Obama’s Birth Control Mandate… or Why Car Insurance Companies Don’t Cover Oil Changes

Obama’s recent birth control/abortion mandate, and his subsequent “accommodation” to those who object to having their First Amendment religious freedom intruded on, are really nothing more than a shallow campaign stunt aimed at placating the pro-abortion Left for failing to deliver on his promise of so-called “universal” government health care.  (Of course that’s hardly the only promise Obama has failed to deliver on since he took office three years ago.)   The point is to “buy” the votes, and the enthusiasm, of liberals by trumping Americans’ growing distaste for abortion with a federal mandate.  But as John Cochrane, professor of finance at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, explains using insurance to cover small, day-to-day expenses. such as oil changes, toothpaste, or contraceptives, is counter-productive to the fundamental definition of insurance and ultimately makes those expenses and the insurance itself far more expensive and far less competitive.

Why should the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decree that any of us must pay for “insurance” that covers contraceptives?

I put “insurance” in quotes for a reason. Insurance is supposed to mean a contract, by which a company pays for large, unanticipated expenses in return for a premium: expenses like your house burning down, your car getting stolen or a big medical bill. Insurance is a bad idea for small, regular and predictable expenses. There are good reasons that your car insurance company doesn’t add $100 per year to your premium and then cover oil changes, and that your health insurance doesn’t charge $50 more per year and cover toothpaste. You’d have to fill out mountains of paperwork, the oil-change and toothpaste markets would become much less competitive, and you’d end up spending more.

How did we get to this point? It all leads back to the elephant in the room: the tax deductibility of employer-provided group insurance. If your employer pays you $100 less in salary and buys $100 of group insurance for you, you don’t pay taxes on that amount. Hence, the more insurance costs and covers, the less in taxes you seem to pay. (Even that savings is an illusion: The government still needs money and raises overall tax rates to make up the difference.)

In other words, Obama’s birth control/abortion mandate is just one more round of the shell game played by liberal Washington politicians using the tax code to buy our votes with our own money… while making things far more complicated and far more expensive in the process.

It’s not about “access” and it’s not about “insurance.” It’s because Americans, when paying even modest copayments, choose to spend their money on other things. They prefer a new iPod to a “wellness visit” to the doctor.  As the HHS unwittingly admits: “Often because of cost, Americans used preventive services at about half the recommended rate.”

Remember, we’re supposed to be worrying about skyrocketing health-care expenses. Doubling the number of wellness visits and free pills sounds great, but who’s going to pay for it? There is a liberal dream that by mandating coverage the government can make something free…

Here’s a good mandate: Let’s mandate that every time a government official says that the government is going to “help” some category of voter, he or she has to say who they are going to hurt in the same sentence. Because it has to be someone.

Hmmm… echos of Colonel West’s CPAC speech Apparently, its not the liberal politicians who know what they’re talking about.

And as for the issue of religious freedom,  Professor Cochrane nails that one as well,

By focusing on an exemption for church-related institutions, critics effectively admit that it is right for the rest of us to be subjected to this sort of mandate. They accept the horribly misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and they resign themselves to chipping away at its edges. No, we should throw it out, and fix the terrible distortions in the health-insurance and health-care markets.

Sure, churches should be exempt. We should all be exempt.

SMACK!!! Read the whole thing!

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