The Clinton Administration Opposed A “Political” Contraceptive Mandate

October 13th, 2014

From the Clinton Archives, we see that the Administration considered, but rejected, the idea of requiring employers to provide contraceptives to their employees, as it would make coverage decisions “political”:

In June 1998, Clinton’s advisers recommended that the administration support a proposal requiring contraceptive coverage for federal employees. But what about a proposal to require all employers to offer birth control coverage? With memories fresh of the collapse of the health overhaul pushed by Hillary Clinton, that was a step too far.

“Be silent” on that point, says a memorandum from advisers Bruce Reed and Chris Jennings.

“The health policy community usually opposes mandating particular benefits for fear that coverage decisions will become political rather than substantive and, in most cases, will add to the cost of health insurance,” the memo says. “We generally agree with the policy community on this point, and worry that if we go down this road any further, we will find it difficult to oppose benefits mandates that are politically popular but poor policy.”