Contraceptives and contraceptive counseling should be a covered health benefit in all health insurance plans regardless of whether they are sponsored by a religious institution or not. Birth control is a woman’s health issue and not an issue of intercourse or religious liberty.
Contrary to the latest misconception about the birth control mandate of the PPACA, the no cost birth control is to be offered as part of health insurance from individual and family plans along with group health insurance plans. A tax payer subsidy would come into play only if the individual or family needs governement assistance to afford health insurance. There is no mandate that women have to use birth control.
Insurance companies and government programs want to provide birth control. From the stand point of the insurance company it is far cheaper to provide birth control than to cover the medical costs of delivering a child. Most individual policies state that maternity is not a covered benefit. The problem with delivering a baby is that there can be complications. These complications can lead to “medically necessary” life saving intervention for mother and child. The medically necessary expenses, after any deductible, will begin to be covered by the health insurance plan.
If health insurance companies had their way they wouldn’t even offer health insurance to women of child bearing potential. Ask any woman who has applied for an individual health insurance policy the type of questions they are asked about regarding her menstruation cycle. If any of her answers hint that she might be pregnant she is declined. Insurance companies don’t like unknown risks. Any woman, married or single, has the potential to get pregnant and cost the company money.
If you don’t want offer birth control, are you willing to pay for more government services that support children? If you take away birth control you will inevitably add children to such programs as Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Food Stamps, Women, Infants and Children’s program, Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid. It is far cheaper to prevent an unwanted pregnancy than to support the children from parents who might not be ready to handle the financial obligation.
Aside from reproductive rights of women, there are the productivity issues. Many women use birth control to regulate their cycle and reduce the pain associated with it. All of us have known women, who before their use of birth control, suffered greatly during the month. This pain reduces their productivity at work and home. If you are an employer wouldn’t you rather have a happy and productive female employee?The availability of no cost birth control is only one aspect of the many preventive health measures in healthcare reform. There are a variety of preventive office visits for men, women and children at no cost. The emphasis on prevention reflects the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Covered cost birth control benefits are not a religious liberty issue. Every woman, whether she is an employee or student of a religious institution, has the choice not to use contraceptives. Pehaps the greatest infringement of religious liberty occured when the Utah territory tried to gain admittance to the Union as a state. After a 46 years struggle, the Federal govenment was successful in forcing Utah to abondon her religious principal of plural marriage in order to gain statehood.
As a country we have moved forward with a whole host of protections for our citizens since our founding. Among the important milestones that have helped insure the health and safety of our citizens are regulations for clean air and water, civil rights legislation and programs such as Social Security, unemployment insurance and Medicare.
It is time we move forward with protecting the health of women. The active protection of women’s health in America will reduce government expenditures and increase the productivity and well being throughout our communities.