Thou Shalt Cover

As I said on Twitter, the Obama’s administration’s ridiculous fight against the ministerial exemption — a fight they lost 9-0 in the Supreme Court — suddenly make sense:

The Obama administration announced today it will wait for a year (coincidentally until after the elections) before requiring religious organizations to comply with an Obamacare mandate that they provide coverage for contraception — including controversial drugs that can abort an early pregnancy.

This started with a decision by the Obama administration last summer listing the “preventive” services that must be covered by health plans under Obamacare without charge to patients, and the list included contraception.

Look, I’m pro-birth-control. I believe in comprehensive sex education and subsidies for poor people (although birth control is not really that expensive). I believe colleges and universities should make birth control available for their students. I’m so pro-birth control, I wear a condom when I blog.

But there is some daylight between that position and thinking government should force religious institutions to cover birth control (which basically means providing it). In the first paradigm, you are increasing people’s choices and freedom. In the second, you are decreasing it, forcing people to spend money for things that they may morally object to.

Although I think National Review has a point on this being on attack on religious freedom, I don’t think this is “war on religion”, per se, despite Newt’s ranting on the subject. It’s more of a war for religion — the secular religion of statism; the belief that government knows best. It started about a decade ago, when Bush’s faith-based initiatives forced religious charities to put more money into drug treatment than they wanted to. It has continued with the fight over gay adoption, in which Catholic charities have ended adoption services rather than let gays adopt children. This is simply the next step: forcing religious institutions to provide birth control.

As I said when this issue first cropped up, the issue is simple: this is giving too much power to government. Making birth control available is sensible. But forcing employers to pay for it — for people who are insured and can likely afford it on their own — is simply a bridge too far.

Think of the precedent. If a Democratic President can force institutions to pay for services with which they have a moral qualm, where does it end? Can they force them to pay for stomach stapling? Can they force them cover stem cell treatments? What about sterilizing people who we decide shouldn’t reproduce — an idea that surface every few decades?

Think of what this means for the insurance paradigm: If a Democratic President can decree that all insurance will cover birth control why can’t a future Republican President decree that none will cover abortion? Once you inject government into these decisions, you have opened a can of worms.

Now this is supposed to save us money. But first of all, who died and made government God? (Answer: the Constitution). Even assuming birth control would decrease healthcare costs — and let’s put a pin in that — who is government to tell me I have to take the cheaper option? For some of these religious institutions, they would rather take on the higher insurance cost. Who are you to tell them how they may or may not spend their money? Birth control is a great idea; it’s not a fundamental right. This isn’t free speech were talking about.

Now, about saving money. Preventative care may save lives but it does not save money. Birth control may save parents money but it does not necessarily save their employers money. And to be told how to save money by … stop that laughing back there! … the government is asburd. Just take a look at this:

In the past two decades, Medicare’s administrators have conducted demonstrations to test two broad approaches to enhancing the quality of health care and improving the efficiency of health care delivery in Medicare’s fee-for-service program. Disease management and care coordination demonstrations have sought to improve the quality of care of beneficiaries with chronic illnesses and those whose health care is expected to be particularly costly. Value-based payment demonstrations have given health care providers financial incentives to improve the quality and efficiency of care rather than payments based strictly on the volume and intensity of services delivered.

In an issue brief released today, CBO reviewed the outcomes of 10 major demonstrations—6 in the first category and 4 in the second—that have been evaluated by independent researchers. CBO finds that most programs tested in those demonstrations have not reduced federal spending on Medicare.

That’s ten failures. You would expect one of those programs to have worked just by accident. But none have. And these are the guys we are going to listen to about controlling healthcare costs? These are the guys we want telling religious institutions what they shall and shall not pay for?


Comments are closed.

  1. Seattle Outcast

    What about sterilizing people who we decide shouldn’t reproduce — an idea that surface every few decades?

    This is why you better not let me be in charge. I’d sterilize everyone at 16 and make them show financial & psychological capability for raising children before allowing them to reverse the procedure.

    Thumb up 1

  2. hohokiss

    lol black white and gay alike, I presume. Who has the best skills to set the bar on “capability” and how is this done?
    Again, I’m reminded of modern China, where 90% of fetuses aborted are female, and also Germany, which got into eugenics in WW2. Its culture still hates children and is pro-birth control to the point where its population is declining by 100,000 per year. The govt pays mothers Kindergeld, a tax incentive to have kids, alas

    …economists foresee that 30 million Europeans of working age will ‘disappear’ by 2050. At the same time, retirement will be lasting decades as the number of people in their 80s and 90s increases dramatically
    The crisis, they argue, will come from a “triple whammy of increasing demand on the welfare state and health-care systems, with a decline in tax contributions from an ever-smaller work force.” That is to say, there won’t be enough workers to pay for the pensions of all those long-living retirees. What’s more, there will be a smaller working-age population compared with other parts of the world; the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Database projects that in 2025, 42 percent of the people living in India will be 24 or younger, while only 22 percent of Spain’s population will be in that age group. This, in the wording of a Demographic Fitness Survey by the Adecco Institute, a London-based research group, will result in a “war for talent.” And the troubles for Europe are magnified by other factors in the existing welfare states of many of its countries. Europeans are used to early retirement — according to the Adecco survey, only 60 percent of men in France between the ages of 50 and 64 are still working.
    Then there is the matter of what kind of society “lowest low” will bring. How will the predominance of one- and two-child families affect family cohesion, sibling relationships, care for elderly parents? Imagine a society in which family reunions consist of three people, in which nearly all of a child’s relatives are in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s. As the social scientists Billari, Kohler and Ortega put it, Europe is entering “an uncharted territory in demographic history.”

    Euthanasia is good, free healthcare isn’t – at the first sign of turning sick, old folks in retirement should probably be removed from the food chain, to defray those mounting leisure costs.

    Thumb up 0

  3. Seattle Outcast

    lol black white and gay alike, I presume. Who has the best skills to set the bar on “capability” and how is this done?

    Why, that’s entirely up to my whim. Which is the basic evil of any government that decides to take an active role in how people live their lives.

    Thumb up 2