Rep. Price on Sterilization Mandate: ‘Nothing in the World is Free, Except Maybe the Love of Your Family and Friends’

Patrick Burke | March 21, 2012 | 7:36pm EDT
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( - Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) wouldn’t say Wednesday whether he supports a federal mandate created by the Health and Human Services Department requiring that college-age women and others be offered free sterilizations.

“The last time I checked,” Price said, “there wasn’t anything in the world that was free – except maybe the love of your family and friends.”

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Price’s comments came at a Capitol Hill press conference on legislation House Republicans are sponsoring the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created under the Obamacare legislation. asked Price, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee and a physician, this question: “(T)he administration has offered a regulation under the Affordable Care Act that says ‘all women with reproductive capacity’ -- including college age women -- must be offered free sterilization in their health-care plans. Do you support that particular mandate?

Price added: “The fact of the matter is, what we believe is that the federal government ought not be determining the definition of health care or the definition of health coverage or the definition of health quality, because what’s right for you and your family may not be right for me and my family -- or anybody else.

"What we oppose is the president deciding who gets what -- that’s the wrong type of system for America and that’s why we have put forth this piece of legislation in addition to the other proposals that we’ll forward with."

As has reported, the HHS regulation was announced on Friday, Mar. 16, and will be published in the Federal Register on Mar. 21.

"Under the final rule, students will gain the same protections other people with individual market insurance have, like a prohibition on lifetime limits and coverage of preventive services without cost sharing," HHS said in a press release put out late Friday afternoon.

In a request for comments on how the student-health-plan mandate will be implemented, HHS spelled out that its "preventive services" included the same items as the overall mandate--including sterilizations.

"As relevant here, the HRSA Guidelines require coverage, without cost sharing, for '[a]all Food and Drug Administration [(FDA)] approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity,' as prescribed by a provider," said the HHS request for comments.

In announcing the rule for college-based health plans, HHS said it would follow the same system for enforcing the rule on religious colleges and universities that object to purchasing sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients for its students that President Barack Obama has proposed for enforcing the regulation on religious non-profit organizations in the coverage for their employees: The insurer will be forced to provide the sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients to the students free of charge.

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