Saturday, February 11, 2012

Contraceptive Coverage and Obamaism

President Obama, in a great display of magnanimity, has backed off from his requirement that all employers, including religious institutions, provide "free" contraceptive and abortion services to their employees.  With this concession,  the encroachment by Obamacare on  religious freedom seems to have been forestalled.  Now we come to the next layer of the onion:  encroachment by Obamacare on economic freedom.

The new ruling by Obama--and I am setting aside, for the sake of argument, the issue of whether Obama has the authority to make such rulings--is that insurance companies, not employers, will be required to provide "free" contraceptive services to all women who request them.  My understanding is that this includes conventional birth control pills as well as Plan B One Step, aka the morning after pill.  I do not know whether cervical rings, diaphragms,  IUDs, Norplant, and  tubal ligation are covered, but to keep it simple, I will consider only oral contraception.

Everyone, I hope, understands that under Obama's edict, contraceptives are not FREE.  If insurance companies are required to provide them free of charge to their customers, then insurance premiums will go up.  This means that everyone who pays premiums (or taxes, in the case of Medicaid, Medicare and the public option under Obamacare) will be paying for those who use contraceptives.

Of course, all insurance follows this model.  You pay a premium with the understanding that you may never benefit from insurance, and that someone else may.   Most non-diabetics do not object to diabetics receiving covered health care services for their diabetes.   Most people with healthy hearts do not object to people with heart disease receiving covered health care services for their heart disease.  Insurance is a method to transfer wealth from the healthy to the ill.  From non-diabetics to diabetics. From healthy hearts to weakened hearts.   From the non-injured to the injured.  From cancer-free to cancer.   Does anyone object to this.  I think not.

But what about the contraceptive mandate.  This is a transfer of wealth from men to women.  From people who abstain to people who are sexually active.  From homosexuals to heterosexuals. From the monogamous to the promiscuous.   From older people to younger people.  From women who have had their tubes tied to those who have not.  From women who's husbands have had vasectomies to those who's husbands have not.   From people who want to have children to those who do not.  From Asians,  Hispanics and Blacks (56.4%,  68.2% and 78.4% usage of birth control pills, respectively) to Whites (88.8% usage) [1].

Is this even consistent with the tenets of liberalism?   I agree with using insurance premiums to allow the sick to receive health care.  I can even see the rationale, though I disagree with it, for the transfer of wealth from rich to poor.  But this?   Transfer of wealth to make it easier for people to have recreational sex?   That, my friends, is not liberalism, it is Obamaism.

[1] Use of Contraceptives in the United States, 1982-2008, US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, P.5, Table 2,

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