North Dakota Legislators Weigh Cost
BISMARCK – The North Dakota State House defeated a bill Thursday that would have required the Public Employees Retirement System board to provide fertility treatment for public employees.
House Bill 1146 requires the PERS board to provide coverage for the diagnosis, treatment, and standard preservation services of fertility for public employees if medically necessary. After two years the data would be collected for a study of the cost if the mandate would be placed on the private market. The fiscal note projected a $13.6 million cost this biennium. The bill received a Do Not Pass recommendation from its committee.
Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Dis. 38, Minot, said he doesn’t think the study would be accurate as public employees have an older average age than private employees. There are also more private employees than public employees in North Dakota, he said.
“Open-ended mandates are not good public policy, especially when the state bears the cost and not those using the services,” said Ruby.
Rep. Austen Schauer, R-Dis. 13, West Fargo, said the desire to build a family is one of the most basic human aspirations.
“We want people of reproductive age in North Dakota to receive care, guided by relevant and state of the art medical expertise,” said Schauer. “HB1146 gives data to the next legislative body on the financial impact of expanded infertility coverage.
Schauer added that most infertility is treated with medication and is not expensive.
Some representatives expressed concern over state funds possibly going toward the freezing of embryos.
The bill failed by a vote of 54 to 39.