Skip to comments.The Not-So-Bitter Pill (Sandra Fluke's contraception-cost numbers don't add up)
Posted on 03/08/2012 6:15:26 AM PST by SeekAndFind
The question of who controls health-care costs has been endlessly discussed, but it seems that weve all missed the answer: the media. In recent weeks, we have watched the cost of birth-control pills rise dramatically: Three weeks ago, in the infancy of the Sandra Fluke fracas, we were told that the annual cost was, at most, $600; then Fluke upped the ante, reporting $1,000 per year in her congressional testimony; and finally, her figure was widely misreported as being $3,000 per annum. This last spike seems to have been the messy byproduct of Flukes claim that $3,000 would be the cost over her three-year stay at Georgetown Law.
Flukes figure seems to have been plucked from thin air. Planned Parenthood estimates the monthly cost at between $15 and $50, which translates to $160 to $600 per year. If we were to take their maximum figure and run with it, wed still be well below Flukes oft-repeated claim. But even Planned Parenthoods price is on the high end. As has been widely reported, both Target and Walmart (and their online iterations) have been selling generic birth-control pills for $9 per month in 41 states since 2007 equivalent to the cost of three cheap coffees at Starbucks. (The cost in the nine remaining states is around $27, or $324 per year. For the difference, we can thank those states regulations making it illegal to sell prescription drugs as loss leaders.)
Over the course of a given year, these pills would cost their buyer $108, approximately one-tenth of Flukes estimation. In the interest of fairness, we should up that to $120 to include sales taxes in those few states that levy them on prescription drugs, and then throw in a trip to the doctors office to get hold of the prescription. Lets presume its an expensive trip say, $80. Were still looking at only $200 per year, at which rate Sandra Fluke could stay at Georgetown Law for 15 years and pay for contraception no more than the $3,000 she claims it will cost her for three.
The uninsured and unemployed are irrelevant to the debate over the HHS mandate, which applies only to the insured and the employers that insure them. But even an uninsured woman who paid a (pricey) doctor out of pocket to write her a prescription would be looking at no more than $250 per year, or $25 per month.
The Walmart/Target figure is not a red herring. Brand-name drugs and their generic counterparts are identical in their active ingredients, dosages, and methods of consumption. The difference in price between generic and branded drugs is almost wholly attributable to their respective positions in the patent cycle. It is true that many insurance companies do not provide coverage for generics, but this is because drug companies often impose supply restrictions, requiring that insurers buy branded drugs instead of generics as a condition of being allowed to buy other branded medicines that have no generic equivalents. For the most part, patients do not notice the resulting increase in costs, because of the way our system takes purchasing decisions away from consumers. This is a problem in its own right, but one not addressed at all by the HHS mandate.
Day after day, we hear melodramatic stories, rarely backed up, of a supposed crisis in access to contraception. In the real world, in 41 of our 50 states, contraception costs little more per month than a trip to the movies and, in the other nine, its monthly cost is about half what the average American spends on gas each week. Rome is burning all around us, and it is time we redirected our attention from this pseudo-problem to the flames that can actually sear us.
Charles C. W. Cooke is an editorial associate at National Review.
You apparently don't have an excuse except that you are going to fight this battle even if you don't have your facts straight.
You read Fluke's testimony and still offered up the "women in her law school program."
No, Mr. Rogers. She said more. Read Fluke's statement and then come back to the discussion with facts. What group of women did she say she was speaking for?
That comment's so bad that Rush removed it from his transcript and left in "slut" and "prostitute."
Harry Reid, you are impossible.
“Mr. Rogers, Rush said she was Fluke was happily presenting herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her life woman. Don’t pretend he was trying to be funny with that statement.”
Well, it certainly wasn’t serious, was it? After all, Fluke may well be immoral - she is certainly dishonest - but she is also driven. She is a hard-core activist. She is very purposeful, with her purpose being to expand government, and to use the power of government to help women live immoral lives - ie, free sex and lesbianism.
“What group of women did she say she was speaking for?”
From her testimony:
“In the media lately, conservative Catholic organizations have been asking: what did we expect when we enrolled at a Catholic school? We can only answer that we expected women to be treated equally, to not have our school create untenable burdens that impede our academic success. We expected that our schools would live up to the Jesuit creed of cura personalis, to care for the whole person, by meeting all of our medical needs. We expected that when we told our universities of the problems this policy created for students, they would help us. We expected that when 94% of students opposed the policy, the university would respect our choices regarding insurance students pay for completely unsubsidized by the university, especially when the university already provides contraceptive coverage to faculty and staff. We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that if we wanted comprehensive insurance that met our needs, not just those of men, we should have gone to school elsewhere, even if that meant a less prestigious university. We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health, and we resent that, in the 21st century, anyone thinks its acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women. Many of the students whose stories Ive shared are Catholic women, so ours is not a war against the church. It is a struggle for access to the healthcare we need.”
