Obamacare

Dump the Contraception Mandate (and the Rest of Obamacare)

Religious people who oppose contraception are not the only people with rights against the government. No one should be subjected to government mandates.

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“Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.” â€"Oscar Wilde

In the wacky world of American politics, if you as an employer have a religious objection to paying for your employees’ contraceptives, it is you who is contemptuous of religious freedom.

As the New York Times editorial board lectured a judge who thinks otherwise, “the threat to religious liberty comes from employers trying to impose their religious views on workers.”

You read that correctly. Refusing to pay for other people’s birth-control products â€" more specifically, opposing a government mandate to pay â€" is equivalent to imposing your religious views.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) mandates not only that employers provide comprehensive medical insurance to their full-time employees, but also that the coverage include contraceptives â€" at no cost to employees. Because contraceptives are not found free in nature and insurance companies are for-profit businesses, not charitable foundations, this means that the explicit expense must be borne by employers.

This raises a host of issues. For example, if employers have to pay up front for their employees’ contraceptives, the money will likely be subtracted from some other form of compensation, perhaps other noncash benefits. So employees will pay after all; they just won’t realize it.

Moreover, the use of contraceptives is not an insurable event because it is a volitional action. Insurance was devised to provide financial protection against unlikely but costly happenings, such as major disease, fire, and storms. It was not supposed to be a way to get other people to pay for the routine things you want to buy.

Coverage for contraceptives is like fire insurance that covers arson committed by the policyholder. It’s the kind of thing that only government can bring into existence â€" by threatening those who fail to comply. The corruption of language is just one of many offenses here. (See my “Contraception: Insuring the Uninsurable.”)

As we know, some employers have a religious objection to contraception and therefore believe that their freedom of conscience is violated by the mandate that compels them to pay for their employees’ birth-control products. (Must I say that the validity of their moral views on contraception is irrelevant as far as justice is concerned?) When this objection was raised, the Obama administration came up with a confusing â€" and in the end, inconsequential â€" â€œaccommodation” for some religious organizations, but it fell far short of recognizing the right of all employers not to be forced to pay for other people’s contraception. (Of course, much more than this should have been challenged.)

Now, in the last two weeks, the mandate has taken a hit in the courts. A U.S. district judge in Brooklyn issued an injunction in favor of affiliates of the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York. Then Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily exempted a Colorado order of nuns from the mandate to keep it from being hit with big fines.

These and similar cases filed by for-profit companies will end up in the Supreme Court, and there’s no telling what will happen. Let’s recall that the court has already ruled that the government can force each of us to buy medical insurance as long as the penalty for not doing so is called a tax.

We need to hold the mandate’s advocates responsible for their base rhetoric. It is the government’s decree â€" not the employers who object to it â€" that violates religious liberty. Those who favor the mandate say repeatedly that employers who would refuse to pay for their employees’ contraceptives because of religious scruples would be denying women access to contraception. That is obviously a lie, sheer demagogy. No woman would be prohibited from obtaining contraceptive products because her employer refused to pay. Even if contraception were prohibitively expensive â€" which it is not â€" merely abstaining from paying would not constitute denial of access.

People who make such demagogic statements know the difference between denying access and merely choosing not to foot the bill, but they hope we won’t see the distinction. In other words, they insult our intelligence. (The news media are accomplices in this commission of base rhetoric. I’d like to know of one case in which a reporter asked Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, to defend her equation of the refusal to pay with the violation of the rights women.)

Next the mandate advocates throw up a smokescreen of irrelevancies, such as the benefits and widespread use of contraception. I call this irrelevant not because the claims are false, but because even if true, they do not justify compelling anyone to pay for someone else’s contraception.

That is the only point at issue. On what grounds can the government justly require employers to pay for their employees’ birth control services? There are none.

Finally, proponents of the mandate warn that if religious employers can opt out of paying for contraception, what’s to keep any employer from claiming a conscientious objection to all Obamacare (or other) mandates?

Nothing, I hope. We should welcome it. Religious people who oppose contraception are not the only people with rights against the government. No one should be subjected to government mandates. The only thing any of us can be legitimately required to do is abstain from initiating force and fraud against others. Enforceable decrees that go beyond that simple prohibition violate our rights and have no place in a civil society.

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46 responses to “Dump the Contraception Mandate (and the Rest of Obamacare)

  1. This is also my argument to anti-gun crowd.
    “I don’t believe in guns.”
    Then you should not be forced by the government to pay for theirs.

