Sunday, February 19, 2012

It's free, but the employees are paying for it 

Following up on my earlier post, Instapundit provides this story from the Hill, wherein two conflicting assertions are made:

"Health plans will be able to offer contraceptive coverage for free because, according to studies cited by the government, contraceptives cost substantially less than pregnancies," [lawyer Tim] Jost writes. "The free coverage is not, therefore, an 'accounting gimmick' under which employers in fact pay for coverage against their beliefs, but coverage will in fact be paid for by the insurers out of savings that they realize by offering contraceptive coverage."

My prior post already lays out my strong doubts of this assertion. But here's another proponent of forced coverage:

To complicate things further, some critics of the special treatment for religiously-affiliated institutions have argued that employers aren't really spending their own money on healthcare benefits in the first place. Because employees must accept lower wages than they otherwise would, the idea that employers are spending their own money on employee coverage is "rubbish" according to Gary Puckrein, Founder and President of the National Minority Quality Forum, a nonprofit group dedicated to eliminating health disparities among racial groups.

"Employers do negotiate benefit design with insurers on behalf of workers, but the benefit does not exist until the employee's wages are transferred to the insurer's account," Puckrein writes in the Huffington Post. "Religious employers are no exception; they are not using their own money to buy medical products and services for their employees. It is their employees who are purchasing the benefit with their own money."

Hopefully I do not need to point out that both of these people cannot be right. Even if Puckrein believes it is a *negative cost* that is shifted to the employee, that directly undermines his argument.

Finally, courtesy of another comment, we have this study from Michigan which at least suggests that the marginal tendency to forego birth control among college women is aorund 2-4%, with some substituting abstinence. This is a very small effect compared to subsidizing an entire population. This is a point in favor of my prior arguments.

Unfortunately, the opposing study (claiming, presumably, a strong effect avoiding the expense of unwanted pregnancy), cited in the Hill article, leads to a non-study, which in turn offers an official-looking but dead link. So I can't evaluate that clam.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Feb 19, 12:49:00 PM:

You can expand that logic out as well to dead people cost less to keep alive than live people.. Thus, allowing folks to die off is certainly a cost saver, reduces the planet's carbon footprint burden too.!  

By Blogger FuzzyFace, at Sun Feb 19, 01:10:00 PM:

Obviously, it is a silly, math-challenged argument. It could only be a net cost savings if this new "benefit" persuaded a lot of sexually active women who currently do not use birth control to start using it, and using it effectively. But most sexually active women are already using birth control, and most who do not use it, refrain for reasons other than cost.

Of course, we've seen little indication that this administration is good at math in the first place.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sun Feb 19, 03:57:00 PM:

Fuzzyface - yes, much better at symbolism. That tends to be generally true of politicians and math, but I think Democrats have been worse.

However, as symbolism is more important in getting elected than is math, then "worse" may not be the correct word, here, eh?  

By Blogger randian, at Mon Feb 20, 01:50:00 AM:

Thus, allowing folks to die off is certainly a cost saver

Given how frequently the media is spouting end of life medical costs, I am quite certain that's how Obamacare will end up "saving" money. People who die from going untreated don't "cost" anything.

I believe the other way will be the FDA not approving anything Obamacare doesn't want to pay for. That way there's no political fallout for the government refusing to pay for new, advanced medical treatment: "not our fault, it's not FDA approved!" We've seen several bizarre incidents recently of the FDA pulling the plug on drugs, including the only effective narcolepsy drug that doesn't have nasty side effects (and, in many cases, the only that will work at all). I believe this presages the strategy I outlined above.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Mon Feb 20, 10:29:00 AM:

Where's my free Viagra?

It's a critical men's health issue for us salt-and-peppers. It goes to our fundamental sense of being and self-worth, and our longevity.

Viagra is not per se prohibited by the Catholic Church, the way that contraceptives are.

That Kathleen Sebelius (who I'm told is a woman) has picked one but not the other shows invidious discrimination.

Seriously, the contraception contretemps has been mapped out by Obama & Co for some time. It's purposefully divisive. Among Catholics it's a wedge issue. If the Republicans aren't careful they lose here. It's the wrong ground to fight on, given a big front.

Santorum is Dead on Arrival because of this. He doesn't know how to separate Church and State. Romney isn't much better.

Even Sarah Palin knows how to separate Church and State, if you listen to her. It's easy. Big State or Small State. There's a place for free will, whether it comes out for good or bad.

It gets muddied when you mix "should contraception be made illegal?" with "should the state force tax collections to give it away for free?" There's lots of middle ground between those two poles.

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan is kicking ass on the issues that matter.  

By Blogger randian, at Mon Feb 20, 12:02:00 PM:

It gets muddied when you mix "should contraception be made illegal?" with "should the state force tax collections to give it away for free?"

Nobody is trying to make contraception illegal. That's just liberals trying to confuse you by using the word "contraception" when they mean "abortion".  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Mon Feb 20, 12:32:00 PM:

"Nobody is trying to make contraception illegal."

Santorum has said that the Supreme Court was wrong in deciding that contraception was a private matter. He's tried to create a nuanced distance from that, but it won't work well.

It's not hard for Obama & Co to demagague on this, if you take the bait.  

By Blogger Andrew H., aka "Mindles H. Dreck", at Mon Feb 20, 08:06:00 PM:

I have no desire to carry water for Santorum, but is there any chance he was criticizing Griswold vs. Connecticut? A lot of legal eagles think that was a bad decision, including many who liked the result. Penumbras and emanations, right?  

By Blogger randian, at Mon Feb 20, 08:15:00 PM:

Santorum has said that the Supreme Court was wrong in deciding that contraception was a private matter

I'm pretty sure he said that the SC was wrong in deciding that contraception was a federal matter.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Mon Feb 20, 09:59:00 PM:

Santorum: SC was wrong in deciding that contraception was a federal matter -- i.e. states could ban it

Romney: individual mandate is OK at the state level

See a theme.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Feb 27, 01:18:00 PM:

How does the Downgrade regime have the authority to mandate you pay for these “Freebies”?  

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