Contact: Josh Silberberg
LOS ANGELES - Hadassah Southern California (HSC) President Michelle Conwisar and Hadassah National President Rhoda Smolow released the following joint statement today on the introduction of AB 2781 by California Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks. The bill would require every health care service plan contract or health insurance policy that is issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2021, to provide coverage for the treatment of infertility and remove an existing exclusion of in vitro fertilization (IVF) from coverage.
“Hadassah members across California and nationwide thank Assemblywoman Wicks for her leadership around infertility and urge the California State Legislature to put patients first by passing this crucial legislation. Existing policies, which support a multi-billion-dollar for-profit industry, have reserved access to doctors, medications and other treatment options, including IVF, for the privileged few. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Mandating coverage and removing the exclusion for IVF will greatly expand access, lead to better health outcomes and reduce costs. Nobody should assume massive debt to treat a disease in or be driven to risker health decisions in order to keep costs down.”
The bill’s introduction comes just weeks after more than a dozen HSC members, led by Domestic Advocacy Chair Stacey Dorenfeld, flew to Sacramento for meetings with 15 legislators as part of Hadassah’s Date with the State program. Hadassah’s interest in expanding access to infertility treatment was a focal point of the late-January meetings and Dorenfeld, who is also Hadassah’s national state advocacy co-chair, has also been in regular communication with Assemblywoman Wick’s office in the lead-up to the bill’s introduction.
Follow-up meetings at the state capitol that had been scheduled for April to help ensure progress on the bill will be rescheduled after the threat of COVID-19 has subsided.
An estimated 12 million men and women are affected by infertility in the United States.
The Jewish community is disproportionately affected by infertility, which is classified as a disease by the American Medical Association and World Health Organization.
In July 2019, Hadassah members passed a policy statement affirming “that insurance coverage for infertility treatments – like maternity care – should be an essential health benefit” and calling upon “policymakers to expand access to and reduce the financial burden of infertility screenings and treatments.”
Hadassah has recognized recent legislative progress in Colorado and Mississippi, and is presently reviewing bills in several other states for inclusion in its advocacy efforts, which are continuing during the national emergency through virtual meetings and by phone and email. To read Hadassah’s policy statement on infertility, please click here. To read AB 2781, please click here.
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA) is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With 300,000 members, associates and supporters Hadassah brings Jewish women together to effect change and advocate on critical issues such as women’s health equity and the security of Israel. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's two hospitals, the world-renowned trauma center and the leading research facility in Jerusalem, Hadassah supports the delivery of exemplary patient care to over a million people every year. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace” through equality in medical treatment. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org.