Feb 15 2012
Because the more I read the stupidity of most so called "conservative" commenters on the subject of having insurance companies do their job-the angrier I get. If you want yet another example of why America is failing-and stupidity is rampant-go here. If you want yet another reason why I am down on American politics, and remain fundamentally disappointed in the land of my birth's inability to rise to it's potential-this stupid and ignorant argument about contraception is it.
Let's go over the basics again, shall we?
This is not a new rule. It was in effect during the entire Bush administration-actually about 12 years now. And most Catholic hospitals have been complying. In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today—and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees Employers that don’t offer prescription coverage or don’t offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally—but under the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, you can’t offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too.
Instead of re-evaluating its attempt to turn contraception into a wedge issue—after all, Fox News (yes that Fox News) published a poll that found 61% of Americans approve of “requiring employer health plans to cover birth control for women.” —the GOP, led by Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R-Crazytown) has decided to double-down on the War on Women. Blunt has introduced an amendment to the PPACA which would allow employers to deny any preventive health services (including breast cancer screening, depression screening, and diabetes screening), under the guise of religious freedom and respecting the right of conscience of insurers, plan sponsors and healthcare providers, among others. Apparently, that’s the new meme: Insurance companies are now having their religious freedom infringed. Somebody save them!
And I am the one who gets accused of being a misogynist.
The point here is simple. While birth control costs more than nothing, it costs less than an abortion and much less than having a baby. From a social point of view, unless we're not going to subsidize consumption of health care services at all (which would be a really drastic change from the status quo) then it makes a ton of sense to heavily subsidize contraceptives. Now of course sometimes the economically rational course of action (kill everyone in Alberta and steal their oil) is immoral (killing is wrong) and therefore we don't do it. But just on the dollars and cents subsidizing birth control is a no-brainer. The unfortunate thing is that under the American setup the subsidies tend to be passed through the employer, which has set the stage for this controversy.
Another point worth making is that this is one of these issues where the actual incidence of the costs of a policy and the legislative incidence are going to be quite different. Politicians often like making "employers" pay for things as an alternative to taxing people. But in practice, employers are making a tradeoff between health care spending and wages. If your employer shifts from not subsidizing contraceptives to subsidizing them, what happens is that the workers who don't use contraceptives are providing cross-subsidy to those who do. It's in effect the same as financing a free birth control policy through a tiny increase in the payroll tax, which seems to me like a totally reasonable course of action, but like it or not employers are only bearing the cost in a very formalistic sense.
However the GOP has seized on this issue as one of "religious freedom"-when it is anything but. No one's religious freedom is being impinged upon. No one is forcing anyone to get birth control-much less use it.
But Catholics are being forced to subsidized conduct they consider immoral!
No, they are not. They are being asked to behave like a responsible employer and pay their fair share of the cost of their employee's health insurance-a service through which these same folks have a reasonable expectation of being able to receive preventative services. Contraception is just another preventative service-especially since an ill timed pregnancy is something that really fucks up your life.
Don't kid yourself, this is just the opening act in a war that is designed to, at one and the same time, pervert the meaning of the First Amendment-and at the same time empower insurance companies to go right back to fucking people over. The insurance companies motive will still be the same as it was before-profits over people. Only this time our smug holier than thou betters-will be able to console themselves with the idea that their money will not go towards acts they don't approve of.
Except most Americans don't agree with them-and want this service paid for, along with a lot of others. Sixty-five percent of registered voters said that they supported the Obama administration’s birth control mandate, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.
Now of course, to the truly
deranged converted, this is portrayed as an attempt to impose a religious belief. And of course its also portrayed as a new way to sanction abortion. The effectiveness of conservative talking heads is truly amazing-when you consider that these folks almost always use the same term. abortifacients. The term itself is essentially meaningless-its a perverted way to say " Plan B" also known as the morning after pill-which helps to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex if taken with in 48 hours. Its not abortion by any reasonable use of the word. But still they try.
Let me state it again-this argument about "my money paying for things I object to" is just plain stupid. We all pay taxes and not everything the government or companies do is something I agree with. After all 5000+ Americans have been killed in a stupid war for stupid Arabs, which I find more than a little morally objectionable-but I still paid my taxes.
If you support the Bishops you are condoning hypocrisy of the highest order. I don't support them and will continue to speak out against them. THEY ARE 100 PERCENT WRONG.
P.S. A lot fo the people whining about this are covered by TRICARE. TRICARE covers birth control-so to add to my point, your money is paying for something you don't believe in. Are you ready to tell female Sailors they can't have birth control because of your antiquated morality?
TRICARE covers the following forms of birth control when prescribed by a TRICARE-authorized provider:
- Contraceptive diaphragm, including measurement, purchase and replacement;
- Intrauterine devices, including surgical insertion, removal and replacement;
- Prescription contraceptives, including the Preven Emergency Contraceptive Kit containing special doses of regular birth control pills and a self-administered pregnancy test;
- Surgical sterilization, male and female.
TRICARE does not cover:
- Nonprescription spermicidal foams, jellies or sprays.