A reader puzzles about the HHS Mandate

He writes:

Maybe this is just a particularly loathsome example of liberal Christian nonsense, but this article, by a Quaker, is making the rounds on FB. Read it if you have time — if not, I know you’re busy.

I’m wondering if you know any good articles, or have written any, that addresses the following points:

a) how this differs from taxes being used to fund stuff like abortion, unjust war, etc.

It doesn’t, as far as I can see. Both are a use of public monies to do grave moral evil. The Church does not teach that as long as the government is doing it, it’s morally okay to use our taxes to do grave evil. Rather, what the Church says is that, even when the state is run by Nero Caesar, it is, on balance, better to have a state than to have anarchy. But the Church also affirms that a people have the right to resist a tyrannical misuse of power. How that resistance plays out can happen in various ways ranging from peaceful protest to armed revolt depending on the circumstances. The Church, naturally, prefers peaceful methods and has demonstrated, in the downfall of Soviet communism, just how effective those methods can be—a lesson completely lost on the bloodthirsty kill crazies of the Thing that Used to be Conservatism who pushed us into our misbegotten war in Iraq.

b) why Hobby Lobby winning in this case would not “open the door” for JW business owners not paying for blood transfusions, etc. (Some idiot said if conscience protection were allowed, then Randians could use it to avoid all regulations, *gasp*)

Here’s my scribbles.

Bottom line: Contraception is not a“right” and I am not bound to pay for what you want to do in your bedroom. Life is a right and the state has interest in preserving innocent human life from being taken by neglect.

c) are there ANY liberals/lefists out there who see this as a very illiberal usurpation of power and an attempt at bullying Christians? Or, who are able to parse the obvious distinction that “preventative medicine” is preventative no matter what, where as birth control is contingent upon behavior (regardless of how one feels about said behavior)?

Michael Sean Winters over at the National Catholic Reporter has been critical of the HHS Mandate. , but I haven’t followed him on it closely. Beyond that, I couldn’t say.

  • jroberts548

    If hobby lobby has a freedom of religion right not to buy contraceptives, why doesn’t A&E have a free speech right not to hire Phil Robertson?

    • Dave G.

      Those defending A&E have pointed to the fact that it is only a freedom issue if the government is involved. The government is involved with the HHS mandate. As for GLAAD and others acting like fundamentalist conservatives imposing their moral absolutes on others, that’s a different issue.

      • jroberts548

        Fair enough. As long as the government doesn’t pass some sort of mandate requiring A&E to give millionaire rednecks airtime, A&E hasn’t had their free speech rights violated.

        On the other hand, I’m trying, and failing, to understand the argument that A&E is somehow crushing free speech rights -rather than exercising their own- by choosing to suspend Phil Robertson. This is especially hard to understand if hobby lobby is just exercising their freedom of religion, rather than crushing their enployee’s rights to buy things, by not buying contraceptives for their employees.

        This would, to an honest person, go the other way too. If I were a moron, I might be dumb enough to think that hobby lobby was crushing its employees’ rights. If I were that dumb, I hope I would at least be an honest simpleton, and recognize that A&E is crushing phil’s rights.

        • Dave G.

          Here’s the thing. In the post-war years, liberalism pushed for a society of absolute openness. That was the promise. When some preacher railed against the Beatles, or a radio station wouldn’t play Pink Floyd, those were trotted out as examples of ‘not free speech.’ Free Speech was never only about the government. I sat and heard many a lecture in college that drove that point home. The promise of liberalism was ‘follow us, and we’ll have a grand society of openness and tolerance and respecting each other’s rights to differing opinions.

          Now they never said you had to *like* those opinions. Of course not. But the progressive ideal was promising that we would move past a time when people tried to punish or oppress others’ beliefs and ideas (and lifestyles).

          There’s an old episode of the show Northern Exposure that illustrated that. Two gay fellows are at dinner with Maurice, the token conservative. Naturally, he doesn’t care for their lifestyles. And they don’t care for him. But in a great celebration of progressive enlightenment, they agree to respect each other’s differing views and ideals, and agree to celebrate the right to live out and express those viewpoints, even if they don’t like them. The progressive promise.

          Fast forward to now. What GLAAD and others are doing is just what the old progressives promised we would get beyond. And it was under that promise of ‘respect differences and people who live and think differently’ that the gay rights movement was born. The early days of gay rights was not ‘born this way.’ The early days were ‘who’s to say what’s normal.’ Since it’s all a matter of opinion, let’s all just respect and celebrate our differences.

