Saturday, February 11, 2012

Free Lunch For All

I don’t get this latest political controversy in the first place, and I sure as hell don’t get the so-called “accommodation” which Obama offered. To begin with I had no "dog in the hunt," because birth control is a nonissue for me and I believe that health insurance should provide it at no cost just as I believe that auto insurance should provide oil changes at no cost.

Well, okay, maybe not. If health insurance is going to provide daily routine health care, then women’s reproductive preventive care should be part of it.

So the health insurance plans offered by employers must include contraception, and the premium cost is shared between the employer and the employee. Religious organizations freak out because they don’t want to be forced to pay for something that they don’t believe in. Churches are outraged, Republicans are delighted and Democrats are dismayed. Why would Obama do something this controversial in an election cycle?

Well, it worked didn’t it? We’re not talking about the economy, jobs and the unemployment rate. We’re talking about how the fate of the nation rests on who pays the cost of birth control pills. That was his goal, to distract us from talking about issues for which he has no solution. In all fairness, nobody has any solution for that, really, but that is beside the point. Talking about that hurts him, so he wants to be sure we don’t.

Maybe if we talked about it more something could be done that would at least help create jobs and reduce unemployment, but he doesn’t care about that. He cares about getting reelected.

Unfortunately for Obama, he forgot that many Democrats are also Roman Catholics, and Catholics can be even more intransigent and unreasonable than Tea Partiers, so he is forced to beat a hasty retreat. His hasty retreats are often conceived deep in the recesses of his Harvard mind, and he really should vet them with someone on this planet before trotting them out.

He says that “the religious employer will not be required to provide contraception coverage, but her insurance company will be required to offer contraceptive care free of charge.”

Now, trying to describe what’s wrong with this is sort of like trying to describe the Aurora Borealis to a blind man. I mean, you know what the Northern Lights look like, but how do you put it into words? Similarly you can smell the dead fish in his statement, here, but how do you define the components of the odor?

We’ll start with contraception being offered not by the employer but by the insurance company hired by the employer. If a man kills his wife he’s a murderer, but if he hires someone else to do it he’s not a murderer? So churches are fine with, “I’m not okay with contraception, but I’m okay with hiring someone else to do it for me.”

Or is it a case of the church saying that they actually don’t mind providing contraception to their employees, they just had a moral objection to paying for it and are willing to accept it for free?

According to the statement, the service is being offered “free of charge.” Well, what if someone comes up to that insurance carrier and says that they don’t want any of the other services, but they do want the “free contraception” which they offer? Even drunks figured out long ago that the “free lunch” at the neighborhood bar was not really free.

And how does is government able to dictate to a business that it must provide a service and not be paid for it? More specifically, it must do that based on religion, because it must provide that service to religious customers without payment, but may require payment from secular customers. Not only is that an unwarranted government interference with a business’ ability to conduct its affairs, but it seems to me to be government favoritism toward religious institutions and therefor unconstitutional.

What if Obama walked into, say, Target and started walking through the store and marking items at random and saying, "You have to give this item away free to anyone who is a Catholic," next week? Would we all applaud?

Unfortunately, this “accommodation” will probably hold up, because Democrats are too loyal to point out the flaws in it and Republicans are too stupid to even notice them.


  1. Consider also that much of the health insurance offered by employers is not true insurance (and thus not covered by laws that govern insurance) but self funded plans, wherein the cost of services used is paid by the company, which pays the insurance company a fee to simply administer the plan. Just to obfuscate things further.

  2. then of course there is the simple notion that you can require the insurers provide it (whether it is self-funded or not), but the insured person DOES NOT HAVE TO use it... ultimately it's up the the woman to use contraception or not.

    It will probably result in lawsuits and more furor - but if it's distracting the voters, why not? everything seems to be fair game anymore..