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ObamaCare’s Contraceptive-Coverage Mandate ^ | February 11, 2012 | Michael F. Cannon

Posted on 02/11/2012 5:59:10 AM PST by Kaslin

My Cato colleague John Cochrane – who is way smarter than I am — has a generally excellent op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal on ObamaCare’s contraception mandate:

Salting mandated health insurance with birth control is exactly the same as a tax—on employers, on Catholics, on gay men and women, on couples trying to have children and on the elderly—to subsidize one form of birth control…

The tax rate and spending debates that occupy the media are a small part of the effective taxes and spending that the government achieves by these regulatory mandates…

The natural compromise is simple: Birth control, abortion and other contentious practices are permitted. But those who object don’t have to pay for them. The federal takeover of medicine prevents us from reaching these natural compromises and needlessly divides our society…

Sure, churches should be exempt. We should all be exempt.

My only quibble is with his claim, “Insurance is a bad idea for small, regular and predictable expenses.”

That’s generally true. But medicine is an area where, potentially at least, small up-front expenditures (e.g., on hypertension control) could prevent large losses down the road. So it may be economically efficient for health plans to cover some small, regular, and predictable expenses. Both the carrier and the consumer would benefit. In fact, that would be the market’s way of telling otherwise uninformed consumers, “Hey! Controlling your hypertension is a really good for you!”

And really, if someone is so risk-averse that they want health insurance with first-dollar coverage of everything – and they’re willing to pay the outrageous premiums that would accompany such coverage — why should we take issue with that?

ObamaCare’s contraceptive-coverage mandate demonstrates that government does  a horrible job of picking only those types of “preventive” services for which first-dollar coverage will leave consumers better off. But I also think advocates of free-market health care generally need to let go of the idea that health insurance exists only for catastrophic expenses.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial

1 posted on 02/11/2012 5:59:16 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
2 posted on 02/11/2012 6:07:26 AM PST by baddog 219
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To: Kaslin
My only quibble is with his claim, “Insurance is a bad idea for small, regular and predictable expenses.” That’s generally true. But medicine is an area where, potentially at least, small up-front expenditures (e.g., on hypertension control) could prevent large losses down the road. So it may be economically efficient for health plans to cover some small, regular, and predictable expenses.

Then it's not really insurance at all. It's a health payment plan, and nothing more.

When an auto manufacturer provides 100,000-mile warranty coverage for a powertrain, surely it is in their best interests to "cover" the cost of oil changes and other regular maintenance for the duration of those 100,000 miles. But they don't . . . or if they did, then they simply build the cost back into the price of the car anyway.

At some point people have to be expected to look out for themselves, and I think it's perfectly reasonable to see paying for "small, regular and predictable expenses" as a bare minimum for any human being.

3 posted on 02/11/2012 6:42:15 AM PST by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: Kaslin

These are the opinions of someone who likes free enterprise, but only when it’s regulated by the government.

4 posted on 02/11/2012 7:07:07 AM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: Kaslin

Cost benefit analysis is a dangerous road to travel.

It’s a small expense to give granny an overdose of sleeping pills which would save enormously down the road, but that idea is unspeakable (at least for now). We don’t want to go there.

The objections are moral/religious. No one has a moral objection to heart disease or cancer being treated (except for Christian Scientists and they make that a personal choice of refusal).

The focus needs to be kept on the moral issue that pro-lifers believe that life begins at conception and no one should be forced to subsidize what they believe is the taking of a human life. Stay away from cost issues or you will lose the argument.

The only line I see that can be drawn is one between birth control options which are not abortifacients and those that are. Many Catholics might not agree with that line, but it’s the only logical one, IMO.

5 posted on 02/11/2012 7:26:45 AM PST by randita
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To: Kaslin

Abortion should not be a regular and recurring procedure nor a primary method of Birth Control.

6 posted on 02/11/2012 7:56:37 AM PST by Steven Tyler
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To: randita

This isn’t an easy argument, but I’m going to give it a try: as I’ve mentioned before somewhere, we’re told that 99% of women use contraceptives (or practice birth control). Yet 50% of abortions are performed on contraceptive-using females (a rather small percentage if 99% of the female population is already using contraceptives). These are, of course, unsubstantiated figures. I’ve heard at least six different percentages of Catholic use of contraceptives, varying from 79% (Jamu Greene) to 98% (Sebelius), and none is correct. BUT, if the figure on abortions-cum-contraceptives is even close, insurance companies, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, have a big problem. Contraceptives, by the government’s own shaky figures, don’t work. If Obama’s aim is to guarantee or at least to forecast “outcomes,” his program doesn’t stop at birth-control (which is supportable because he’s also supplying morning-after pills). Where does the consumer/patient go when the desired outcome fails? The government can’t be sued, but the insurance & pharma cos. can be. OR the government, very definitely in the outcomes-business, can fail-safe the system with insured (or assured) abortions. It has paved the way for tax-payer supported abortions without saying a word.

7 posted on 02/11/2012 8:55:08 AM PST by Mach9
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To: Kaslin
On any front which attaches to the idea of individual freedom in a society, the actions of this Administration, and this President in particular, are blatantly tyrannical.