          That’s the point. Of course it’s not the government coming in and crushing A&E’s rights to choose programming. I wouldn’t want that. Heck, I understand GLAAD making a fuss. My beef is that, in so doing, it and all those on the Left supporting A&E are acting just like the type of people progressives once called thought police, fascists and fundamentalists. They’re doing what they promised we would get beyond ever doing again.

          • jroberts548

            So? That doesn’t change that A&E and hobby lobby both have and ought to have rights, including free speech and freedom of religion.

            • Dave G.

              A&E can choose to have shows that celebrate one POV, and ban others. It’s A&E’s channel. By taking this particular action, they are succumbing to tactics that were once called oppressive, if not outright censorship. The ones calling them those things now being the ones wanting those things.
              Hobby Lobby and company is a different issue. That’s the government stepping in. Which those defending A&E should understand because it’s a difference they keep emphasizing.

              • Stu

                But times have changed. A&E, while being buttheads, no longer have control of the market. Increasingly, individuals are able to market their own productions and increasingly networks are becoming less and less of a factor.

                I’m grateful for A&E showing it’s true colors. If they want to stand with the homosexualists on this, then it’s good to know.

                • Dave G.

                  Personally Stu? I’d rather us get over it an learn to be what we were promised: a society that accepts differing opinions. We don’t have to like them. But apart from the more horrible (a subjective term to be sure), allow a variety of beliefs openly proclaimed.

                  • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

                    But that requires a generally accepted standard of what counts as “normal” and what as “more horrible”. It’s not that we lack this in a practical sense, but we constitutionally abjure the right to make this judgment at all.

            • chezami

              A&E has the right to be monumentally stupid and they are exercising that right.

          • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

            Anyone who read his Aristotle and paid attention to the 19th century popes knew that was bull**** all along.

        • Stu

          Is Hobby Lobby really “crushing their employers rights to buy things”? My employer doesn’t give me a company car. HOW DARE THEY! They are crushing my rights to an automobile.

          • chezami

            People have a perfect right to buy their own birth control. They have no right to force me to buy it for them. And still less right to do that and then tell me I have no business telling them what to do in their bedrooms. I don’t want to be in your bedroom, so stop sticking a gun in my ribs and forcing me in their to give you free condoms.

          • jroberts548

            Of course hobby lobby isn’t crushing anyone’s rights. Neither is A&E, for the same reason.

            • Stu

              Well, then we agree.

              People can go buy their own contraception and A&E and program as they see fit.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Late Modern legalists, esp.of the literalist persuasion, often confuses the political right to say something with the abysmal foolishness of saying it. But when the virtues are discarded, prudence is always the first to go, which means that courage and temperance soon follow. Now we are treated to the spectacle of a Big Corporation withstanding the yapping of the Professionally Offended with the staunchness of a chocolate eclair standing up to a wrecking ball.

          • jroberts548

            If you’re talking about prudence, then leave rights out of it. A claim that hobby lobby is prudent and A&E isn’t is a discussion an honest person can have.

            • Ye Olde Statistician

              I never said boo about “rights.” ‘Twas yourself was all over A&E’s “rights” (and Robertson’s “rights”). It’s the plaint of the Late Modern Age.

              • jroberts548

                It is also the complaint of hobby lobby in its federal lawsuit against the HHS mandate. That is, hobby lobby’s religious rights is the entire subject of the discussion.

                • Ye Olde Statistician

                  Well, sure. That’s the government forcing them to support evil.
                  “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
                  – Thomas Jefferson

    • Gail Finke

      A&E does have that right. What is at issue there is whether A&E should fire him or not. Is the network tolerant of more than one view on homosexuality — in Robertson’s case, a view that is held by a majority of people in the world? Or must all its employees profess only one view? People who support Robertson think that A&E is being intolerant and that it is prejudiced against Christians. The majority of the world’s Christians, Jews, and Muslims consider homosexual activity to be a sin.

  • Gail Finke

    I can answer that:

    It differs for several reasons. One of the biggest is that a general tax has been found not to impose a substantial burden on anyone’s religious freedom — a percentage of a tax paid by everyone is used for certain things that some people find objectionable, but it is a very small percentage, it is not possible to separate it out (all the money goes into a huge pot, as it were) and it is paid by everyone. In this case, none of those things apply. The fee is not levied on everyone, it is charged to certain people in particular (with a great many exceptions given even to them); and it is not general — it pays directly for the services the payers find objectionable. Therefore it is a direct burden to particular people, and courts (such as the recent NY District Court) have found that it is not their job to determine that a violation of religious freedom is “too much” or “just enough,” just to find that it exists.

