Semantics and “Basic Rights”

Greg Mankiw (via Kyle Baxter):

Consider these two policies:

A. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance that covers birth control.

B. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance.  The health insurance company is required to cover birth control.

I can understand someone endorsing both A and B, and I can understand someone rejecting both A and B.  But I cannot understand someone rejecting A and embracing B, because they are effectively the same policy.  Ultimately, all insurance costs are passed on to the purchaser, so I cannot see how policy B is different in any way from policy A, other than using slightly different words to describe it.

Yet it seems that the White House yesterday switched from A to B, and that change is being viewed by some as a significant accommodation to those who objected to policy A.  The whole thing leaves me scratching my head.

I’m not sure if Obama things the general public is naive or just dumb.

Option B is even scarier because it circumvents our first amendment rights while masking as respecting them. It’s a slight of hand, mere trickery for this administration to get their way.

The even bigger question to ask at this point: what even makes birth control a “basic right” that should be provided for free? Cancer drugs, HIV treatments, and Diabetes medicine all cost quite a bit of money out of pocket and are needed for actual diseases!

Pregnancy is not a disease.

If Obama really wants to tackle a healthcare issue, why not support people with critical diseases who can’t afford healthcare? People who can’t get medical coverage and have to afford expensive medications and care?

Oh, and how about all of that Title X family planning funding? It’s supposed to be funded at $327 million in 2012 to provide medical services like family planning to low income women. Women who most likely don’t have employer-sponsored healthcare anyways. If you have a job with an employer-sponsored health plan, you can probably afford the $15-$30 per month for birth control.

I’m not sure what Obama’s angle is here, especially in an election year. This entire policy is benefitting no one, and is angering some of Obama’s biggest supporters, Catholic Democrats. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and in the long run, all this policy is doing is transferring cost to the rest of us, and this charade that something could materialize with no cost at all to society is disconcerting at best.

This is whole situation is about so much more than any moral issues with birth control.

February 13, 2012