February 19, 2012,
L._. asks from Lakeside, CA on February 18, 2012
The Birth Control Debate...
Not wanting to be difficult to the people below saying that this is a settled issue... It doesn't seem to be settled. This headline on Foxnews this morning shows that it's far from settled.
""States attack 'Obamacare' with birth control bills, would allow insurance companies to ignore new contraception rule""
I have said since the beginning that Obamacare was a huge waste of time. Just like Hillary was never able to overhaul the healthcare problems. He hasn't done it either. States are filing lawsuits right and left and 2014 is a ways off. Obama will not be president by then and the whole thing will start all over.
Everyone agrees that we have problems. No one agrees what the answers are.
I normally don't get that into these discussions. But since it's literally everywhere right now, I've been thinking about it.
I really don't think that they are playing fair with this. There are all kinds of drugs that are considered optional to take and insurance companies do NOT pay for them. It's no different than a company saying they will pay a small percentage of high cost drugs or a higher percentage of a generic. A lot of companies will not pay for a diet drug unless the doctor is willing to state that the weight issue is causing health risks that are significant. Someone like myself that is overweight, but my cholesterol is low, my bloodpressure is low, I'm not on any chronic meds, I'm not borderline diabetic, forget it. My insurance companies are not going to pay for it.
Furthermore, my husbands companies have shopped plans yearly as I'm sure many of yours have. So I've been with most every major carrier. I've had 4 children and 7 miscarriages. So the question of getting my tubes tied has come up several times. I never did it. But if I had, it would have come out of my own pocket for at least a few of those companies.
No one in the Catholic church is saying that they would fire an employee or take any other action against an employee for taking birth control. They simply don't want to pay for it. Why is that any different than saying that if a person wants more than 1 visit to the choropractor, it's out of their own pocket or that this or that company will only pay for 3 visits to a counselor or that this or that company is not paying for hearing aids. A lot of companies won't pay for hearing aids. A lot of companies don't offer any eye glasses or payment towards seeing an eye doctor. Then there is acne medicine. My daughter wanted to see a dermatologist for acne treatment. The company we had would pay for the visit, but not any drugs or cream for treatment of acne.
This debate is definitely not about birth control. It's about the government thinking they have a right to dictate far too many regulations and standards in American business. If you don't like what your insurance company offers, get a new policy on your own. If you don't like your job, get a new job.
My question.... When will the intrusiveness ever end? Are we going too far in general with government intervention into our lives? That's always been my passionate plea.
So What Happened?™
KN.. I agree that it's hard to make the premiums and we too are paying huge rates for a healthy family. I don't go to the doctor ever and I treat with herbals and just suffer rather than go. BUT, protection and providing are two different things. Our military protects us from those that seek to kill and terrorize us. WE the people are the government and WE can't afford the best of the best.
I think it's a bit like what goes on in our homes from week to week. This morning I was discussing what we had to spend on groceries this week. My mother wanted to take advantage of orange juice sales. I told her that even the sale is more expensive than I am willing to pay right now. Certain luxury fruits and fresh mushrooms and a few other things are simply off the table until I have the dollars for them. I don't expect the government to come in and fix my budget cash flow issues.
I didn't hear about the compromise and I'm really glad it's settled. I was getting pretty sick of hearing about it :)
B.B. answers from Missoula on February 18, 2012
I would send a million flowers to Zee E. if I could. What a thoughtful, intelligent answer.
I agree 100%.
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L.S. answers from San Francisco on February 18, 2012
Whose intrusiveness is okay? Is it okay for an employer, due to his/her particular beliefs to dictate health care choices for employees? Why is there always a railing against government intrusiveness on issues like health care when the employers are doing the exact same thing....taking away private decisions from their employees?
Why is the employer's religious freedom more important than the employees? What if an employer is of a religion that does not believe in a certain kind of medical treatment, such as Jehovah's Witnesses? Does that mean that employees of this person must have health insurance that does not pay for those procedures (like blood transfusions)? Do all of the people who work for this employer have to conform to the proper behavior of his or her religion? Why? Because they are the employer? Go get another job? Really, what if you get into an even worse situation?
