Yesterday, Senate Democrats, including Colorado's Michael Bennet, introduced a bill that Sen. Cory Gardner should have co-sponsored as well -- at least if you believe what Gardner said during last year's campaign.
Last year, Gardner repeatedly told reporters that oral contraception should be available over the counter -- and be covered by insurance policies.
In one one exchange, Fox 31 Denver's Eli Stokols specifically challenged Gardner to explain how his proposal for over-the-counter birth control could be less expensive than what's offered to women under Obamacare, which requires insurance companies to provide birth control for free.
Stokols: You say it's cheaper... Politifact says that's 'mostly false,' that under the Affordable Care Act, two-thirds of women get their birth control for free.
Gardner: Well, they'd still be able to find an insurance policy and use their insurance to pay for it. That's why we need to fix Obamacare.
That's what the bill introduced by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington would do. It would not only make FDA-approved contraception available over the counter but mandate insurance companies to pay for it, like they're required to do now.
But Gardner's bill, introduced last month, simply allows FDA-approved contraception to be sold over the counter--without requiring insurance plans to cover it. Insurance companies could decide to cover the pill out of their love for women. But not likely.
Or, under Gardner's bill, women could use health savings accounts and flex accounts, if they have them, to buy contraception. But those are savings accounts, set up voluntarily by individuals! They are not the insurance promised by Gardner repeatedly.
Reporters need to go beyond allowing Gardner to write off these real-life concerns as partisan politics.
As Gardner told The Denver Post yesterday: "It's unfortunate they have decided to bring partisanship to an issue that could have brought support on Capitol Hill but we are pleased they are following our lead."
The substantive differences between what Gardner advocated on the campaign trail and what he's offering women now should be spotlighted by reporters who allegedly love to hold elected officials accountable. A comparison o f Murray's birth-control bill versus Gardner's tells you all you need to know about Gardner's failed campaign promises.
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