    Second, to justify infringing on religious liberty the federal government must have a compelling interest in whatever is being mandated. National security and public safety have been found to be compelling interests that sometimes override some people’s religious freedom, as has controlling the illegal drug trade. As the surgeries and drugs in question were already universally available in all price ranges, they were not being denied to anyone — therefore, the only thing accomplished by the law is that they are to be distributed for free. Is there a compelling interest for the US government to sterilize all American women for free? If so, what is it? The claim that it is “preventative medicine” is not true (it does not prevent any disease, and some of the medicines and surgeries can actually be harmful). The other claim the government makes is “gender equity.” Even if one accepts that sterilization of women is necessary for gender equity, which is highly debatable, courts have found in previous cases that gender equity is not a compelling interest.

    Finally, IF providing the drugs and services were found to be a compelling interest for the US government, in order to violate religious freedom laws the federal government would have to prove that having employers provide them would accomplish this goal in the least restrictive way possible to religious freedom. As there are other ways to accomplish it — through a general tax, for instance, or vouchers — it is not the least restrictive way. The government has tried to argue that other ways are more expensive or would require additional laws to be passed, but that is not the same thing.

  • Stu

    I’m not sure how one compares a blood transfusion (something which is done to fix something that is broken, in other words “healthcare”) with contraception or abortion (something which is done to break something that isn’t broken, in other words “not healthcare).

    But if I worked worked for JW who wanted to exclude blood transfusions from my medical coverage, big deal.

    • Roki

      I suppose those who argue for the contraception mandate would argue strongly that preventing an unwanted condition such as pregnancy is as much healthcare as preventing a “broken” or diseased condition, or preventing injury. It is “preventive” care, which under the ACA is to be provided at no cost share to the patient. That is, the only money paying for those services is taken from the premiums themselves; no copays or deductibles or coinsurance. And since many employers (especially churches and other non-profits) pay 100% of the employee’s premium, this makes “preventive” care free to the patient.

      In other words, the “preventive” care category is an incentive to patients to use those services.

      The main objection as I understand it is not really to including contraception within a medical insurance plan; the objection is to including it in a category to which it does not belong: this “preventive care at no cost share to the patient” category. It is an objection to the requirement to incentivize contraception.

      Re: Jehovah’s Witnesses and the blood transfusion objections, it seems to me that they could make a similar case if blood transfusions were incentivized in the same way that contraceptives are incentivized by the HSA Mandate. But, so far as I know, blood transfusions are part of “normal” medical care, so in most cases the patient is contributing to the cost of the treatment.

      • Illinidiva

        The reason why preventive care is no charge under Obamacare is based on the reasoning that taking care of oneself and going for annual check-ups will end up costing less because problems will be caught early. For instance, a woman goes in for an annual mammogram and the doctor finds Stage 1 Cancer. Not only does the woman’s chances of survival increase, but it also decreases the amount spent on her care.

        • Roki

          I understand the reason for the incentive. It remains that the “no cost share” is an incentive, and it is used to promote “desired” behaviors. In most cases, as you point out, those desired behaviors are actually good for both patient and health care providers.

          But the contraceptive mandate is only good for the providers insofar as pregnancy and childbirth is an expensive process for a hospital: I’m told it can easily reach over $10,000 in toto. (Aside: one area in which out health care system needs reform desperately is transparency about the actual costs involved in the treatment provided.) This, along with the social agenda of promoting fewer children altogether while maintaining “sexual liberty”, is the whole justification for incentivizing contraceptives.

          But the fact is that contraceptives – especially the IUDs and sterilization procedures that the Mandate subsidizes – have real health consequences and pose at least a significant risk of harm to the patient. Alongside this, there is a strong natural law argument that contraceptives are at best unnecessary and probably morally harmful to all involved. Catholic doctrine simply affirms what has been argued and established by both biology and philosophy.

          In other words, it is at the very least debatable whether contraception belongs as “health care” at all, to say nothing of “preventive care”. Yet this debate is shut down under presidential fiat and accusations of bigotry.

          • Kristen inDallas

            Thank you, thank you for stating so clearly what I’ve been trying to say for over a year now. If you ever decide to turn the 8 paragraphs above into a standalone post, please do let us know.

