Health insurance

The New Contraception Mandate: Free Male Sterilization

Vermont joins Maryland in extending the "free birth control" mandate to cover vasectomies.


Francis Storr/Flickr

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) did indeed sign the "Contraceptive Equity Act" into law yesterday, mandating that the state's health insurers cover emergency contraception and vasectomies at no out-of-pocket cost to consumers. The measure has been much-hyped by Maryland lawmakers and reproductive-health care groups as the first state expansion on Obamacare's contraception mandate. But that distinction will be short-lived, as Vermont has now passed a similar requirement for insurers to cover male sterilization without any co-payment permitted.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) is expected to sign the measure, which passed the state Senate and House earlier this month.

Specifically, the bill codifies the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception mandate—the controversial requirement that health insurance plans offer a range of female birth control options at no out-of-pocket cost to enrollees—into Vermont law; allows women to obtain up to one-year's supply of birth control pills at once (previously three months' worth was the limit); and add the male sterilization surgeries known as a vasectomies to the list of birth control options that insurers must offer "free" of charge. 

Obviously, the more "free" services that legislators require insurers to offer, the more insurance companies will raise premiums or otherwise adjust their business models to make up the difference. But shifting the cost of preventing unwanted pregnancies from reproductive-age women and men to all Americans seems to be a major new policy goal. The Maryland measure even managed to pass with strong bipartisan support. 

Vermont's bill was sponsored by Rep. Chris Pearson, a member of the Progressive Party. Birth control "is a family decision in many cases, and we should not pretend that this burden only falls to women," he told Vermont public radio. "[It should] reflect the reality in that many, many cases, families make this decision together, and that's appropriate."

Families can of course make decisions together without needing them subsidized, but hey. Maybe Pearson's rhetoric sounds legit if you don't listen too hard. 

The new state contraception mandates are already drawing objections from religious groups that oppose all methods of birth control. Catholic Deacon Pete Gummere noted that the Catholic Church's opposition to "artificial" prevention of pregnancy does include vasectomies, and argued that Catholic employers shouldn't be required to offer health-insurance plans that they consider an affront to their religious principles. This was the argument at the center of the 2014 Supreme Court case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, in which the Court granted a religious exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate. We may soon see the issue transferred to state courts if this new contraception mandate catches on. 

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  1. In for a penny, in for a pound?

    1. Huh, I would have a birth-control thread would be the place to work in the one about a bird in the hand being better than a bird in the bush.

      1. One if by hand, two if by cesarean?

  2. So now I not only have to pay for maternity coverage that I don’t need, I also have to pay for contraception coverage that I don’t need. Thanks Obama!

    1. Those other people’s reproductive capacity? I didn’t build that.

  3. Is this one of those goals of social justice that ENB believes are so noble? Asking for a friend.

    1. It’s hard to say for sure. As a left-liberal professional fake libertarian, Brown normally loves these “free shit” big government programs, like Planned Parenthood.

      However, she’s also a man-hating lipstick lesbian, so it’s possible she resents these public monies behind stolen from her Feminazi brethren on behalf of evil men.

      1. Wow, did she turn you down for a date?

        You could have been 100% as skeptical without being a gratuitously nasty. Instead you make unwarranted assumptions and puerile ad hominems.

        TL;dr – You’re a giant cunt.

        1. I’m happily married, and I wouldn’t touch that creature with a ten foot pole. I’m not into lipstick lesbians.

          1. So only the ‘butch’ kind in the Domestic Domicile? Interesting, does your wife know?

  4. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) did indeed sign the “Contraceptive Equity Act” into law yesterday, mandating that the state’s health insurers cover emergency contraception and vasectomies at no out-of-pocket cost to consumers.

    Not that he had much choice.

    1. Vote tally:

      House of Delegates: 101?38
      Senate: 37?8

      We’re the special state.

  5. Families can of course make decisions together without needing them subsidized, but hey. Maybe Pearson’s rhetoric sounds legit if you don’t listen too hard.

    This isn’t right.

    Also, I do not understand the point you are trying to make.

    1. I think she’s making fun of the idea that “just subsidizing one-half” of the birth-control equation is ‘unfair’ because its not ‘sharing & spreading “the burden” around”. Because Life is Precious. And God. And The Bible.

  6. You know, if the government subsidized enough stuff there would be no out-of-pocket costs for anybody for anything. Everything would be free! And Bernie Sanders is the only one smart enough to have figured this out.

    Everybody else is getting there, though – they’ve figured out that the stuff government subsidizes makes it cheaper but haven’t yet thought bigger and figured out that if the government subsidizes at higher rates it can be free rather than just cheaper and that there’s no limit to what the governent can subsidize.

    1. So…we should just go ahead and give the means of production to the government? They can produce things for free, right?

      1. We can pretend to work and the government can pretend to pay us.
        Sounds like a sustainable model to me.
        Wonder if anyone has tried it.

  7. I think we need to just cut out the middle-men and just kill the poor directly.

    I keep wondering why taxpayer-funded population-control incentives/disincentives are things libertarians are supposed to…. wait, what *are* we supposed to think about this again?

