From Investors Business Daily.
The ObamaCare legislation gives the administration the authority to compile a list of female preventive services that all new health insurance plans will have to cover without employing deductibles or charging co-payments. A medical advisory panel is recommending that birth control services should be one of these services.
The committee from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine that issued the guidelines also suggests that free breast-pump rentals, counseling for domestic violence, annual wellness exams and HIV tests be part of all health insurance plans.
These mandates won’t come without significant costs. The additional benefits won’t be free, despite the left’s loose usage of that word in association with health care. The mandates will force insurance premiums higher and someone will pay.
The Congressional Budget Office said years ago that existing mandates at the state level — there are more than 2,000 of them, according to the Council for Affordable Health Insurance — raise premiums by 15%.
That’s just a starting point. CAHI, which has done heavy work on this issue, believes that state mandates push premiums up by 20%. In some states, the increase can be as high as 50%. The result is a cost curve that bends upward, not down.
Mandates at the state level run from the expected to the bizarre. They require insurers to provide such unorthodox coverage as wigs (hair prostheses), Oriental medicine, port-wine stain elimination, smoking cessation, acupuncture, midwives, counseling, and marriage, occupational and massage therapists.
As we’ve noted before on these pages, the state mandates are an insult to common sense. Why would a single man need an insurance package that covers in vitro fertilization, maternity leave, midwives, breast reduction or mammograms?
Does it make sense for a childless, unmarried woman to be forced into a plan that includes care for a newborn and screening for prostate cancer? And is there any reason a teetotaler’s policy should cover alcohol abuse?
These regulations are not only asinine, they wreck the health insurance marketplace. The longer the list of mandates, the less competition there is. When insurers have to carry these gold-plated packages, they can’t compete with lower-priced plans that have fewer benefits. This can price some customers entirely out of the private market.
Here’s a post from Ruth Blog that makes the financial aspects clearer, using “free” contraception as an example.
First of all, preventive medicine implies the prevention of a pathological condition. Pregnancy is anything but pathological. Artificial contraception is an elective medical therapy for those desiring to block a totally normal and healthy physical condition. Not only is contraception elective, but the decision to have sex should be elective as well.
Secondly… If an unmarried woman makes the conscious decision to be sexually active, it seems she should also bear the consequences of such a decision. Her partner should be willing to share any burdens of the relationship, including the financial cost of sexual relations. If a woman is not in a stable relationship, it seems unreasonable to demand someone else has to pay for her sexual dalliances.
[...]Sexual activity is elective. Preventing the normal consequence of sexual activity, pregnancy, is elective. The use of artificial contraception to prevent pregnancy is a personal lifestyle choice, not a medically recommended therapy. Therefore, artificial contraception should not be considered mandated preventive medical care. In these tight fiscal times, we cannot afford to be too inclusive with what constitutes preventive medicine.
Note that the artificial conception would be free for women who want to have children without fathers. And we know how that works out.
The Heritage Foundation points out that mandates actually reduce the freedom and prosperity of women who don’t use these services.
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.
[...]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.
There is no opt out for moral women when these things are mandated as minimum coverages in every policy. There is no escape. My fear is that women would be forced to pay for these services and then feel obligated to use them since that is the only way to get any value for the money that is being forcibly extracted from them.
What health care mandates really achieve is 1) to buy votes from the providers of the mandated services, and 2) to transfer wealth from people who don’t want or need these elective services (e.g. – single chaste Christian men) to people who need it because of their own elective lifestyle choices. And the more I have to pay to subsidize other people’s breast implants, contraceptives, STI treatments, abortions and in vitro fertilizations, the less I can afford to do the things that I want to do, which isn’t fair. My money is my money, and their money is their money. I should be allowed to keep what I earn and buy only the health care that I need. I have other uses for that money. Let the government do-gooders find some other way to boost their self-esteem instead of playing Robin Hood with health care.
Filed under: News, Abortion, Breast Implants, Contraception, Crony Capitalism, Elective, Federal, Health Insurance, Health-care, In Vitro Fertilization, IVF, Moral Hazard, Pregnancy, State, Values