  • Illinidiva

    While I’m fine with Catholic non-for-profits opposing the HHS mandate, I’m concerned with the Hobby Lobby case. I think that it sets a bad precedent which will allow for profit businesses to decide to stop covering certain things under the guise of religious teachings. If a for-profit company whose owner is Catholic can decide not to cover birth control, then why shouldn’t a for profit company whose owner is a Scientologist be able to not cover psychological services?

    • jroberts548

      The scientologists have rights. We treat entities as persons to protect the rights of the natural persons of whom those entities consist. Why shouldn’t scientologists be free to deny coverage for psychological services?

      • Illinidiva

        I was making a point about the difference between non-for-profits and for profits. It is one thing for an entity associated with a certain religion to adhere to their religious values. Everyone knows the values associated with the religion and the employer should be required to be upfront about these values. This is different than a for profit company. An employee working in a large corporation doesn’t know the religion of the CEO, and there is the chance that the company can be sold.
        Let’s use the following example. You work for Company X and rely on the mental health benefits in the company insurance because your child has serious issues. (Think about the mother whose post about her son went viral after Sandy Hook.) Company X is bought by a Scientologist who discontinues the mental health benefits because it is against his/ her religion. Now substitute that for a devout Catholic who buys a certain company and discontinues birth control. (And yes there are health reasons why women take the Pill.)

        • Roki

          I think what we should have is a real discussion about the relationships between corporations and individuals. Our laws have muddied the waters here a great deal, and I’m in favor of clarifying them again.

          Also, no one is arguing for a prohibition of hormonal treatments of disease. It is not the chemical or the drug that is objectionable. What the Catholic Church, along with many others, objects to is the requirement to provide birth control at no cost share. The aspect that the Church considers immoral is the use of the drug specifically for preventing conception or inducing abortion.

          Ironically if the same drug were prescribed for another medical purpose (so far as I can tell – I’m open to correction), it would be covered under the normal pharmaceutical plan: generally with a copay or coinsurance cost share. Indeed, the main effect of the Mandate will be to incentivize IUDs and sterilization surgeries, since many forms of “The Pill” are already available at only nominal cost.

    • LSUStatman

      For-profit companies exist under the First Amendment right to peaceable assembly. Why should exercising that right detail the various owners of that company (whether sole proprietors or corporations) preclude the exercise of the other First Amendment rights?
      If A&E has the First Amendment right to control who they associate with, why should Hobby Lobby not be able to do the same?

      The reality is that Obamacare was designed to fail and get people upset, so it doubled-down on the cause of the healthcare crisis in the first place: the distorted relationship between employment and health insurance. Conceived as a way around wartime wage controls, this connection hampers competition (by reducing the beneficiaries oversight of cost decisions), entangles employers in health decisions (the whole point of the Hobby Lobby case) and suppresses healthy job mobility (by having people cling to jobs just to get the healthcare when professionally, they should move on).

      Either going to a real free-market individual-based system (similar to auto insurance, where my employer is not involved) or going to a single payer system would have eliminated this interference from employers, but neither of those positions had enough votes in congress. (Obamacare was designed to get the general population to cry for single-payer, but the incompetence of the rollout is going to hamper that.) And so, we continue to treat employers as a bottomless pit of money to pay for everything we want.

      • Illinidiva

        First, A&E isn’t exercising any right to free speech when it suspended Phil. This is a contract dispute. A&E has a contract with its talent that set up certain code of behavior that Phil had to follow. He violated his contract. Second, Obamacare was designed to fail comment suggests that Obama and company were evil geniuses. They definitely aren’t. They cannot even create a competent website. Considering that there is an overlap between commentators who believe that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim and this one, I suggest not indulging in conspiracy theories.

        • LSUStatman

          Obama has stated publically as late as 2007 that he preferred a single-payer system. Even through the creation of Obamacare, some Democrats were advocating for single-payer and Harry Reid stated publically recently that Obamacare would result in it. Those aren’t conspiracies, they are facts.

          • Illinidiva

            Yeah. Obama probably still would, but he knew that this wouldn’t pass because most people like their health insurance.

            • LSUStatman

              Agree.

  • Andrew Simons

    Michael Sean Winters: “To be clear, I do not think the contraception mandate is good, and I wish the conscience exemptions were more expansive than they are. But the Affordable Care Act is good. It will bring health insurance to millions of Americans who currently lack it . . . We should stop suggesting that the mandate will require our Catholic institutions to cooperate with evil in a morally illicit way, a suggestion that contains within itself the further suggestion that such institutions risk being closed or stripped of their Catholic identity. As the CHA statement makes clear, there is nothing in the mandate that requires morally illicit cooperation with evil. Not even close. And the bishops need to ask themselves why the conference continues to make claims that are tendentious, if not actually false. Veracity should matter to bishops.”

