Thank you, President Obama & Secretary Sebelius!

Good stuff. Joel, of course, is a frequent critic of the President. And yet some good things are happening in spite of it all. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

Thank you for making contraceptives free for women throughout the USA.

Women covered by private insurance will soon be able to fill their birth control prescriptions at no cost, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday. Starting in August 2012, insurers will be required to cover the full cost of contraception and family planning, along with seven other services aimed at preventing disease and promoting well-being in women.

This is a tremendous (if decades overdue) victory for all Americans. Some private insurance plans have $50 copay, which can be a burden. There are millions of women and families in America under great financial strain, and $600 a year is not something they can afford. Unplanned pregnancies can de-rail an education or a career that a woman has just begun, preventing her from achieving her full potential and choosing the best moment to start a family (if that is what she wants). Pregnancy can bring dangers like preeclampsia. And Tea Party Economics means the job market is going to get a lot tougher–so an unplanned pregnancy could mean an extra mouth to feed when it is already hard to pay the mortgage or rent.

It is very good that the Federal government is helping people control their own lives. This speaks to the underlying value of fairness in progressive politics.

This new regulation over private insurance will make women’s lives better, with more individual freedom and more control over their own destinies.

BTW, President McCain would never have done this. And Sen. Scott Brown promised to stop the Affordable Care Act that made this regulation possible. I don’t think those guys really understand how government can make life more fair for everyone.

Recommended by hesterprynne, bean.


19 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. To be honest...

    …there are a lot of categories of medication and treatment I would have prioritized ahead of birth control if I were to mandate making something completely free. Besides, I’m pretty sure abstinence never cost anything:)

    • OK - let's make birth control (and abstinence) men's responsibility

      NYT: In explaining its recommendation for free contraceptives, the panel noted that nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and about 40 percent of those end in abortion. Studies show that cost is a major barrier to regular use of contraceptives for low-income and young women.

      • Sounds like a plan to me!

        Both parties need to act responsibly, of course. I would never suggest otherwise. As far as I’m concerned, if a man’s involvement leads to an unplanned pregnancy and said man then skips town leaving a pregnant single woman he should be charged with child abandonment. To be clear, I’m not opposed to covering birth control, and certainly not advocating a reversal of the SCOTUS Griswold v. CT decision. It just strikes me as an odd choice for what to mandate be completely free.

        • I think you're being glib

          First of all, there are lots of women in difficult positions where denying sex to their “man” isn’t such an easy option. Maybe he’s borderline abusive, or worse. Maybe he’s providing for her in other ways that she needs in her life right now. Heck, maybe he’s Catholic and she isn’t.

          Secondly, there is absolutely nothing more hard wired into human beings than having sex. It’s not about being rational, it’s about being reasonable. Poor, disadvantaged people have been having sex for millennia despite it being a bad economic (or medical!) decision, same as middle class and rich people. Glibly saying “close your legs” doesn’t work, and it never has. In the mean time, it also doesn’t prevent the negative side effects, including increased rates of abortion, poverty, multi-generational poverty, crime, etc etc.

          Thirdly, charging a man with “child abandonment” doesn’t make a damned bit of sense. You’d have to prove that he knew she was pregnant, knew that he was the father, and that he wasn’t going to send great big child support checks. All for what? The fact is, women will always bear the brunt of an unplanned pregnancy. Every single time.

          An unplanned pregnancy has wider, deeper, and more complex ramifications on more people than just about any other situation which a health care provider and the patient can prevent in a relatively simple, relatively inexpensive manner. To eliminate the co-pay barrier from this preventative action is entirely logical.

          That it undermines teabaggers/social conservatives opposition to abortion is pure gravy (they don’t want abortions, but they don’t want to help women not get pregnant either).

          • Unlike the rest of the animal kingdom...

            …people DO have the capacity to make decisions on something other than base instinct, which can easily overcome (and for many has) any wiring for sex we might have. Where the conditions as you describe in your first paragraph exist they need to be addressed. Sex is only valid IMO if BOTH parties absolutely and truly want it, not by one side conceding to make the other side happy. You call it borderline abusive; I basically call it rape. You’re right that charging the man won’t be easy and if he’s giving child support that is not what I would call abandonment, and yes he may have to be informed and demanded to pay up. Of course, I also think it is the man’s obligation to check (good faith effort) to see if he has fathered a child with a woman he slept with. Again, I have no problem with these things being available and covered. I just think there are other things that make more sense for the government to require be absolutely free.

  2. Subsidy to pharma

    Are the manufacturers and insurers just raking it all in? Why not have government force the manufactures of BC brands to provide them at the true cost, which would be a lot less than 600 dollars a year.