This is all more than a little paternalistic and it is clearly a violation of basic human rights. Feudalism ended quite a long time ago, I think.
I am beginning to wonder, seriously wonder about the republican party. I mean, first the whole Komen thing and the railing against planned parenthood. Now this. What century do these men think we are living in? If you want to prevent abortions, then you provide low income women with health care and birth control at places like Planned Parenthood. If you want to reduce poverty, make sure that women have access to birth control. If you want to create economic stability in a community, you allow women (working women) to have access to birth control through their work provided health insurance. Why attack both? Why seek to take money away from Planned Parenthood and to argue against insurance-provided birth control unless you WANT voters to conclude that politically you have contempt for poor and working women? I do not understand the Republican platform of less government, unless it has something to do with an individual's sex life. I mean, do they expect people to just stop having sex?
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L.U. answers from Seattle on February 18, 2012
You're right!!! I should just go out there and get another job! How stupid of me. It's so easy. Anyone would hire me and immediately pay me a living wage! Who cares that unemployment is so high...those people must not be looking hard enough. Why didn't I think of that?
You're right!! I SHOULD just go out there and get insurance. I mean, it's so cheap and easy! I am sure that a plan would just scoop us right up and charge us a fair deal.
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Z.E. answers from Washington DC on February 18, 2012
First and foremost, I have to say that it both angers and saddens me that it's 2012 and there are still people, let alone women, who think it's OK for a religious organization run exclusively by men to decide what women can have. Whether you think birth control should be covered by all insurance plans or not is hardly the issue; it's whether you think it's appropriate for a bunch of men to make that decision for you. It makes me sad that you are arguing against your own right to have the widest variety of medical benefits available to you.
2. Considering some of the other recently-passed regulations prohibiting or requiring various things, a requirement that insurance policies provide coverage for some of the most frequently prescribed drugs and devices seems like a curious place to plant your flag. How is requiring your employer to provide insurance that covers contraceptives any intrusion on you, anyway? You are free to take or leave both the policy and the prescription.
3. Refusal BY AN EMPLOYER to cover contraceptives (or any other device, drug or procedure) on moral grounds is COMPLETELY different than refusal BY AN INSURANCE COMPANY to cover something on cost/benefit grounds. It at least makes some sense that an insurance company wouldn't want to cover a device/drug/procedure that hasn't been proven effective, or for which there is a less costly alternative, but it makes no sense whatever for either to refuse to provide coverage for safe, effective, widely used and medically necessary treatments. (Hormonal birth control IS medically necessary for many women, and the GOP is still trying to make it possible for employers to refuse to cover it.) This is particularly true with contraceptives, considering how much more expensive it is to cover pregnancy and childbirth.
4. I believe the government has a real and substantial vested interest in the health of its citizens. The US is one of the only first world countries (along with Mexico and Turkey) that does not offer guaranteed minimum health care to every citizen, AND we spend more to get less. The US spends twice as much per person for a system that doesn't cover everyone than countries that provide universal health care, and we are not healthier. Our infant mortality rate is two or three times that of most of Western Europe. Because we do not provide well for all American children, we are falling behind the rest of the world in every metric: on average, American children are poorer, sicker, and less educated, PARTICULARLY in math and science, than their European and Asian counterparts. Under the OLD (pre-Affordable Care Act) system that you seem eager to return to, the average family health insurance premium is projected to be $24,000 per year by 2020, putting it well out of the reach of most families. Employers will either stop offering it, require employees to pay more for it, or cut salaries. Without change, health care will become a luxury. If you think a law that at least attempts to address these issues is "a waste of time," I have to wonder what you consider a good use of time.
5. Employer sponsored health insurance plans are a part of total compensation, and they belong TO THE EMPLOYEE, like salary or a retirement plan. There is absolutely no meaningful difference between giving an employee a health insurance plan that covers contraceptives and paying an employee a salary that will be used to buy contraceptives, so the "they just don't want to pay for it" argument is a ridiculous smokescreen. Catholic employers ARE paying for it, and they will continue to pay for it, even if they decide to stop offering health insurance to their employees altogether.
