Senator Mikulski’s amendment is a benefit mandate. Here is some key text from the amendment:

“… coverage shall, at a minimum provide coverage for and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements for …

(4) with respect to women, such additional preventive care and screenings not described in paragraph (1) as provided for in comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration for purposes of this paragraph.”

This is a Congressionally-mandated benefit as determined by an Executive Branch bureaucracy. As Senator Mikulski said when introducing the amendment:

The essential aspect of my amendment is that it guarantees women access to lifesaving preventive services and screenings. … It does it by getting rid of, or minimizing, high copays and high deductibles that are often overwhelming hurdles for women to access screening programs.

Of course no elected official wants to vote against an amendment that appears to help women get access to preventive services and screenings.

Is it the government’s job to determine this? Do you want your health insurance benefits and copayments to be determined by a combination of officials from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, and Members of Congress? Or would you prefer to have a range of options when you buy insurance? Should health insurance benefits one-size-fits all?

Does your view change when the chiropractors muster the political power to get their benefits mandated? I saw it happen in the 90’s.

Remember also that each mandated benefit, especially with low or no cost-sharing, raises insurance premiums for everyone.