  3. A good move, true

    A step in the right direction is a welcome change at the moment.

    sabutai   @   Wed 3 Aug 9:19 PM
  4. Not about fairness, about liberty

    Women should be free to obtain medicine without being subjected to dogmatic religious beliefs that they do not share.

  5. Great stuff

    Certainly makes life easier for my girlfriend to say the least, and many women. And I would argue Christopher that it is important since some people might find the cost so burdensome that they skip it altogether leading to tragedy. The biggest flaw in abstinence only education is that its really difficult to plan for that to work, not impossible, but difficult. Better to be safe than sorry, and better to stop it early than have it lead to unwanted pregnancies and unwanted abortions. This is a big step in the right direction, and while I have some of my issues with the reproductive rights lobby this was a massive victory for women and social justice, and one of the many way the President can affect change using the executive to get small progressive victories, and he ought to keep doing i.

    • I actually don't support abstinence-only education...

      …at least as it is often understood as shutting down all discussion of other options and how the body works. Yes, the cost could be burdensome, but often people go without if they can’t afford it. If there is no act then there is no tragedy. It just seems that if we’re going to make things free we should start with vaccinations, annual physicals, medicine that treats diseases, life-saving procedures, etc. Except in the case of rape there is always a free way to prevent pregnancy by making the right decisions.

  6. A dozen roses and a box of chocolates

    I support it. I think it’s a great thing.

    I think it’s a transparent appeal to an alienated Democratic “base”. I think it signals that somebody in the White House is worried about them in 2012.

    I think it’s essentially the same thing as the philandering husband who offers his wife a dozen roses and box of chocolates after missing an anniversary dinner for unexplained reasons.

    Roses and chocolates are great.

  7. C'mon, Tom.

    I understand your disappointment and frustration. I share much of it myself. But despite your saying that “it’s a great thing,” you’re trivializing something that’s going to make a huge difference to a lot of people.

    Is BHO doing this in attempt to mend fences? Who the hell cares?! It’s still a win for our side. Wait …sorry, scratch that. It’s a win for the whole damn country!

    • Blasted, faulty nesting! :)

      This was meant as a reply to somervilletom’s post.

    • Why are you blaming ME?

      I didn’t make this announcement days after the debt ceiling debacle. I didn’t choose the media strategy.

      I’m tired of having my own betrayal trivialized. Yes, I am disappointed and frustrated. I note, beyond that, that the stock market is moving down and not up. It would seem that the pell-mell rush towards austerity is, in fact, creating a second dip in the Great Recession just as the same bad choice created the same second dip in 1937. Just as many of us have been predicting for months. I find it striking that this president whom I helped elect absolutely ignored these predictions. Like the philandering husband, he instead went into a private meeting and tossed me and my concerns under the bus.

      Here’s what I think we should stop trivializing: we should stop trivializing the reality that our economy is badly broken, that the people who drove it into the ditch are still driving the car, and that the “leader” we elected to get us back on the road turns out to act just like one of them.

      I really am glad that my three daughters will have access to these contraceptives. I really am. In my case, however, they already have access to contraceptives because I, as their father, can and do already provide for that.

      I cannot, however, provide a livable society for them to raise their families in. I cannot provide an economy healthy enough for them to pay off the enormous student loans they’ve taken on to get their college degrees.

      In my view, their dismal economic future is far and away more important to me than their access to contraceptives.

      So please … enough with trivializing the betrayal of me and with the many passionate voters like me.

      • I should have said ...

        Instead of “… than their access to contraceptives”, I should have said ” … than mandated free insurance coverage of their contraceptives”

      • I'm not trying to trivializing anything.


        I’m sorry if you feel as if I’ve trivialized your feelings; if you would, please point out where I’ve done this. All I was attempting to do was to call you out on what I perceived to be an unwarranted trivialization of an important policy win for those of us who believe that increased access to birth control leads to a whole slew of positive societal effects.

        Do you have good reason to feel betrayed by this administration? Quite possibly. I know that I certainly have at times.

        Do you have the RIGHT to feel betrayed? Absolutely. And regardless of whether you actually WERE betrayed, your feelings are your feelings and I have no desire to trivialize them.

        But I don’t think it does any of us any good to start letting our disappointment and the resulting cynicism color our view of things to the point that we start treating actual progressive policy wins with contempt — which, I’m sorry, was exactly what you were doing by comparing this decision by the administration to a philadering husband’s offering of flowers.

  8. Every party has a pooper...

    but what’s lost when we cut the first trillion from the budget?

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