    1. Ah, but is it a *religious* disbelief?

      /the government

  2. Make the pill OTC. Boom, contraceptives are cheap.

    1. That would violate the rights of OBGYNs to make money off of the women…

    2. Just let us buy the stuff! It’s cheap even with a script and there is no reason whatsoever to keep it behind the doctor wall. I don’t know, are people concerned that prepubescents or evil men who want to slip it to their women will get their hands on it?

      1. I thought evil men wanted to impregnate women. Did Amanda Marcotte get something wrong?!?

        1. When was the last time Amanda Marcotte got something right?

  3. Now, Mr. Richman you are a warrior against women!

  4. Because if they came out and told the truth about why they believe this then that ugly word socialist would start to chaff in uncomfortable places and that would not help the Cause. So they just lie about it safe in the knowledge that their fellow travellers in the media will carry their water as long as it takes.

  5. The whole point of this is to muddle what rights really are. That is the entire end game to all of the left’s demagoguery. That way, they can tell you exactly what your rights are and what they are not. That is the ultimate power.

    1. Meaning that there are none.

  6. Kudos to Sheldon for the essay. Now we need to print off several million copies and airdrop them into big cities.

    1. He’s going to be arrested for litering if he tries that stunt!

      Unless his name was Hillary… And I don’t mean Edmund.

  7. We need to sue the government for denying us access to freedom.

  8. You read that correctly. Refusing to pay for other people’s birth-control products ? more specifically, opposing a government mandate to pay ? is equivalent to imposing your religious views.

    The left will tell you that the mere act of providing a paycheck for the labor of the workers is an act of aggression in itself, since the company or employer takes more from the labor than the worker takes as payment. Thus not paying for contraceptives is a way of imposing religious views by deprivement.

    The other argument they could posit to justify their reasoning is that the worker has little bargaining power compared to the employer because the employer has the money and the pool of unemployed workers from which to draw a substitute for any worker that objects.

    You know, this is the kind of thinking that was debunked so mercilessly by Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, but still refuses to die.

  9. Dump the contraception mandate!

    FIFY

    1. Dump Obamacare and while you’re at it, dump the worthless son of bitch it’s named for.

      1. Didn’t you hear, he’s not named for it anymore.

  10. People who make such demagogic statements know the difference between denying access and merely choosing not to foot the bill, but they hope we won’t see the distinction.

    Unfortunately they have succeeded so far, as a great number of people in America (and around the world) think that health insurance and health care is a right, that is something that belongs to each of us as a matter of moral principle.

    1. I agree with you but feel compelled to add that rights are things that government may not take away–not things that government must provide.

  11. How the fuck are mandates “pro-choice”?

    1. Cause the woman can choose to take them or not, but she can’t if its not mandated that they be free?

      1. But what about the choice of the person who is mandated to pay for it?

        1. Well that person is either enlightened and thus willing to pay for it or greedy and thus doesn’t deserve their ill gotten gains.

        2. Oh, you know – fuck him.

    2. Because “pro-choice” actually means “pro-the-choice-I-approve-for-you.”

  12. If Rand Paul does decide to run in 2016, he should express that he could care less if women took birth control and hell he will even try to introduce market competition and lessen the power of the FDA in order to make BC affordable. But also declare that people will not be forced to pay for other’s BC because just because the govenment won’t force others to pay for birth control does not mean you can’t get it. This War on Women bullshit needs to be neutralized with the quickness.

  13. Would you object if employers didnt have to cover all costs? Aka like most insurance I know of, contraceptives are reasonably cheap after insurance.

    Then, your use of “employers” is at least as bad of a bastardization of the mandate as the offense you claim for the definition of “insurance.” This doesn’t apply to every single individual who employs a single person. This is extremely misleading to anyone who thinks it actually affects every employer.

    Finally, your “definition of insurance” argument is a little absurd. Insurance covering fire, tornados, and earthquakes is hardly comparable to health insurance. You try to save this by mentioning disease, but no one wants a system that only covers disease. A couple uninsured nights in the hospital for pneumonia is thousands.

    Therefore, since health insurance should cover more than disease, would you calm down if female employees had to pay part of the cost, as with insurance now?

    1. Many employers don’t offer coverage of ANY kind, especially if you work part time. Around the mid 2000s I worked for a private school which offered a plan that took money out of my pay. I declined.

      I’m pretty sure that pneumonia is a disease. Insurance will cover such a condition, because there’s no way you can totally control when and where you will get infected. Pregnancy is pretty much a choice. It’s no different than plastic surgery or lasik.

      Insurance is a safeguard against the unknown. If it paid for everything that theoretically improved your health, the cost is going to skyrocket. Mos people who bought catastrophic plans that excluded maternity leave or mental health made a calculated decision.