    1. Whatever makes us the most evil and heartless.

      1. Excellent

      2. Lebensborn it is!

    2. Give me liberty, or give me a vasectomy!

    3. It’s like the “wet foot, dry foot” Cuban immigration policy. It’s okay to do anything you can to keep them from showing up but once they’re here you can’t send them back. (I’ve heard you can put them in a Fed-Ex box with an invalid address label and nobody’ll ever see them again but I’ve never tested this theory myself, as far as you know.)

    4. What population control? The poor can reproduce prodigiously and *then* you can subsidize their birth control once they’ve had enough.

    5. I do find it notable that it’s a relatively common belief among the progressive left that there are simply too many of us. This, to me, explains why so many of their policies result in massive death when taken to their logical conclusions. It isn’t that they’re unaware of the consequences, it’s that the consequences are the goal.

  8. Won’t this just exacerbate our rape culture?

    1. No. It will, however, further reduce the number of insurers doing business in maryland and vermont.

    2. Or is making women pregnant against their will a bonus for rapists? I am a bit unclear on the talking points

      1. Or is making women pregnant against their will a bonus for rapists?

        It’s *your* rape culture, the rest of us are just appropriating it.

      2. In the time of Attila, yes. Now, I think mandatory child support has reduced the appeal.

        1. So my original suspicion is confirmed, vasectomies allow men to rape without consequence! So problematic I can’t even!

    3. More inportantly, has the owner of that vas defrwns gotten a permission slip from his female partner to become a non-breeder?

      1. Shop around. You can find a urologist that won’t hassle you about it.

      2. There’s a vas deferens between freedom and tyranny.

    4. I don’t know, exacerbation might be considered self-rape. Did you actually get a signed permission slip from yourself before you started exacerbating? Did you make sure to ask for affirmative consent before progressing from stimulating conversation to arousing anger to inflaming passions before climaxing in paroxysms of outrage?

  9. Why don’t we just make all Birth Control available over the counter?

    Even vasectomies!

  10. But shifting the cost of preventing unwanted pregnancies from reproductive-age women and men to all Americans seems to be a major new policy goal.

    I feel this is shortsighted. Insurance pools of future generations will need young, healthy premium payers to keep the whole of PPACA afloat.

    1. Wait a minute.
      You mean there is a progressive proposal that doesn’t look beyond the figurative noses of the progressive mindset of:
      “Something, anything, must be done, NOW!”
      I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

  11. When will they start requiring vasectomies?

  12. Next, mandatory castrations to fight the Rape Culture.

  13. /head scratch

    Vasectomies are cheap and easy, require almost no down-time, and in the long run save money over years of birth control.

    So if you’re looking at this purely from an economical perspective, cost of insurance and so-on, then men getting vasectomies is preferable to women staying on birth control *or* women getting their tubes tied *or* the couple going without any birth control.

    So if insurers raise their rates over this one, it’ll only because they can get away with it, not because their bottom line.

    That said, there’s already a case before the SCOTUS on whether the current “we don’t want to pay for birth control” accommodation is good enough. Whatever the conclusion from that, why wouldn’t the answer apply to this as well?

    1. Vasectomies are cheap and easy, require almost no down-time, and in the long run save money over years of birth control.

      Give it 10 more years of legislation like this and none of that will be true anymore.

    2. Vasectomies are just the patriarchy’s way of controlling a woman’s reproductive rights. You should know this, and you should shut up.

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  16. So let’s get this straight.

    Decisions when, weather, and under what circumstances to bear children is a fundamental liberty in which the government has no right to interfere.

    Going to exercise that fundamental liberty, the government is perfectly free to force the rest of us to pay for it.

    1. * whether

  17. But shifting the cost of preventing unwanted pregnancies from reproductive-age women and men to all Americans seems to be a major new policy goal.

    Because it takes a village to knock up a woman?

  18. When the government gives away something, it’s always terrible.

    You don’t want to be on Medicaid, go to Medicaid hospitals, and see Medicaid doctors.

    I used to volunteer at a homeless shelter. Government cheese tastes like shit.

    Free vasectomies? Why not yell in my ear for free or toilette paper my house for free? I’d rather that than a free vasectomy.

    “Did you cal about the free vasectomy, Sweetie?”

    Yeah, I’ll get right on that. Just as soon as I finish slamming my head in the bathroom door–again and again and again and again.

    If they gave us free beer, it would probably taste like Budweiser, and Budweiser tastes like shit.

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  20. Shows the intrinsically anti-human mindset of the modern totalitarian .

  21. This is an issue of parity not cost. Women’s similar products and services are in fact free. And – the more expensive and risky female surgery that corresponds is free. So we’re actually driving up costs and risking more women’s lives by preferring to offer them these free services.

    1. Real parity would begin when the father gets nine months, after being informed the child is his, to be able to refuse any kind of support for the child.
      As it is now, with the abortion issue, the woman gets to make all the decisions and the father must live with them.

  22. Sterilization is not the ideal solution. You may need to come back again and have a kid. In addition Sterilization is against the Bible and the Church.

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