general, I researched and wrote the opinion that ended gender discrimination in insurance purchasing by mandating insurance companies cover contraception if they covered prescription drugs. While these are basic services, at the time this provision was unique to Montana and broke ground in providing unprecedented access for women to contraception.
Please realize, too, that insurance industry lobbyists are donating to Bucy’s opponent. These lobbyists killed legislative anti-discrimination measures in three straight sessions: 2001, 2003 and 2005.