It is amazing how quickly “free birth control” became the next civil rights issue. Until recently, I never noticed that Catholic employers refusing to cover birth control costs had created a public crisis, forcing women across the country to pay a staggering $9 a month for the Pill.
Which is of course because this isn’t a crisis, it’s a fake controversy. There’s no vital public interest in forcing religious employers to provide insurance for contraceptives, and you don’t have to be anti-birth control to think that. Though it does help to have the bare-minimum of tolerance for other people’s personal beliefs.
Of course, just because the birth control insurance mandate has near-negligible benefits for women doesn’t mean nobody’s profiting off this. At The Atlantic, Avik S. A. Roy explains why drug companies have the most to gain from the rule:
Under the current system, drug companies have an incentive to compete on price. If you have health insurance that covers birth control today, your insurer is likely to charge you a higher co-pay for expensive, “branded” versions of birth control over cheaper, generic ones. If you don’t have health insurance, and you’re buying the Pill directly from the pharmacy at Wal-Mart, you have even more incentive to shop on price.
Under the new mandate, this price incentive disappears. Insurers will be required to pay for any and all oral contraceptives, without charging a co-pay, co-insurance, or a deductible. This “first dollar coverage” of oral contraception kills the incentive to shop based on price.
If history is any guide, this significant change will drive up the price of oral contraception. Today, Tri-Sprintec costs $9 a month. In 2020, don’t be surprised if it costs $30.
We already knew ObamaCare was a goldmine for drug companies, which is why the president has gotten so much support from the pharmaceutical industry. Now we know what he was willing to sell out in order to get it: the rights of conscience for religious employers.