Law students outraged at DeGioia’s firm stance on health insurance plan

In a statement released last Thursday, Georgetown’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice condemned President John DeGioia for his recent email confirming the unchanging health insurance policy on contraception. Members of LSRJ expressed deep disapproval of the decision, claiming that the university administration had an obligation to meet in person with the students before sending out the email.

“We sincerely hoped that the university would extend us the courtesy of responding to our pleas face-to-face, rather than issuing a blanket, campus-wide email on an issue that affects so many students. Instead, they simply chose not to engage in dialogue with us,” Kelly Percival, law student and co-president of LSRJ, said.

Sandra Fluke, law student and co-president of LSRJ, condemned the decision in the statement as well, mentioning how the health plan led to the loss of her friend’s ovary. DeGioia’s email was a response to a recent petition signed by 700 students and sent to the University demanding contraceptive coverage before the mandated 2013 date.

Full statement below:

“Georgetown LSRJ is deeply disturbed to learn that Georgetown University President John DeGioia has decided not to comply with the final rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requiring comprehensive contraceptive coverage in 2012 student insurance.  Georgetown could have complied by either fully implementing contraceptive coverage themselves or by simply stepping back and letting insurers fulfill their legal duty of providing this critical care to students directly without university involvement or funding.

We believe President DeGioia’s decision is an affront to the health concerns of the Georgetown student body.  Georgetown LSRJ has extensively documented that Georgetown’s current policy does not adequately meet students’ medical needs for contraception.  Sixty-five percent of surveyed students who reported attempting to use the ‘medical need only’ coverage reported barriers to actually receiving insurance reimbursement.  Many students are unable to obtain coverage despite having doctor-verified medical needs such as polycystic ovarian syndrome.  President DeGioia’s retort that students are free to purchase other insurance on the open market exposes a lack of understanding of how financially unfeasible that would be.

Unfortunately, President DeGioia never responded to our April 21 request for a meeting to discuss this critical issue.  Having heard from almost 800 Georgetown University Law Center students and numerous members of the faculty through a campus-wide petition and through individual correspondence, and having been told that additional medical school, graduate, and undergraduate students were preparing petitions, we believe that it is disrespectful that President DeGioia, as the head of our university community, did not at least meet with students who have expressed legitimate and important concerns.  Accordingly, Georgetown LSRJ remains open to a meeting with President DeGioia at any time.

Among our unanswered concerns, President DeGioia has yet to explain how covering contraception for faculty and staff but not for students is consistent with the Jesuit mission of Georgetown.  In order to qualify for the HHS exemption allowing religiously-affiliated universities to delay contraception coverage until 2013, Georgetown must certify that it has a moral objection to contraception coverage.  President DeGioia has yet to explain how Georgetown University plans to certify to the federal government that it has a moral objection to contraception coverage when it has long provided full contraception coverage for faculty and staff, excluding only students.  We hoped to raise these and other issues at our meeting with him.”


11 Comments on “Law students outraged at DeGioia’s firm stance on health insurance plan

  1. epitome of “first world problems”… get your own health plan, or choose at attend a university that provides the pill in its plan. or use a condom. this is a waste of everyones energy.

  2. Epitome of apathy. This is a real issue. Just because it doesn’t affect you, doesn’t mean that it isn’t important.

    No one chooses a university because of it’s healthcare plan. If that were a real determining factor then Georgetown would immediately adopt a plan that recognizes the wants and needs of its student. A plan that more ressembles those offered by our peer institutions.

    Buying an individual healthcare plan in this country is prohibitively expensive. That’s why Georgetown offers a plan to its students.

    Important to note that Georgetown University does not spend a dollar on the healthcare plans. It provides no subsidies to students. Students bear the full cost. If the students want a plan that meets their needs shouldn’t the University allow them to buy one?

    Also, just to note. Family planning is probably a bigger problem in the 3rd world than the first: India, china…. Certainly not just a first world problem.

  3. Honestly most of the rest of the first world isn’t having this debate because they ensure coverage… So it’s really a what the hell is wrong with the United States issue…

  4. Actually, most of the rest of the world isn’t having this debate, because they are fighting for clean water, anti-malarials and other basic services.

    Let’s keep this in perspective.

  5. calm down. he said the rest of the -first- world.

    also, let’s take bets – who else is guessing ‘hoya2011′ and ‘@GC83′ are men?

  6. I would like to think contraception coverage is a “basic service” too… But hey, keep telling me to keep it in perspective (and make sure we read what people write before attacking them!)

  7. Yeah, Men are the worst! Lets grab out torches and pitchforks. Silly boys.

    The language of rights here is troubling. I would agree that people have a right to use contraception. That is, for others to not stop them from using contraception. But it is jumping the gun to think that a right is something we are responsible to provide. i.e. I have the right to free speech, don’t try and stop me. But that doesn’t mean I public speaking lessons are a right, are that having an oral tumor removed is a right.

    Agree, waste of energy. Go make something for Christ’s sake.

  8. Great post! I agree that there is too much emphasis on things that are more luxury type expenses like contraceptives. Other people are worried about trying to compare insurance quotes so they can cover themselves for major surgery or some debilitating illness. Really it should come down to the insurance companies and what they want to cover. Then the market can decide and it will balance out that way.

  9. Georgetown calls itself Catholic, but don’t be fooled, they are not completely Catholic. How can you have Ms. Sebelius the HHS Secretary, speak at a Commencement Ceremony? This woman vetoed a bill that would stop partial birth abortions. I don’t think it’s nice to kill babies. And partial birth abortions are for killing babies in their last trimester. How good can an 8 month old baby look murdered? Among all rights the right to life is the most important. I think Georgetown made a huge mistake by inviting Ms. Sebelius to speak at their institution. So please Georgetown if you don’t like everything the Catholic Church teaches, why don’t you become a secular university where you can preach some of your anti-Catholic views with no problem?

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