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  • Mandating Coverage of Contraceptives Is Bad Health Policy

    This week, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its recommendation of women’s preventive services that should be covered with no co-pay or deductible under Obamacare—a list that included birth control and emergency contraception. While this raises important questions regarding social policy, it’s also relevant to the ongoing debate about Obamacare and the consequences of allowing bureaucracy to over-regulate health benefits.

    Obamacare’s requirements that health plans cover certain preventive measures with no cost-sharing were implemented through Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations in July of 2010, but as part of the new law, the department was to review preventive services specific to women’s health and can include further guidelines by amending the existing regulations. The IOM’s recommendations included a wide array of contraceptive and preventive measures, and whether all of the services make it on to the list is yet to be seen; however, the pressure from advocacy groups to ensure they do will be strong. The decision isn’t simply a question of providing women with “free” contraception, but rather a bad experiment in government micromanagement of health care that will end in higher premiums and fewer coverage choices for all Americans.

    As Heritage health policy expert Ed Haislmaier writes,

    The new federal benefit requirements represent a blatant assertion that Congress and federal bureaucrats know best how to design health insurance policies. The effects will be one-size-fits-all coverage—so that patients are not “confused” by having choices—and elimination of employers’ freedom to design their own self-insured plans.

    Many Americans find the use of birth control morally objectionable, and some women may simply have no need for a health plan that covers these services, based on any number of personal choices and other factors. Those that fall into this category would have no choice but to pay for unnecessary coverage if the recommendations are made law.

    Experiences with state-mandated health benefits show that mandating coverage doesn’t make certain services or treatments “free”—the insured pay for them in the form of higher premiums.

    Even left-leaning health economists like Jonathan Gruber have expressed that mandating more generous benefits will impose higher costs on private insurers, which would be passed on to patients. They warn that this would, in turn, increase the cost of Obamacare and its impact on the federal deficit by increasing the subsidies provided to purchase insurance in the new exchanges.

    Furthermore, as the Congressional Budget Office advised in November of 2009, “reduced cost sharing would lead to greater use of medical services, which would tend to push premiums up further.”

    If HHS takes an overly prescriptive approach regarding these particular measures, women who would prefer not to pay the higher premiums to carry health benefits they don’t need or to which they object won’t have that option.

    In a truly market-based insurance exchange, women would be able to choose a health plan that met their needs and was consistent with their values, and those who wished to forgo certain benefits would have the freedom to do so. If any attempt at health reform is to succeed at reducing costs and tailoring coverage to the specific needs of each individual, it must ensure that consumers are able to choose the plan and benefits that work best for them, rather than submitting to the decisions of a bureaucratic board.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Mandating Coverage of Contraceptives Is Bad Health Policy

    1. Bobbie says:

      this just disgusts me! The government should not be promoting, condoning, influencing, providing for personal acts of sex at anytime!!!!! It's personal and private and an expense that should be appropriated to those that choose the behavior. Government (democrats) refuses to acknowledge personal responsibilities that are in conflict with the government social agenda into "social" responsibilities, "social provisions."

      Public school should only educate biology as sex comes with natures course for each individual, (like it did for everyone before these terrible provisions and accommodations) and controlled influence (at an expense!) is absolutely unethical, immoral and not the role of government! Step government and THEIR expense aside from our and our children's personal lives!!!

    2. Peter says:

      Contraception is mortally sinful and totally diabolical. Many of those who call themselves conservatives have been corrupted by the liberal "values", but we really need a return to traditional moral values, as Pope Pius XI points out in Casti Connubii (#’s 53-56), Dec. 31, 1930
      “But no reason, however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good. Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural powers and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
      “Small wonder, therefore, if Holy Writ bears witness that the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death. As St. Augustine notes, ‘Intercourse even with one’s legitimate wife is unlawful and wicked where the conception of offspring is prevented.’ Onan, the son of Judah, did this and the Lord killed him for it (Gen. 38:8-10).

    3. George Colgrove, VA says:

      If you as a customer want a health care plan that covers contraceptives, then you go out into the market place and seek out a company that provides the best health care plan for the lowest cost. This is not a government function. The government should not be hiring insurance agents, adjusters, clerks, etc. The government should not have one nurse, one doctor, one hospital administrator, etc. These are not functions of the government. The government should not be offering healthcare plans. THis is all the function of the private sector. If the government did what it is supposed to do – which is predominately centered around securing the dollar, securing the nation and diplomacy, this discussion would not even be a thought in one's mind.
      This is a distraction. What might help is to force every congress member and federal worker to take ridaline. They seem to be suffering from a dangerous level of A.D.D.

    4. DinaK says:

      This issue goes beyond mandating what kind of health insurance/medical treatment each person must have – it's about the gov't imposing on a company what it must give away to its customers. There are already publicly – funded (tax payer dollars) free contraceptives – to impose on any company that it must provide a tangible costly good for free to any person is what is the most outrageous aspect of this new "recommendation."

    5. BPGasoline says:

      People should not derive their moral outlook on ancient literature.

      We will be a lot better off when religion is gone.

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