6. Regulations and standards are what keep American business, whose sole purpose for existing is to make money, from harming you to do it. Left to their own devices, businesses would naturally seek to spend as little as possible producing the goods and services they sell. In other words, if it costs a company money to keep the factory that makes your food free of roaches and rats, they won't bother unless forced to do so. And health care is not like other kinds of enterprise; there is no room for laissez faire where people's lives are at risk. If a company makes something that breaks the second time you use it, maybe no big deal. But if a company makes drugs without testing them and people die, that's a pretty big deal. And because of the stupid way the US delivers health care (through insurance policies that are organized and often paid for by employers), your employer effectively has a monopoly on your health insurance business; you take what they offer, or go without. In that case, where people have almost no choice about their health insurance, I believe that the government has an interest in making sure that everyone's health insurance policy provides a MINIMUM level of preventive benefits, and comprehensive contraceptive coverage is one of the MINIMUM preventive benefits advised by the Institute of Medicine. It's not like the government has dictated to employers what they must cover and for how much all across the board; the Essential Health Benefits package represents a drop in the ocean compared to the universe of available drugs, devices and procedures that employers/insurers are free to cover or not however they choose.
6. "If you don't like what your insurance company offers, get a new policy on your own. If you don't like your job, get a new job." Self-insuring is expensive, especially a policy with prescription drug benefits. Most people would be better off taking their employer's coverage and paying out of pocket for whatever that policy doesn't cover than trying to get better coverage as an individual. (Personally, I would rather see employees have the option of taking the policy OR the cash to buy their own, but that's not how we do it here.) The unemployment rate has been hovering near 9% for years, there are 14 million Americans out of work, and it takes an average of three months to find a new job. So neither of your suggestions is particularly reasonable, nor helpful. Again, I have to wonder why you're so bitter about something that will have zero negative effect on you.
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☆.A. answers from Pittsburgh on February 18, 2012
L., no disrespect but I think you need to do a lot more research on this....and to do that you really do want to seek out unbiased, factual sources for that information.
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E.B. answers from Seattle on February 18, 2012
''Not wanting to be difficult to the people below saying that this is a settled issue... It doesn't seem to be settled. This headline on Foxnews this morning shows that it's far from settled.''
I can not even begin to respond because the first line ended it for me here....You got your information from FOX NEWS...The Corporation who as openly said that they do not care about the REAL reporting on issues...They will spin a story or anything to make it good in their ears and the ears of the Conservative viewers.
Nothing they speak on is FACTUAL information.
When FOX news stops lying, then I will view them as a credible source of information....Until then any information said to have been gotten from the channel is hog wash and not accurate.
First step in fixing this country....TURN OFF FOX NEWS.
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★.O. answers from Tampa on February 18, 2012
I don't know about you, but I will absolutely be voting for Obama again... as for Obamacare, I stood staunchly behind it's original hard edge reform, but due to Obama's attempt to placate the unplacatable Republicans' - the watered down version doesn't do much of anything but DOES set the stage for better improvements, improvements that would take years within themselves if Obamacare had not ever passed at all.
Next you and those who feel birth control isn't an important issue will agree that insurances who don't even cover maternity care (how the hell can THAT even be legal) can still charge child bearing age women more just because they COULD have a child.
We need to scrap the current health insurance fiasco - close them ALL down then have them start anew. Eye care, hearing care, dental care, severe skin issues, birth control, behavior/mental care, etc should ALL be covered in a basic health insurance package. Men requesting viagra and the other erection drugs should be charged a premium fee, because most erectile dysfunctions are caused by lifestyle and diet issues and can be helped in less expensive ways. Birth control on the other hand cannot be altered or aided by exercise, eating right or sleeping more and should absolutely be covered no matter what plan you have.
Why is it ok for the government to try and force their way into your sex lives, saying women are not allowed to consider abortion as a choice - - but they can deny a woman the ability to ensure a pregnancy never occurs? That makes NO SENSE.