On a quick count, in that paragraph alone, there are 14 we’s and 11 ours or us’s.
What part of “WE” do you not understand, Harry?
Let me repeat:
“It is a struggle for access to the healthcare we need.”
Want to try the second paragraph?
“I attend a Jesuit law school that does not provide contraception coverage in student health plans. Just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result, employees at religiously affiliated hospitals and universities across the country have suffered similar burdens. We are all grateful for the new regulation that will meet the critical health care needs of so many women.”
WE STUDENTS. While the specific cases she cited may not have been hers, she undoubtedly WAS saying that she, Ms Fluke, was affected - because “we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result”.
Let me help you, Harry.
WE: “nominative plural of I”. “(used to denote oneself and another or others): We have two children. In this block we all own our own houses.”
In her testimony, she specifically stated that she was one of the ones who has “faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result”.
Deal with it, Harry!
Close the beginning of her presentation, she told us, didn't she? Fluke said:
On a daily basis, I hear yet from another woman from Georgetown or from another school or who works for a religiously-affiliated employer, and they tell me that they have suffered financially and emotionally and medically because of this lack of [contraceptive] coverage. And so, Im here today to share their voices.
So she was speaking not just for women in her law school program, but for women from "Georgetown or from another school or who works for a religiously-affiliated employer."
You had to skip over that to write your answer, which either means you're sloppy with your reading or you intentionally avoided the real answer and gave a misleading one.
This 'we." It meant Fluke was identifying with more than women in her law school program. It meant Fluke was identifying with the group of women she was speaking for: women from Georgetown or from another school or who works for a religiously-affiliated employer.
Fluke testified: “Just as we students have faced financial, emotional, and medical burdens as a result...”
Was Fluke saying she had suffered financial burdens? Yes or no?
“I asked What group of women did she say she was speaking for?
ANS: “We students”.
“It meant Fluke was identifying with the group of women she was speaking for: women from Georgetown or from another school or who works for a religiously-affiliated employer.”
No, Harry. It means Fluke was claiming to be one of those harmed. That is what “we” means. If she didn’t mean we, she should have said, “They”.
Deal with it, Harry!
If she indeed spent $3000 in three years on contraception, Rush was right (yet again), she is a slut who is base and immoral. I would hate to think what kind of lawyer she will make, given her “extra curricular” time spent filing her briefs in bed.
Sandra Fluke's an ultra-feminist leftist activist who read a very craftily written statement. Large parts of it would never pass the logic test and could be shot down if conservatives would address what she said. Unfortunately, a large percentage of us appear either unwilling or unable to listen or to read.
Up until this point, you've been around other conservatives when you claimed she was talking about "women in her law school program."
Now you know one of the facts and you're prepared to represent conservatives when you argue this with liberals.
If I had said that's who she was speaking for, you wouldn't have believed me. You don't believe a word I say. I had to make you read Fluke's craftily written leftist speech so you would see it for yourself.
Look at the story Fluke told about the married woman. Use that one around liberals. Let them try and tell you the married woman had to go without contraception, as if Planned Parenthood and free condoms don't exist.
“I had to make you read Fluke’s craftily written leftist speech so you would see it for yourself.”
Hate to remind you of it, Harry, but I read Fluke’s testimony a while back, and it verified what I said. She was saying SHE (and others) suffered “financial, emotional, and medical burdens” and that the school “create[d] untenable burdens that impede our academic success”.
She was NOT saying that these burdens were borne by others, but said she shared them. “WE STUDENTS”.
Thus, it is appropriate for Rush to say, ‘$1,000/year at $1/condom, that means she is having sex at least 1,000 times a year. And that makes her a slut!’ And if she bought in bulk, she would need to have sex over 2,000 times a year to run up the bill she claims.
Except, of course, darn near NO ONE ANYWHERE has sex 3-6 times a day every day for years. So that makes her a liar, because her claims are absurd. Absurd because no one - including Rush - believes she is having sex that often. Nor that the other coeds are having that much sex. Thus, using absurdity to illustrate absurdity.
And thus Rush could not be sued by her, as you suggested here:
Or more precisely, he could be sued, but she would not have a case, because Rush’s ‘slander’ was never meant to be believable. Instead, it illustrated how stupid her testimony was, and how foolish it was for anyone to take her testimony seriously.
Rush was guilty of laughing at her, but not of defaming her.
Right. You’ve read Smith v. Stewart.
You have yourself a good night. I apologize to everyone for arguing on the internet. I'm embarrassed.
For me, it’s not about the cost. It’s about God’s will. It’s about obstructing God’s will. It’s about defying God.
At least since the 1960’s, too many American women have spun completely out of control. Who denies that contraceptive use has led to moral decay in our women, married and single?
Somehow, too many American men have lost control of their women - wives, daughters and sisters.
