Why aren’t health insurance companies joining the religious groups against this mandate?
All of us should remember the old adage that goes “if one can frame the debate, one wins the debate.” Without fully realizing it, libertarians and fiscal conservatives all too often allow the left to frame the debate. The left has framed the birth control mandate debate as a battle between pro- and anti-birth control advocates. Leftist political pundit Rachel Maddow has claimed that the GOP is declaring a “war on birth control.” But that is entirely misleading; the real debate is between individual rights vs. government force.
Those opposed to the mandate are not necessarily against birth control. Some are but many are not. The left often accuses libertarians and fiscal conservatives of being opposed to a certain good or service just because we do not want it provided or mandated by the government. This intellectually dishonest debate tactic has been used for centuries in attempts to discredit free market supporters.
As Frédéric Bastiat wrote in his timeless book The Law, “socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.” READ MORE
Offended by President Obama’s decision to force health insurers to pay for contraception and surgical sterilization? It gets worse: In the future, thanks to ObamaCare, the government will issue such health edicts on a routine basis—and largely insulated from public view. This goes beyond contraception to cancer screenings, the use of common drugs like aspirin, and much more.
Under ObamaCare, a single committee—the United States Preventative Services Task Force—is empowered to evaluate preventive health services and decide which will be covered by health-insurance plans.
The task force already rates services with letter grades of “A” through “D” (or “I,” if it has “insufficient evidence” to make a rating). But under ObamaCare, services rated “A” or “B”—such as colon cancer screening for adults aged 50-75—must be covered by health plans in full, without any co-pays. Many services that get “Cs” and “Ds”—such as screening for ovarian or testicular cancer—could get nixed from coverage entirely.
That’s because mandating coverage for all the “A” and “B” services will be very costly. In 2000, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the marginal cost of similar state insurance mandates was 5%-10% of total claims. Other estimates put the cost of mandates as high as 20% of premiums.
Health plans will inevitably choose to drop coverage for many services that don’t get a passing grade from the task force and therefore aren’t mandated. Insurance companies will need to conserve their premium money, which the government regulates, in order to spend it subsidizing those services that the task force requires them to cover in full.
Americans first became familiar with the task force in November 2009, when it made the controversial decision to recommend that women ages 40-49 shouldn’t get routine mammograms. More recently, it rebuffed routine prostate-cancer screening and the use of tests that detect the viruses that can cause cervical cancer.
The task force relishes setting a very high bar. Like the Food and Drug Administration in approving new drugs, it usually requires a randomized, prospective trial to “prove” that a diagnostic test or other intervention improves clinical outcomes and therefore deserves a high grade of “A” or “B.”
This means its advice is often out of sync with conventional medical practice. For example, it recommended against wider screening for HIV long after such screening was accepted practice. As a result, many of its verdicts are widely ignored by practicing doctors. READ MORE