Obamacare isn't trying to make sure every citizen wakes up a 7am every morning - you know something stupid or unneccessary - they are trying to ensure their citizens have and use health care because as it is now, before Obamacare, health insurance was for the elite - because eventho your job carries insurance, doesn't mean you can afford to take it AND still pay for co-pays and medication premiums.
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J.B. answers from Atlanta on February 18, 2012
Birth control should have to be covered as basic healthcare -period. I personally don't care what some institution believes is right or not. The Catholic church and their "celibate" Popes and priests need to come out of the middle ages anyway. So many of the worlds problems would be solved if more people used birth control! At any rate -fine -if some religious institution doesn't like the federal rule -then they can start paying taxes. They get enough breaks! I find it INCREDIBY offensive and ludicrous that those who have SUCH an issue with this being SO intrusive are the same people who want to tell me I can't terminate a pregnancy or that if I'm having gay sex -I'm a horrible sinner. Intrusive -THOSE things are intrusive. Requiring institutions to pay for what should be considered the most basic of health care is not.
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P.M. answers from Portland on February 18, 2012
Sharon E's response mirrors my thoughts. Excellent summary.
And like Laura U points out, there is nothing simple, or often even possible, about changing jobs if the one you have doesn't offer the right bennies. Since 2008, people gratefully take any crummy job, just to keep their families fed and housed. There may be little or nothing left over to buy insurance or take needed trips to the doctor.
Not much employment has ever been available in the small towns where I have lived, and big cities are too toxic for my chemical sensitivities. I do wonderful work that suits me, in a job I helped create. But the pay is low, and the small company I work for isn't big enough to qualify for a group health plan, period. So I've purchased a private policy for over 25 years. It used to cost "only" a third of my income. Now it's nearly half. And the deductible is so high, it pays for NONE of my actual medical care. Not a penny. And it has exclusions for conditions and injuries I was born with or developed early in life.
I cannot get a policy anywhere that will give me better terms (I've looked, many times). This is the norm today. So hearing "Just get another job or another policy" is pure absurdity. Those jobs, and those policies, DO. NOT. EXIST. for the vast majority of Americans. Are YOU poised to be hired by a wealthy company with comprehensive benefits? Very few of your fellow citizens are – and those jobs are filled quickly when they do open up.
I've put off many pressing health issues for decades, including surgery to correct a childbirth injury, that would simplify my life in ways that most women can simply take for granted. But I can't trade that comfort for my financial future, or I would have invested my retirement account 20 years ago in this surgery.
I can't see how my health situation is my fault, and yet people who have insurance they can count on to meet their everyday needs seem to believe I shouldn't get medical care I can't pay for. So, mostly I don't. And I'm only one of millions of your neighbors and fellow citizens who are uninsured, or underinsured, or otherwise unable to get needed care for their families, unless they go to an ER for THE most expensive care available. The cost of which gets passed on to all of us as higher medical and insurance bills.
So, the very normal, everyday human needs of people like me, families and children, intrude into your life every day, whether you notice it or not, affecting the cost of your health care, the condition of your neighborhood, and now even your ability to sell your home and move to a more prosperous area. Most of the people I know work as hard and creatively as any CEO or upper-management wonk, scrambling to keep from drowning. I have worked two jobs (and the stress wrecked my health for several years), and I know other families who do the same – three or even four jobs between two parents. Without benefits.
These are good people, just like you, who love their children, worship in your church, contribute to society and pay taxes, and they can't get a break. What little they have is being drained away by an economy that was gutted by greedy, wealthy investors and banks. And their fellow citizens blame them. For what? For not having the foresight to have the right job before the crash? For living in a community that has no high-paying jobs available? For having work that is needed to keep industry profitable, but not is valued enough to be given a living wage or health insurance?
Your question is about intrusiveness. You are apparently living a comfortable enough life that you don't see the desperation and inequality around you – much of which could have been prevented by policies and regulations that keep wealthy and powerful corporations from playing with and preying upon the rest of us. That's not intrusive. That's common sense. Governments are formed to protect their citizens. Threats and instability can arise from within, as well as without.
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