Let’s see if we can follow Nancy Pelosi’s logic in this statement. Because 90% of Catholic women of childbearing age can already access contraception when they want it, it’s … a public health crisis that demands that all employers provide free contraception. Make sense? Naaaaah:
At a press conference on Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explained her support for the Obama administration’s decision to require religious institutions to offer health insurance plans that cover contraception.
“I know that the records show that 90 percent of Catholic women of childbearing age use birth control,” Pelosi said to reporters on Thursday. ”So this is a women’s health issue.”
“It’s a matter of conscience for each woman, her doctor, her husband, her family, and her God to make their own decisions. And as a Catholic, I support the right of a woman to make that decision.”
As a Catholic, I think women should have access to contraception if they want to buy it, too. I also think employers who want to fund those choices through their health insurance should be free to do so, and insurers who think they can sell policies that cover those choices have the freedom to offer them. In fact, all of those opportunities exist right now. There is no law against purchasing contraception, no law against insurance companies covering it, and no law against employers providing it for free. I’m also perfectly fine with the concept of keeping the decision between the woman, her sex partner, her doctor, and God — but then again, I’m not the one trying to force employers and insurance companies to take part in that decision.
However, I don’t think that employers should be forced by Pelosi, Barack Obama, or Kathleen Sebelius to foot the bill for an entirely voluntary activity by providing it for free from their health insurance. That’s true of any employer, and especially true for religious organizations whose doctrines oppose the use of contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization. And the very figures that Pelosi uses in defending the mandate show that it’s completely unnecessary. If 90% of Catholic women of childbearing age already access contraception, then they don’t need a patronizing employer to pay the freight, do they? As the CDC noted in its long-term study of sexual activity, contraception, and unwanted pregnancies, 99% of women who wanted to avoid pregnancy during their childbearing years used contraception.
Insisting that government has to mandate someone else to pay the bills for a product in order to have “access” to it not only flies in the face of the very evidence Pelosi uses to justify the mandate, it’s a splendid example of statist logic. That’s the road we are taking with this mandate, with ObamaCare, and with Democrats.
Peter Schweizer thinks this is all just a big payoff to Big Pharma:
Forget for a minute the religious question and look at who wins big here: Big Pharma. This mandate is not really about condoms or generic versions of “the pill,” which are available free or cheap in lots of places. This is about brand-name birth control drugs and other devices that some consumers swear off because they are too expensive. The Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requires health-insurance companies provide contraceptive coverage for all “FDA approved contraceptive methods.” It does not insist on generics. And it does not offer any cost containment.
What’s more, the mandate prevents health-insurance companies from having copays or deductibles for the benefit. This is the perfect set up for Big Pharma. Since the drugs will be paid for by a third party (insurance companies, who will pass the cost on to employers and the rest of us), the consumer won’t worry about the price. Expensive brand names will no doubt see demand rise. Ask more health-care analysts why the cost of medical services continues to rise so rapidly and near the top of the list is the fact that a third-party payment system won’t contain costs.
Back in 2009, many observers were surprised when Big Pharma came out in favor of President Obama’s health-care reform bill. The industry spent millions running television ads in favor of the law and industry lobbyists pushed hard for it. One important reason they did so was the promise that with the new law they would have a new market of millions of new customers. The contraceptive mandate is a perfect example.
It’s about the only way this policy makes sense at all. But if so, then it’s even more incumbent on Obama to protect the majority of the mandate by expanding the religious conscience exemptions before the legal challenges extinguish the entire provision. I still think we’re going to see a Friday-night doc dump reversal on that point. I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Biden’s admission that Obama “screwed up the first iteration” becomes an opening for a third iteration soon.