    • Stu

      I always find it odd when so-called liberals support Big Government approaches that are hand outs for Big Business.

      • Andrew Simons

        Stu: not sure what you’re talking about. The ACA was a Republican plan, and the Republicans wanted to make sure that insurance companies would be included in health care. I’m a single-payer guy, but that’s still a ways off.

        • Stu

          You must have missed the final vote in Congress on “Obamacare”.

          And BTW, “single-payer” will be even a bigger Big Government to Big Business hookup. It will be like bringing the Military Industrial Complex to your healthcare.

          • Andrew Simons

            The ACA was based on a Republican idea that came out of the Heritage Foundation and was modeled on Romneycare. Medicare is single payer, and it works great. People love it, doctors get paid, costs are contained. I realize that combination is a conservative nightmare, but it’s the most popular government entitlement program. Republican politicians have lost elections trying to do away with Medicare.

            • Stu

              What it’s based upon and who voted for it are two different things. It’s “Obamacare” for a reason and it was passed on a partisan vote and it’s a dream for Big Insurance (as would be single payer).

              BTW, I’m not a Republican.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      But the Affordable Care Act is good. It will bring health insurance to millions of Americans who currently lack it

      So far, more people seem to be losing it and the keepers seem to be paying more. There is often a gap between what politicians promise and what laws deliver.

      • Andrew Simons

        YOS: from all I’ve read, the plans that people are losing are lousy plans. The comparison of ACA plans to pre-ACA plans have too often been comparing poor, cut-rate plans with huge deductibles and low caps (and low premiums) to better plans with lower deductibles, no caps (and higher premiums). The ACA is not the final word on health care in the U.S., but it is a good first step.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Depends on who you ask: policy holders or policy wonks. Many people make perfectly rational decisions to trade off a higher deduction for a lower monthly premium. These are typically young and healthy people who have a) lower salaries than older, more established folks and b) lower probability of needing a payout from the pool.

          But the whole we-know-best thingie was originally predicated on people-who-did-not-have-insurance, not on people-who-have-insurance-that-doesn’t-cost-a-lot-and-doesn’t-cover-the-pill. That is, the act was supposed to get insurance to people who did not have it, to provide portability of insurance to people who change jobs, and a few other particular issues like that. It was not to replace by intelligent design a system that evolved from millions of individual decisions.

          If you like the way medical costs skyrocketed when Medicare was instituted, you’ll love it when this new rube goldberg device gets rolling. Tell me again why the president delayed implementation (by executive decree!) until after he was safely re-elected, and now proposes to postpone implementation still further, after the next Congressional elections, something that he shut down the government to prevent the House Republicans from requiring.

          • Andrew Simons

            Obama shut down the government? I missed that one.
            The ACA was based on a Republican idea that came out of the Heritage Foundation and was modeled on Romneycare. I agree it has Rube Goldberg qualities, but those are its Republican features. The Republicans never proposed any plans that could get enough votes to pass the House, or were scored by the CBO. The ACA is compromise bill, and has all the features of such a bill. It’s a good step in the right direction. People without insurance now have it — look at the millions who have signed up.
            Finally, costs under Medicare are lower than under private insurers and Medicare’s patients are all over 65. Medicare recipients love their Medicare, even the ones who don’t seem to realize it’s a government program.

            • Ye Olde Statistician

              Obama shut down the government? I missed that one.

              It was in all the papers. He even posted guards to prevent people from viewing open monuments, placed barricades to prevent busses from turning around at Mt. Vernon (which is privately run), and in general made sure that the whole thing was as inconvenient as he could make it. You’ll note that the folks who check that stage magicians have a federal license to use bunnies in their acts do not seem to have been inconvenienced, nor the Dept.Edu. SWAT team.

              The ACA was based on a Republican idea that came out of the Heritage Foundation and was modeled on Romneycare.

              That should have been a warning sign right off the bat. I heard this frequently during the run-up, but never did hear much about the escalating costs in MA.

              Health care was 23% of the (MA) state fisc in 2000, and 25% in 2006, but it has climbed to 41% for 2013. On current trend it will roll past 50% around 2020—and that best case scenario assumes [Gov.] Patrick’s price controls work as planned. (They won’t.) In real terms the state’s annual health-care budget is 15% larger than it was in 2007, while transportation has plunged by 22%, public safety by 17% and education by 7%. Today Massachusetts spends less on roads, police and schools after adjusting for inflation than it did in 2007.