    2. You try to save this by mentioning disease, but no one wants a system that only covers disease.

      Define “disease” as “when I’m sick or injured enough to need professional medical care” and that’s exactly what I want. Health insurance should be like homeowner insurance.

      If I want an annual check-up or a flu shot I should be able to shop around for the one I want at the price I want to pay, not have Congress mandate it. And I don’t need birth control, as a huge majority of people don’t.

  14. contrary to popular Left-wing opinion, the choice to have sex is just that a choice. For some periods of my life I chose not to engage in sexual activity for periods in my life and I was fine with that. If I had then I could easily have bought my own contraceptives.
    Contraception is not a part of health care because the use is not a medical necessity. People can and do live without sex or contraceptives for periods in their lives.
    Many women and men are sterile- had vasectomies or tubular ligation and hysterectomies and have absolutely no need for contraception. Therefore coverage for contraception and pregnancy is a complete waste of money.

  15. contrary to popular Left-wing opinion, the choice to have sex is just that a choice. For some periods of my life I chose not to engage in sexual activity for periods in my life and I was fine with that. If I had then I could easily have bought my own contraceptives.
    Contraception is not a part of health care because the use is not a medical necessity. People can and do live without sex or contraceptives for periods in their lives.
    Many women and men are sterile- had vasectomies or tubular ligation and hysterectomies and have absolutely no need for contraception. Therefore coverage for contraception and pregnancy is a complete waste of money.

    1. Re: JRS1001,

      Contraception is not a part of health care because the use is not a medical necessity.

      It becomes a medical necessity when one considers that children are icky and a stumbling block towards the way to breaking the glass ceiling. So tell me many feminists.

  16. An explanation of the cost structure of the ACA, for those interested. Any feedback is much appreciated. Good luck.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..tY8gZ4QD3u

  17. Best explination I have found yet.

  18. it it so interesting reading the comments here and then comparing them to one’s on Facebook. Huge difference. More trolls on Facebook for sure lol

  19. I’m afraid “free BC for you and me” is a done deal.

    The really interesting part will come when Congress takes the inevitable next step and starts mandating what kind will be provided.

    “If you like your birth control method, you can keep your birth control method. Well, unless it’s substandard. Then there will be a bronze method, and a silver method, and a gold method. And a website to sign up on. But it will still be free, just like ACA is free.”

    Then there will be Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth.

  20. Will Obamacare be repealed or won’t it? Will Congress fund it or won’t it? Will the web site be fixed or not? Blah, blah, blah. We the people just need to do what we need to do and Congress be damned. Resist. Refuse. Revolt. EXEMPT OURSELVES! We did not comply with Prohibition and we simply should not comply with Obamacare. For religious reasons. For privacy reasons. For the cause of liberty and freedom and in protest of the idea that the federal government (under one party rule, no less), can force private citizens to purchase anything with our own money. Are we citizens or subjects? Mice or (wo)men? Just say NO to socialism and to the corrupt, unionized, far left IRS: the gestapo of America’s political class. After all, the federal government ignores millions of illegals who are breaking U.S. immigration law every day. Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. All we have to do is just say no to a scheme we all know is un-American and a violation of our most basic founding fundamentals of privacy, self reliance, limited government and individual freedom.

  21. How To Opt Out Of Obamacare
    Know your options and become savvy self-pay patients. Join a health care sharing ministry. These are voluntary, charitable membership organizations that agree to share medical bills among the membership. They function similar to insurance, and are probably the best alternative to conventional health insurance. There are four of them, at least that I know of. Three are open only to practicing Christians (Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Christian Care Ministry) while a fourth, Liberty HealthShare, is open to anyone who agrees with their ethical commitment to religious liberty. They operate entirely outside of Obamacare’s regulations, and typically offer benefits for about half the cost of similar health insurance. Members are also exempt from having to pay the tax for being uninsured. From the article by Sean Parnell

    http://thefederalist.com/2013/…..iM_o.email

    1. +1 to both your comments. Thank you, I think the author has a great point about opting out, but still be responsible.

  22. I have to return to the Reason forums after posting on Brietbart and Politico just to have a touchstone to sanity. Thank you to most contributors for dwelling in the realm of the ethical. Ethical becomes in unreal world in so many debates.

  23. If my employer is mandated to pay form Contraception, why not my taxi?

    My co-worker, Ms Jane Doe, goes out on Saturday night to have sex and demands free Contraception to prevent an unwanted baby. I go out drinking on Saturday night. Should I demand a free taxi to prevent an unwanted corpse?

  24. up to I saw the check of $8495, I did not believe …that…my best friend actualy earning money part time from their computer.. there friend brother started doing this 4 only fourteen months and as of now cleared the dept on there appartment and got a top of the range Ariel Atom. website here
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