Minessota Increases Access to Affordable Contraception

New legislation that will lower contraception costs went into effect this week in Minnesota.

Since 2003, the cost of contraceptives has skyrocketed for family-planning clinics, forcing them to pass those costs on to their clients. In turn, higher prices have decreased the number of family-planning clinic patients — and, presumably, the number of women using effective birth-control methods.
[. . .]
Lawmakers voted to allow family-planning clinics to buy contraceptives through cooperative purchasing agreements that will lower their costs. Previously, clinics negotiated with pharmaceutical companies on their own, often placing orders that were too small to receive the best prices.
Now, the commissioner of human services must work with clinics to adjust medical assistance reimbursement rates to adequately cover the costs.
Clinics will be able to get the same per-unit price for contraceptives and other clinic supplies that are available to the state. In other words, clinics can now join the state drug plan.

This is great news! This is going to tremendously assist non-profit reproductive health clinics like Planned Parenthood in providing more and better services. And there’s no question that it’s a great thing for low-income women who have trouble staying on birth control regimes due to cost.
Even better, the law also allows nurses to dispense contraception under the supervision of a medical director. This too has the ability to greatly improve and expand services at clinics with tight budgets (almost all of them), and there’s really no reason to not have it as an option. The woman I see for my OB/GYN appointments is a registered nurse, and my experiences with her are some of the best I’ve ever had in receiving medical care.
Let’s all tip our hats to Minnesota legislators for looking out for women. Let’s also hope that, in states where it hasn’t already, the idea will start to catch on.

Join the Conversation

  • Ann

    This is such great news!

  • Xana

    I love my state.

  • Maggie

    “Land of the Sodomite Damned” sounds like something I’d watch for Bad Movie Night.
    Go Minnesota!

  • Erica B

    Hey, me too… I have a CNM (certified nurse midwife) for OB/GYN care — essentially, same as RN — and it’s incredibly simple and easy. If there’s anything complicated (which there never has been) she can escalate me to her supervisor MD, but for straightforward things like a pap smear or birth control, who needs the hassle?
    Expanding options and availability is always a good idea. Hope this spreads…

  • E. Clarissa

    Yes, major props to Minnesota! It was a great state to grow up in.
    I’ve been worried about the state of the State in the past few years, but it’s good to know that Minnesota still cares for folks in need (it’s not perfect, I know, but it’s pretty darn decent).

  • Pup, MD

    Erica, don’t sell your midwife short. Getting certification to be a CNM basically requires coursework equivalent to a master’s in addition to being an RN. I’m not sure why it’s not a formal masters program, because that’s pretty similar to what it is functionally.
    Yay midwives.

  • m_m_ides

    That is excellent news. I was just tossing and turning, unable to sleep, and somehow my mind turned to Gonzales v. Carhart. It got me all riled up (not helping the insomnia). So I got up to read and saw this and now I can hopefully sleep tonight knowing that not everyone wants to punish women for having sex. Good for Minnesota.
    PS Anything that brings the wrath of Fred Phelps has to be good for the rest of the world.

  • http://badasses.wordpress.com judgesnineteen

    I kinda wish I lived in Minnesota so I could use that slogan. Maybe I’ll start a Facebook group and call it “I want MY land to be the Land of the Sodomite Damned!”

  • ouyangdan

    YEA! i am from michigan (but living in hawaii for military obligations…so i am slightly out of the loop) and i can only hope that the rest of the mighty midwest can follow suit and take the lead! it gives me hope to see a state take a great stand!

  • Linnaeus

    It’s good to see Minnesota still carrying the torch – at least in one way – of Midwestern progressive politics.
    (Yes, there is such a thing.)

  • http://www.acatandtwenty.blogspot.com kate.d.

    just FYI, there’s also movement afoot to try to use existing state fair employment laws to ensure that all insurance providers in the state cover contraceptives.
    go MN!

  • http://www.arhp.org BethR

    Incredible news! Congrats to MN and all of the hardworking activists who made this happen! My organization (Association of Reproductive Health Professionals) is most excited to be hosting our annual meeting with you this fall in Minneapolis.
    On that note, if any of you MN feminists knows anyone with some photography skills, we need you! We don’t have much (any!) budget dollars for this, but would gladly offer a comp registration to what promises to be a fascinating event to anyone interested in reproductive health. We don’t need anything too technical – here are some pictures from last year to give you an idea of what we are looking for – http://www.arhp.org/rh2006/index.cfm.
    Here is the information for this year’s conference http://www.arhp.org/rh2007/index.cfm, which will be September 26-29 in Minneapolis. Please send any potential photographers my way at brobbins(at)arhp.org. Thanks! Beth