Commentary Magazine


Contentions

RE: GOP Hoof-in-Mouth Outbreak Helps Dems

I agree with Jonathan that Mike Huckabee was entirely correct in what he said about the birth-control mandate and hopelessly wrong in how he said it. Making birth control a mandatory entitlement under ObamaCare doesn’t make it “free” and it diminishes everyone’s freedom in the process. And giving liberals an easy way to distort what he said just allows the mainstream media—whose attention to journalistic due diligence is non-existent when it comes to politics—to beat up conservatives, claiming proof of a “war on women.” (By the way, could someone please ask a liberal talking head, the next time he or she invokes that phrase, why a political party in a democracy would declare “war” on a majority of the electorate? Republicans, after all, want to win elections as much as Democrats do. Declaring war on most voters seems a strange way to achieve victory.)

So how can Republicans attack the birth-control mandate without being declared at war with women? How about just looking at the economics of it, which are very simple? Birth control isn’t expensive, I’m told, (about $25 a month). So why should it be covered by insurance at all? Insurance is meant to protect people from unpredictable and catastrophic expenses that they can’t budget for. That’s why automobile insurance covers collision and liability, not oil changes and tire rotations.

If it did cover them, what would happen? Suppose an oil change costs $25 and you need four a year. Right now, the car owner just goes to his garage and pays them $100 a year to change the oil in his car. But if oil changes were covered by his insurance, the insurance company would pay for them, shelling out $100 as well. But where does that $100 comes from? It comes from the insurance premiums paid by the car owner, of course. So it’s not insurance at all, it’s a prepayment plan, no different from layaway plans at department stores of old.

But there’s more. The insurance company has overhead to cover. If it pays for oil changes, it must keep track of them, account for them, cut checks for them, audit those accounts, etc. etc. The car owner must pay for that too. And he has to pay for the profit the insurance company needs to stay in business.

So instead of the oil changes costing the car owner $100 a year, they would cost him, say, $144. The only difference is that instead of paying $25 every three months to his garage, he pays $12 more a month in premiums to his insurance company.

It’s the same with birth-control pills. Women can pay for them themselves or pay more to an insurance company to pay for them. ObamaCare forces women to choose the more expensive alternative. So who’s really at war with women?