Thursday, February 16, 2012

I don't understand the birth control mandate

A recent CBS/New York Times poll reports that 66% of their respondents support "a recent federal requirement that private health insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control for their female patients?" Why?

I assume they'd argue that there are considerable public health and/or societal benefits to providing free access to birth control. I agree. But is this mandate really providing free access?

After all, this mandate is forcing for profit insurance companies to cover the full cost of birth control for their customers. Does anyone seriously believe that these companies are going to eat the costs of these contraceptives for the sake of the public? Remember, these are the guys that dropped & denied people with pre-existing conditions from their plans, to maintain their profit margins. Do we suddenly think they're going to want to subsidize birth control for their customers? More likely, they're just going to raise their premiums to make up for this new cost. If you pay for your insurance all on your own, your rates are going up, and you're still paying for your contraceptives.

What if your health insurance is subsidized by your employer? Do you get a break then? Well, once the insurance company raises its rates, your employer has to deal with the costs. Does anyone seriously believe employers are going to eat the costs? I'm guessing their going to find a way to pass the costs on to us, either by raising our required contributions to our healthcare plans, or by managing the compensation they give to their employees (i.e. hire less people, hire people at a lower rate/salary, reduce the amount of money they set aside for the following year's raises, etc.).

At the end of the day, the money's still coming out of our pockets. But that certainly won't stop politicians from taking credit for legislating "free birth-control" into existence, and duping a large portion of their electorate to praise them for it.

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