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OPINION | HHS Secretary Could 'Easily' Fix 'Glitch' That Led to Higher Contraceptive Prices at College Clinics, Editorial Says

OPINION | HHS Secretary Could 'Easily' Fix 'Glitch' That Led to Higher Contraceptive Prices at College Clinics, Editorial Says
[Nov. 26, 2007]

"It's hard to avoid the suspicion" that the federal government has an "underlying reluctance" to "mak[e] contraceptives" affordable to young college women, a Los Angeles Times editorial says. According to the editorial, a "glitch" in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 that "used such broad wording" that it "precluded legitimate charitable sales to university clinics and many family planning clinics that treat the uninsured working poor" resulted in higher prices or discontinued sales of contraceptives at such clinics.

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt could "easily fi[x]" the situation "simply by defining these clinics as part of the medical 'safety net' entitled to discount prices, but so far he's declined to do so," the editorial says. "Restoring the discounts for these clinics wouldn't cost the taxpayer -- though taxpayers might end up picking up the high cost of unintended pregnancies if women cannot afford contraception," the editorial says, adding that congressional approval of a bill (HR 4054) that would restore the discounts, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), is the "slower, klutzier way" to resolve the issue (Los Angeles Times, 11/24).