Since January 2009, every step by which we have come to today, has been marked by a departure from the Founders' principles and formula for freedom, whether it is what they called freedom of individual enterprise, limited delegated powers to government officials, a concept of Creator-endowed life, liberty and rights (therefore, inalienable), or the "jewel" of the Constitution, the First Amendment protections.

These steps have been inconsistent with the foundations of America's 200+-year existence as a beacon of liberty for the world.

On the other hand, the President's steps have been most consistent with "another" idea originating from "other" sources than America's Founders and their philosophical roots.

Of this week's controversy, the observation was made that "This is worse than before. What we are now being forced to pay for is essentially a government funded and (as yet) indirectly government administered population control program." - livius

Writers have been exposing socialism's tyrannical principles and goals for a century now. Those who have understood it best declared that its policies lead to tyranny and oppression.

Yet, we have arrogant Americans, born in liberty, and viewing themselves as "intellectuals" and "progressives," who have embraced socialist ideas over the ideas of liberty and are determined to impose its deadly limitations on a once-free people. Note the following writer's warning that the "scheme of socialism is wholly incomplete unless it includes the power of restraining the increase of population."

Earlier this week, my post included the following:

From the Liberty Fund Library is "A Plea for Liberty: An Argument Against Socialism and Socialistic Legislation," edited by Thomas Mackay (1849 - 1912), originally published in 1891, Chapter 1, excerpted final paragraphs from Edward Stanley Robertson's essay:

"I have suggested that the scheme of Socialism is wholly incomplete unless it includes a power of restraining the increase of population, which power is so unwelcome to Englishmen that the very mention of it seems to require an apology. I have showed that in France, where restraints on multiplication have been adopted into the popular code of morals, there is discontent on the one hand at the slow rate of increase, while on the other, there is still a 'proletariat,' and Socialism is still a power in politics.
"I have put the question, how Socialism would treat the residuum of the working class and of all classes—the class, not specially vicious, nor even necessarily idle, but below the average in power of will and in steadiness of purpose. I have intimated that such persons, if they belong to the upper or middle classes, are kept straight by the fear of falling out of class, and in the working class by positive fear of want. But since Socialism purposes to eliminate the fear of want, and since under Socialism the hierarchy of classes will either not exist at all or be wholly transformed, there remains for such persons no motive at all except physical coercion. Are we to imprison or flog all the 'ne'er-do-wells'?
"I began this paper by pointing out that there are inequalities and anomalies in the material world, some of which, like the obliquity of the ecliptic and the consequent inequality of the day's length, cannot be redressed at all. Others, like the caprices of sunshine and rainfall in different climates, can be mitigated, but must on the whole be endured. I am very far from asserting that the inequalities and anomalies of human society are strictly parallel with those of material nature. I fully admit that we are under an obligation to control nature so far as we can. But I think I have shown that the Socialist scheme cannot be relied upon to control nature, because it refuses to obey her. Socialism attempts to vanquish nature by a front attack. Individualism, on the contrary, is the recognition, in social politics, that nature has a beneficent as well as a malignant side. The struggle for life provides for the various wants of the human race, in somewhat the same way as the climatic struggle of the elements provides for vegetable and animal life—imperfectly, that is, and in a manner strongly marked by inequalities and anomalies. By taking advantage of prevalent tendencies, it is possible to mitigate these anomalies and inequalities, but all experience shows that it is impossible to do away with them. All history, moreover, is the record of the triumph of Individualism over something which was virtually Socialism or Collectivism, though not called by that name. In early days, and even at this day under archaic civilisations, the note of social life is the absence of freedom. But under every progressive civilisation, freedom has made decisive strides—broadened down, as the poet says, from precedent to precedent. And it has been rightly and naturally so.
"Freedom is the most valuable of all human possessions, next after life itself. It is more valuable, in a manner, than even health. No human agency can secure health; but good laws, justly administered, can and do secure freedom. Freedom, indeed, is almost the only thing that law can secure. Law cannot secure equality, nor can it secure prosperity. In the direction of equality, all that law can do is to secure fair play, which is equality of rights but is not equality of conditions. In the direction of prosperity, all that law can do is to keep the road open. That is the Quintessence of Individualism, and it may fairly challenge comparison with that Quintessence of Socialism we have been discussing. Socialism, disguise it how we may, is the negation of Freedom. That it is so, and that it is also a scheme not capable of producing even material comfort in exchange for the abnegations of Freedom, I think the foregoing considerations amply prove."

8 posted on 02/11/2012 9:57:24 AM PST by loveliberty2
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To: randita
The only line I see that can be drawn is one between birth control options which are not abortifacients and those that are.

Notice that the MSM uniformly -- even exclusively -- refers to this controversy as being about "contraception" and "birth control". It isn't. It's about abortion.

This is about coercion of the entire public, to accept abortion because the single women married to the Democratic Party and the Government, demand it. Their demand is totalitarian and hateful, and both it and they should be rejected.

9 posted on 02/11/2012 3:28:11 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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