Tinkering with the contraception mandate won’t change its base properties.
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Imagine telling a car owner that he or she also must pay for motorcycle, racecar, and truck coverage. Never mind that the driver doesn’t own any of them. Some far-sighted politician or bureaucrat has decided that this coverage is “necessary” and all must pay. Similar is requiring insurance coverage for maladies and procedures irrespective of the insured’s desires.
Third, insurance for birth control is not insurance. The purpose of insurance is to guard against unexpected and large, even catastrophic, expenditures. That ain’t birth control. Not only is it affordable, even for students who attend Georgetown Law School, but its use is fully under the control of the insured. It is as if auto insurance paid for gasoline fill-ups. Contraception coverage is prepayment of expected medical expenses, expenses that you can increase as much as you want.
Fourth, the push for mandatory coverage is ideological, not medical. The vast majority of plans already cover birth control for the simple reasons that it is widely desired and unplanned pregnancies are expensive. Nor is contraception uniquely important — more vital than mammograms, chemotherapy, colonoscopies, heart bypass operations, and much, much more. If birth control should be free, then surely everything else should be free as well. Why make patients pay for any treatment?
Fifth, making contraceptive coverage truly “free” is impossible. Someone has to pay. Contrary to the apparent assumption of many policymakers, birth control products do not magically appear ex nihilo. Someone has to create, produce, market, and sell them. Which means that someone has to be paid by someone else. If not the patient, then who?
The administration has shifted, not eliminated, costs. Thus, everyone under a plan covering contraceptives will pay for the benefit, even if they do not use them, never intend to use them, and are morally opposed to using them. That may be a good deal for the person who wants contraception, but not for the rest of us.
At least this makes more sense than the administration rule, which says insurance companies have to pay for the coverage. If they can’t charge specifically for birth control, they will treat coverage like an administrative expense. Either all plans offered to religious organizations or simply all plans for everyone (for the sake of simplicity) will incorporate the cost. Then we all will pay so Washington can satisfy the ideological preferences and financial interests of clamorous political groups.
Sixth, requiring coverage of contraception (as well as abortifacients and sterilization) is worse than other mandates because it violates the conscience of some religious believers. Requiring Catholics and some others to subsidize birth control is a direct assault on their faith. One can argue about the rule’s constitutionality — First Amendment jurisprudence is notoriously complex — but the government should not challenge people’s fundamental moral beliefs without a serious, even compelling justification. There is none for relieving those having sex from paying for contraception. Sex is good, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to pay for those using birth control while engaging in sex.
In short, the administration rule is extraordinarily bad on medical, policy, and moral grounds. It can only be explained as being directed not for those who use birth control but against those who oppose using birth control. It is about power and control. That is, advocates want to force Catholics and others to pay for contraception as a matter of (malign) principle. It makes Schadenfreude the basis for the U.S. Code.
There is much to dislike about Obamacare. Top of the list should be the arrogant presumption that Washington knows our treatment needs better than the rest of us. Choosing our own medical destinies should be our real “right” to health care.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?