G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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If you are a man who favors governmental control of health insurance i.e. ObamaCare, you are a fool. You are second in line – the men of the Titanic.
Women won in Washington this week. [ed: when was the last time they lost?] The Obama administration’s decision to protect the birth control coverage benefit that is part of health care reform will have a real and direct impact on millions of Americans [ed: correction – Americans who are women] –who will now have insurance that covers birth control without deductibles or co-pays. This will save women who use oral contraceptives about $15 to $50 a month, adding up to hundreds of dollars a year–and even more for those that need access to longer acting methods, like IUDs, which can cost up to $800. [ed: further correction; American women who have sex and thus require BC will save money]
For women in America, this is a watershed moment. The birth control coverage benefit is one of the most important breakthroughs for women’s health care in a generation. Birth control will be treated like any other preventive prescription, and it will be more accessible than it’s ever been.
Basically, ‘pro-choice’ is the right for women to decide whether their pregnancy is an illness or a healthful going concern. Oh the power. This is quite unlike any other affliction like, say, the flu where only a sadist would not want to rid her body of the virus. Pregnancy is also quite unlike the flu or most other sicknesses over which we have limited control. The progressive-liberal frame on this issue is that non-sex is a non-option. They assume sex must occur which could lead to pregnancy, the cost of which society would be forced to deal.
The Obama administration reached this decision after hearing from major medical societies, patient advocates, members of Congress, and, most importantly, regular Americans who disagreed with efforts to undermine the birth control benefit.
The emboldened text confirms the worst fears of those who opposed Obama’s governmental overreach: that the executive branch can reach a decision about the economics of private health insurers. As Julian Sanchez noted back in August when this plan was first preached from on High:
As some note, it’s possible that providing birth control would end up reducing costs on net by reducing the number of policyholder pregnancies. It’s somewhat doubtful to me whether this occurs when the copay is *zero* as opposed to merely relatively low. But in any event, I’d expect the insurers to be adequately motivated to find the right figure without a mandate.
He’s right. Insurance companies would have a profit motive to figure out the best price point for birth control co-pay and wellness exam deductibles. Everyone rails against insurance companies for their greed and their cunning; why do we now sell short the idea that they can read an actuarial table?
As usual, the frame is political. A zero dollar co-pay is a political win – an energy we can absorb through Richards’ celebratory article. She’s a proponent of what I call the “get shit for free” culture which is mostly populated by liberals and progressives. Paying one red cent is still too much; these people want a moral victory which requires them to not pay anything for their goods and services. And, in their minds, if they aren’t paying for it then it’s a non-cost.
Sanchez is also correct here:
I mean, I understand why (employed, insured) women in their 20s and 30s might be personally pleased about the short-term drop in their expenses, but looked at more broadly, it’s just a large predictable cost that’s going to need to get baked into premiums. (The very poor, needless to say, are also most likely to be uninsured.) It just means the cost is now shared between women who do use it and those who don’t. I guess that’s nice for the women who use it, but I’m not sure why it’s necessary or, for that matter, fair.
A zero dollar co-pay and zero dollar deductible merely shifts the cost to those who don’t require birth control i.e. men. Everyone is paying for the health of the few. The risks taken on by youngish women are spread across the entire insurance pool. Of course, that’s what insurance is, – the pooling of risk – but this sex-specific risk-sharing is essentially sexist in nature. Only women benefit from this government mandate.
The added irony to it all, as I’ve mentioned before, is that the risk is spread across society, yet individual women still retain the right to do whatever they want with their bodies. If health care is perceived as a right, then women are determining if they need health care. But rightful health care, as it is normally thought of and presented by liberals, are those things that are outside of our control. Take smokers: these people make a choice of what to do with their body, and they generally pay higher premiums for their health insurance. They pay deductibles and co-pay on their medications and doctors visits. Not that they deserve a mandated risk share either, but why the double-standard?
Erin Gloria Ryan of Jezebel is clear about what this means for women:
In the meantime, enjoy this delicious bit of victory over the forces of stupidity and plan how you’ll spend the money you’d otherwise use for your monthly birth control copay. Something cool, like a new book or running shoes or candy? Or something practical, like your 401K or nipple tassels? The choice is yours.