It’s not about the cost in dollars. It’s about the moral cost to our nation.
“Would you please cite us that line of cases on ‘never meant to be believable”? What’s that rule of law called?”
It is called humor. It is called satire. I realize it is beyond you to understand such concepts.
“You’re still in good standing with the state bar?”
Nope. So if you want to sue Rush, go ahead - if you are a member of the bar. If not, hire an attorney. You’ll spend plenty of money, and it won’t go anywhere.
If you had listened to Rush, rather than taking excerpts from Media Matters, you would find he was ridiculing the idea her testimony was true, and illustrating that by pointing out the ridiculous and unbelievable situation that would exist if it was.
You cite Falwell v. Flynt, 797 F.2d 1270 (4th Cir. 1986) as an example of why Rush could be successfully sued, writing, “As how the poster applies Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988), the believability of parody elements addressed in one of the underlying cases”.
But from Wiki (to save space):
“Thus, Hustler magazine’s parody of Jerry Falwell was deemed to be within the law, because the Court found that reasonable people would not have interpreted the parody to contain factual claims, leading to a reversal of the jury verdict in favor of Falwell, who had previously been awarded $150,000 in damages by a lower court.”
If you want to read the full decision, it is here:
It isn’t really applicable, since A) Falwell was a public figure, and B) Rush’s argument hinged on his parody being false. If Rush’s accusations were true, his argument (and the humor) falls apart. It can only be funny or effective IF the picture is false.
Rush’s argument can be summarized as:
If Fluke’s testimony is true, she and the other burdened students must be having sex 1-2,000 times a year - while in law school. That is ridiculous, thus her testimony must be false. And the people promoting her testimony must be stupid, because it is so obvious her testimony makes no sense.
That argument undoubtedly calls Fluke a liar, but it does NOT present her as a nymphomaniac. Indeed, it rests upon the assumption she is NOT having sex over 1,000 times a year.
It would be tough to sue someone for calling you a slut if their argument rests on the idea you are NOT a slut.
Many of those cases have to do with potential elements unrelated to satire. Some of them are the cases I've cited in other threads as to why Fluke may be a limited public figure, so that Limbaugh would have to meet the actual malice test of Times v. Sullivan to have defamed her.
On the other hand, some do. One's even 2008 Court of Appeals finding that 'slut' is per se defamation when used in a satirical book in which you could tell the figure satirized was supposed to be a person who exists in real life (wait. 2008? That's after the Hustler case.)
I'm going to leave you in the good hands of the non-attorney who hasn't read these cases and who'll tell you that Limbaugh was clearly joking when he said Fluke was Fluke was "a woman who is happily presenting herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her life woman,' and that Limbaugh was so clearly only telling a joke that nobody on this forum believes that Fluke said she was having lots of sex.
Mr. Rogers, I cede the legal advice to you. What do you think the scope of Fluke’s limited public figure status will be under the Hatfill test?
I thought my reply to the original comment was a simple expression of thinking the same thing. I didn't plan to continue further with the topic.
Unfortunately, I was out of the country when this happened, and only picked up the details slowly from the continuing push to target Limbaugh over it.
I think the bottom line is that, from just watching how the Left is trying hard to use this as a weapon against Limbaugh despite turning a blind eye to comments from liberals, it shows how thin an argument they really have because the entire episode was staged from the start.
“What do you think the scope of Flukes limited public figure status will be under the Hatfill test?”
Irrelevant, since Limbaugh’s argument assumes she is a serious student with a purposeful agenda. Unless, of course, she decides to sue him for pointing out the dishonesty of her testimony.
You may or may not be a lawyer, but I’ll refrain from taking legal advice from someone who cannot understand the argument of a talk show host...
Good bye, Mr. Rogers. As an attorney, I left you with the cites to some cases I've been reading. I don't know all of the answers. That's why I keep reading more cases. Some attorneys spend three years in law school and then an entire career reading and analyzing hundreds and hundreds of cases to learn the basics and nuances to be effective First Amendment attorneys.
You've read a summary of one case on Wikipedia.
I'm sure we'll all agree that's the functional equivalent.
Have a nice day.
As I posted before:
“It would be tough to sue someone for calling you a slut if their argument rests on the idea you are NOT a slut.”
But since you aren’t capable of understanding what Rush Limbaugh was saying, I guess I’ll skip your legal advice.
Please note that nothing I said constitutes legal advice and should not be taken as such, nor does it represent the views of my employer, my professional corporation, the professional limited liability company in which it holds an interest, or the educational institution with which I am affiliated.
Mr Rogers, it's safe to say we'll both be arguing with liberal friends and colleagues that Fluke's statements were irrational and serve as no reason to force religiously affiliated employers to provide contraception against their First Amendment beliefs. I think it's also clear we'll be using a different approach, but I hope we're equally successful in changing minds.