Pills Is On Us

Hmmm. It is looking very likely that, under Obamacare, the government will mandate that birth control pills be covered at 100% by insurance companies.

This seems like a good idea on paper — it might prevent some unwanted pregnancies. But I’m kind of mixed on it. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we’re going to see minimal benefit for significant imposition. Bear with me for a moment.

First, this is going to make health insurance more expensive. Yeah, I know — just passing a regulation does not make free birth control pills rain down from the sky. Liberals still have a huge lacuna on this concept. I discovered this in grad school, when students reacted with shock and outrage when they found out that covering BCP’s in the student insurance would raise rates by the cost of the pills. The cost increase will be minimal, but it’s not zero. Liberals always claim that birth control should save insurance companies money, but it’s not clear that is necessarily true. Children are, generally speaking, very profitable to insure. Preventative care can do a lot of things — saving money is not one of them.

Second, this marginally increases the discrimination in Obamacare. Congress already forbad insurance companies from charging women more for insurance just because they happen to use more healthcare. The cost of pills will therefore be split and shifted around so that everyone, from 60-year-old men to 53-year-old menopausal women, are still paying a little extra. In principal, that’s not so bad. Our government system already shifts money from the young to the old, from the rich to the poor and from the childless to the childed (is that a word? It should be).

Third, there’s a moral question. Because women getting BCP’s will not see their insurance rise, you are forcing everyone else to pay for their pills. There are a lot of people who have moral qualms about the pill. Is it right to force them to pay for it? We already do through birth control subsidies and Medicaid, of course. But this is a little different, requiring employers who may have an objection to pay for this anyway.

The gripping hand here is that this is very unlikely to produce the huge social benefit the liberals are hoping for. There are already subsidies for poor women to get pills and the poorer are on Medicaid. Moreover, I am unconvinced that the cost of pills is the limiting factor in unwanted pregnancies. Irresponsible behavior is far more insidious problem, one that money can not make go away (and frequently makes worse). The primary beneficiaries will be women who have the money to buy insurance or have jobs. These are, generally speaking, not women to whom a copay is the principle roadblock to birth control. This may buy votes from them, but it’s unclear that it will keep babies out of them.

For me, the critical argument is the first one I made — the increased cost of insurance. Birth control pills are small potatoes but we are setting a precedent for future mandates that will drive up the cost of insurance even further. Because once you’ve mandated 100% copay-free coverage for birth control, what’s to stop you from mandating mental health? Or cancer screenings? Or free physicals? Or free flu shots? Or any of a number of things that sound reasonable but add up to make insurance more expensive?

In the end, we will all be priced out into the Medicaid gulag.

Comments are closed.

  1. AlexInCT

    In the end, we will all be priced out into the Medicaid gulag.

    Obamacare, like everything else that came before it they claim was done to help make healthcare fair and affordable for all, are all just stages and gateways to the single payer system the left has wanted to impose on America for decades. The more things change the more they stay the same. They want government controlled healthcare and they will destroy the system, even the damned country, to get it.

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  2. Seattle Outcast

    Well, here’s another thing to consider. Once the government is involved in your birth control, it will quickly realize that monthly prescriptions for pills is a massive expense compared to other options. It will then “suggest” that women use less expensive means of birth control (IUD, subcutaneous implant, cervical cap, “reversible” sterilization, etc) before elimination of the preferred options (pills).

    From there it is an extremely slippery slope to mandating birth control for all women (babies to teen mothers are such an expense) under a certain age. From that point you will need to petition the government for a license to have kids.

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  3. CM

    Woooah, I don’t see how the next step would be mandating birth control for all women. That’s a whole different kettle of fish.

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  4. Seattle Outcast

    That’s the easy part – it’s a natural extension of needing to control costs and implementing “green” measures at the same time. After all, we’ve already been told by Emperor Gore that we need to have fewer children. This isn’t surprising as the “green” movement has been advocating the extinction of the human race in order to “save the planet” for several decades now.

    You really don’t distrust government nearly enough….

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  5. bgeek

    I almost agree with you SO, except that our politicians need more kids to emerge every generation to keep the ponzi schemes afloat.

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  6. CM

    It’s ridiculous (and utterly dishonest) to use what one or two extreme nutters might have said and apply those to the entire ‘green movement’ (or anyone who believes that the concept of sustainability is reasonable).

    You really don’t distrust government nearly enough….

    I distrust them plenty. Just as I distrust those (of any political persuasin) who need to wildly exaggerate.

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  7. Seattle Outcast

    Logic isn’t really a strong point with politicians. Desiring absolute control over every single person alive is pretty much a given.

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  8. Seattle Outcast

    Well, first off, those “one or two extreme nutters” is more like millions of politically motivated nutters – “zero population growth” and “voluntary human extinction movement” are both hand in hand with each other, and sucking on “People Off Planet”s cock. Do you even bother to read or listen to what the green movement put out? There is literally no part of human existence and behavior that they do not feel that they have the right to regulate.

    Such phrases as “global governance” are readily tossed out along with calls to control industry, population, energy, consumption and wealth distribution. Hell, right now the UN is calling for “green helmets” for troops that fight in “global warming” wars.

    The current green movement is nothing more than an elitist attempt to take over world government and institute a Stalinist regime. They are called “watermelons” for a reason.

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  9. Dave D

    Immigration is the replacement plan for the enviro-collectivist population growth mantra. For each conservative vote…er…baby prevented, there will be 2 immigrants beholden to social services and thier party.

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  10. FPrefect89

    Well here in the wonderful state of Oregon, our wise government decided to finance children’s healthcare with a rather large increase in tobacco taxes. The next year they came out and said they did not get enough money that way. There was a drop in cigarette smokers (tax base) and a dramatic increase in the number of children that were covered.

    Logic and politicians should not be used in the same sentence.

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  11. hist_ed

    The biggest problem with that is that the US and Western Europe both emit a lot more carbon per capita that Latin American and North Africa. Allow massive Third World immigration into First World countires and you are upgrading each immigrant’s carbon footprint by a huge amount. What’s a concerned lib to do?

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