              The Republicans never proposed any plans that could get enough votes to pass the House, or were scored by the
              CBO.

              So we dodged the bullet on that, at least. Why does anyone suppose that the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight enough to get a web portal properly designed could redesign in the back room the entire medical payment system.

              People without insurance now have it — look at the millions who have signed up.

              How many did not have insurance before, vs. how many were deprived of their insurance in order to force them to sign up? New Jersey once tried this with auto insurance when lawyers found out there were people in accidents who did not have insurance companies to sue. They created the same sort of pool-of-uninsurables — and then to fund it dumped in tons of good drivers, forcing them to pay higher premiums to cover their effort to repeal the actuarial laws.

              costs under Medicare are lower than under private insurers…

              No, the costs are what they are. It’s the payments to doctors and hospitals that are lower. Medical providers then have to shift the costs to non-Medicare patients, because the payroll still has to be met, the MRIs and the surgical kits still have to be paid for, etc., etc.

              Medicare’s patients are all over 65.

              Which means our costs cannot possibly be lower than younger and healthier cohorts.

              Medicare recipients love their Medicare, even the ones who don’t seem to realize it’s a government program.

              It’s less generous than the plan we had before, but what the heck. By law, we had to get kicked onto it. The problem is that, like all Bismarckian programs, it is predicated on 19th century demographics. When started, people weren’t expected to live long enough to collect much from the program. That meant that receipts could be used to fund bridges to nowhere and bunny inspectors and federal advertizing assistance for sugar growers and so on. That is, the Medicare taxes were not placed in a Medicare account labelled “YOS,” but like SSA were slushed into the general fund to be used for whatever politicians needed for vote phishing. Now, alas, us Olde Phartes are living longer (somehow, given how terrible US healthcare is supposed to be) and there are fewer workers paying into the system. This cannot go on, and so it will stop. The impact of the sudden stop will smash a great deal.

  • Andrew Simons

    There are two problems here: (1) Scalia pronounced that there is no right of conscience to resist laws of general applicability. This pronouncement came in the Smith case, where he, and four other Justices (Ginbserg dissenting) concluded Oregon Indians didn’t have a right to smoke peyote and also receive state unemployment benefits. The mandate is a law of general applicability: it applies to all and doesn’t single out Catholic employers or Catholics. (2) Catholic social teaching permits remote participation in material evil, i.e., paying taxes that go toward immoral purposes, as long as we are not paying those taxes in order to further those immoral purposes.

    • Roki

      I’m not convinced that “laws of general applicability” is a good standard. I mean, the law to offer a pinch of incense to Caesar was a law of general applicability.

      Human laws should bend to serve moral laws, not vice versa.

  • Eve Fisher

    There are other reasons for birth control pills besides birth control, such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and the irregular (and sometimes dangerous) uterine bleeding that can accompany puberty and menopause. So, if a doctor prescribes the pill for a non-contraceptive purpose – and it’s often done – tell me about how an insurance company doesn’t have to cover it or supply it because of religious beliefs against birth control? Or a pharmacist doesn’t have to fill the prescription because THEIr religious beliefs oppose contraception? In other words, while yes, the pill is mainly used for contraception, it has medical reasons, and to for 3rd parties to make judgment calls on women’s health is… judgmental.

    • Illinidiva

      Probably the best way to deal with this issue is to allow the Pills used mainly for birth control to be sold OTC. Then it would mainly be the Pills used for medical issues that would be sold using a prescription.

      • Eve Fisher

        An excellent idea. Probably they should do the same with Viagra.

    • Elaine t

      The local Jesuit university here just dropped coverage of non-required contraception and abortion, because, they (eventually) explained the insurance companies finally provided a way to split medically necessary hormonal treatments for conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, etc. from non-medically necessary uses. Given that, it seems to me the fear that your insurance through your employer won’t cover medically necessary treatment is more of a bogeyman than real.

      Besides, having been through some scares with our daughter, I suspect that birth control pills are used more often as palliative ‘hide the problem’ than to actually fix whatever is going wrong. Birth control was always the first thing mentioned. We pushed for deeper looks and found the real problem with elsewhere, and she’s on medicine for the rest of her life, but it is the right medicine.

      • Eve Fisher

        I’m glad to hear it. Now the only thing to watch out for is the pharmacist. When you live in a rural state, and the nearest doctor/hospital/pharmacy is (for many people) 50 to 100 miles away, it’s a genuine concern.


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