Health insurance only works if it covers your health care needs and mine. It only works if the pool is big enough. It really isn’t a case of priorities, because, if it were, then that numbers game would result in orphan diseases (very rare diseases that only affect a few) not being covered.
And, I sincerely doubt that those advocating for not covering birth control and maternity coverage would be fighting against coverage for Adrenoleukodystrophy and Landau Kleffner syndrome – let alone Viagra. Know why? Because the debate now raging isn’t about the ACA. It’s, once again, about women and sex. It’s just another branch of the war against women, and the men who love them.
The fact that Republicans, Conservatives and the Christian Right have chosen to focus on birth control and maternity coverage is no accident. Altho… it is kind of strange that the “pro-life” crowd isn’t fighting for maternity coverage. No… wait. It isn’t strange at all when you consider what these two things have in common – controlling women. Granted, they’re controlling them in different ways, and I’m having trouble making sense of it. It seems they’re saying… Birth control is wrong/evil/sinful, so it shouldn’t be covered (because they believe it shouldn’t be covered, and that’s the only reason) which will lead to more unwanted pregnancies (that they also don’t feel should be included in the health insurance pool, because… I don’t know… penis?) which then leads to a demand for abortions – and we know they don’t want that covered. What’s a woman to do? Demand that any disorder/disease of male sex organs not be covered? Why not, since that’s what those against covering birth control and maternity are demanding.
When I first took birth control pills, it wasn’t for sex. I had ovarian cysts. Later, it was because I didn’t want to get pregnant. Both are 100% legitimate reasons. One is not more legitimate than the other. Go on and read that again. And again, if necessary. Birth control pills, etc. are part of woman’s/couple’s economy. And the reason, any reason, for using them is nobody’s business. But it seems like a lot of people want to put their sanctimonious noses into other people’s business.
I wrote this post for two reasons. First, the Little Sisters of the Poor issue. If you’re not familiar with their tactic of trying to force everyone to follow their religion (guess their message isn’t persuasive enough) here it is:
Does religious liberty extend to the right to not have to fill out paperwork? That’s the latest position religious organizations are taking against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It’s crazy, yes. But, welcome to the future of “religious freedom” litigation.
The Little Sisters aren’t paying for contraception even through a third-party-secured insurance plan; they certainly aren’t being asked to distribute it, and Catholic nuns aren’t being force-fed birth control pills. They simply have to sign a piece of paper saying they’re a religious group, and then turn to a third party to negotiate all the details.
Their claim that even this accommodation violates their religious liberty is telling. These ACA-related “religious liberty” arguments aren’t actually about the freedom to exercise your own religion, or the right to be free of doing something that violates your conscience. These assertions are about an overwhelming sense of entitlement on behalf of religious organizations to force anyone within their reach to adhere to their beliefs.
The Little Sisters case is extra rich because, as it turns out, the Christian Brothers Trust insurance group can refuse to provide contraception and will face no fines or consequences. That’s because the Trust is a self-insured “church plan”, which means that the Little Sisters can designate the Christian Brothers as the third-party administrators, and if the Brothers still refuse to provide contraception coverage, the government can’t fine them (pdf). In other words: the Little Sisters can continue operating exactly as before, and nothing will happen.
Since certain religions look more like political activists it might be time to start taxing them.
The second reason I wrote this post had to do with a discussion on another thread.
It started with this comment from Dave (not trying to pick on you, Dave!):
I think we need people to comprehend that health insurance is not health care and vice versa. This has never been about health care. It’s about how families afford it and pay for it. Engaging in marginal fights over contraceptives when children can’t get treated for serious illness was and is silly and is a no win situation, especially when the public equates contraception with drug store rubbers and the implied purpose of the same. But let’s leave no stone unturned in the Sherman Williams approach (paint covering the world). By God, we are going get everything under the ACA umbrella, even if it affects the core purpose. Outstanding strategic planning and execution! (emphasis mine)
Let’s consider that comment. I pointed out, that to women, contraceptives aren’t a marginal fight. To the vast majority of women contraceptives are a daily occurrence. They aren’t marginal, they are necessary if you don’t want to have 12 children. And the public, at least those under 70, don’t equate drug store rubbers with contraception. Yes, they are part of contraceptives, but not the only part and certainly not one that women control. I was snarky in my reply to Dave, stating, “Leave it to a man to dismiss contraceptives as a marginal fight.” But, come on! What part of the public equates contraceptives as drug store rubbers? Older men? Certainly not Catholic, Protestant or Evangelical women. Seriously, this is not a marginal issue. Take a look at these tables:
|Among women who have ever had sex, % that have ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning|
|Unpublished tabulations of the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth.|
|Current contraceptive use among women at risk of unintended pregnancy,* by religious affiliation|
|Highly effective methods||69||68||73||74||60||62|
|Pill or other hormonal||31||31||35||28||31||30|
|Natural family planning||1||2||1||1||1||1|
|*Refers to sexually active women who are not pregnant, post-partum or trying to get pregnant|
|Source: Jones RK and Dreweke J, Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2011 and unpublished tabulations of the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth.|
Obviously, the female public doesn’t equate condoms with contraceptives. If they did, the number using condoms would be higher. Know what is a high number? The percentage of women who have used contraceptives. Like Joanne said in that thread… we aren’t talking about sparse eyelashes here. In fairness to Dave, he is a huge supporter of contraceptives. He just seems to be saying we can’t have everything – that we should give up contraceptive coverage so we can treat sick children. I called that a false choice, because if we really want to go down that path then we would be giving up a lot of health services in the name of children. It’s Logan’s Run all over again!
When you don’t want or can’t afford having a baby birth control isn’t a marginal issue. It’s economics 101.
In October 2012, I wrote a post on Joe Scarborough mainsplaining the economy to women. Here’s the part where my head exploded:
But the comment that actually had me stopping in my tracks was this bit of mansplaining by Joe Scarborough. Joe was scolding Mika, telling her how abortion wasn’t a big issue outside of Los Angelos and Manhattan, that most women are concerned about the economy. Here’s who Joe cited to show how unimportant abortion is in this election:
“I talk about the waitresses. I could talk about the single mom who’s a school teacher in Des Moines who’s raising three kids on her own.”
Take a good look at that example and ask yourself if maybe, just maybe, controlling whether or not she has a fourth child will effect her economy. Right there – there’s the disconnect. Access to birth control and abortion are economic issues to women.
Pregnancy and birth control are economic decisions – bigger than the price of gas at the pump. Just sayin’.
And as I wrote this post another comment appeared on that thread which feeds into this debate. A suggestion made by commenter, radef16, which states: “Allow buyers to purchase only the coverage that they want or need.” No, no, no! That is not how insurance works. Perhaps I should have written a post on how insurance works, because some people don’t get it.