Sen. Reid Press Release


December 14, 2000

WASHINGTON U.S. Senator Harry Reid, a congressional author of a law requiring federal health plans to cover contraceptive health care coverage, today praised a ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which found that an employer's failure to provide insurance coverage for prescription contraceptives, when it covers other prescription drugs, constitutes unlawful sex discrimination.

"This ruling is a significant victory for women in America who are unable to get health coverage of critical contraceptive care. I have always said that it is unconscionable that a man can get covered for a prescription like viagra and women can't get coverage for their most fundamental health care needs," Reid said.

"This is an important ruling, but we need to do more," said Reid, a sponsor of S. 1200, the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Act (EPICC). "We need to make sure every American woman gets the health care coverage she deserves by passing our legislation to require all private health plans to cover contraceptives."

EPICC requires that all private insurance plans that provide any prescription drug coverage must include contraceptives in that coverage.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits sex discrimination in employment, including discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical decisions. The EEOC found that the law bars employers covered by Title VII which includes at least 15 employees from excluding prescription contraceptives from their employees health plans when other prescription drugs are covered.

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