We certainly have equally valid economic, moral, and social arguments on the table in this thread. Unfortunately, in terms of setting current health care policy, I’m as concerned in regards to the Obama administration’s democratic accommodation as I am the initial Republican Blunt Amendment. I do believe this is one to be watched.
Policy is intended to guide decisions on behalf of a common good (for all) not a social good (the largest benefit to the largest number). This contraception debate is not a matter of public distributive policy (spreading the cost of distributed goods, in this case contraception, amongst the US community via government spending). It is constituent policy in terms of health care law, requiring insurers (not third party religious or government funded entities) to provide coverage of birth control pills, essentially treating contraception on par with other prescription medications.
The economic implication of the requirement ties into insurance costs and, currently, the private sector. There is virtually no associated government spending in the establishment of the requirement. On the contrary, any policy which intrudes the accessibility of contraception carries significant economic implication upon implementation as noted by +Francine Hardaway +Dan Suhr +Aaron McLin +Caias Ward
In terms of policy, the moral debate is quite roundabout. By mandating insurance companies to cover contraception costs, religious affiliated employers (that by law must offer insurance, a root to the Republican issue) are indirectly forced to offer contraception coverage. The Republicans argue this as an infringement of religious freedom. Of course, whether the costs are covered by insurance companies or not, contraception is still available and it is still a choice. Adding cost coverage is hardly adding infringement (or in any other manner an infringement). It is a weak argument.
The social argument is near bullet proof, to the points of +Jill Brady +Francine Hardaway
and others. Choice is a social good. It benefits the majority by means of positive economic implication, protection of freedoms – including the freedom of religion, and promotes a progressive culture. These social benefits, well articulated by the contributors of this thread, are conclusive in support of the contraception fraction of the original proposed health plan law.
The Blunt Amendment was appropriately blocked. However the accommodation announced by the Obama administration to exempt religiously affiliated organizations is an appeasement that is hard to swallow. While it ensures insurance companies must still offer coverage to female employees directly without charging additional premiums (good) there is no safeguard on the privacy of the administration of direct access (bad). Unfortunately, I believe the accommodation just opened a new can of worms in an effort to help it pass legislature. An employer, even if religiously affiliated, should never be a gateway between healthcare decisions and coverage. They must only be administrators of group plans without any intrusion or knowledge of personal health care needs or the coverage provided.