Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Latest Skirmish in the War on Women

As we get closer to the midterm elections, the rhetoric is ratcheting up. Americans for Prosperity (aka the Koch brothers) is continuing to run their ridiculous ads stating that Jeanne Shaheen cast THE DECIDING VOTE for Obamacare. In other states, the name is changed to fit the candidate the Kochs are working against. My question is this: why don’t the Koch brothers want non-wealthy Americans to have health insurance?

I’ve never been a fan of the Affordable Care Act. I was unhappy when single payer advocates weren’t even given a seat at the table when it was being discussed. I was unhappy there was no public option. I’m downright peeved that this mess was a project of the Heritage Foundation, something that all those who bark about “socialism” either don’t know or don’t care to acknowledge.

The ACA has meant the end of the pre-existing condition. That is an incredibly good thing. It has given young people the option of staying on their parents insurance longer. It has also meant that a lot of people who couldn’t afford insurance before are able to afford it now. The GOP rumblings of “free market solutions” ought to be met with derision. They had decades to create those solutions, and they never did. The only plan the Kochs and their acolytes have for the non-wealthy can be summed up in one word. Die.

The reasons we need a single payer system in this country were made clear in the recent Supreme Court decision on the Hobby Lobby case. Hobby Lobby is a family owned company. They have a chain of stores that sell craft supplies. They are apparently a religious family, and they were miffed that the ACA meant they were mandated to provide insurance to their female employees that covered all forms of birth control. It offended their religious sensibilities, they claimed, so they took it to SCOTUS, and the Roberts court, ever happy to rule against women, did so.

Prior to the ACA, Hobby Lobby stores offered insurance that covered the same forms of birth control that they suddenly got religion over when Obamacare came along. Remember all the people who wailed about putting the gummint between people and their doctors? They are now oddly silent at the ruling that puts employers between women and their doctors. After all, who better to make women’s health care decisions than purveyors of cheap craft supplies imported from China?

Good news for men though. Your erectile dysfunction drugs, penis pumps, and penile implants will continue to be covered by all forms of insurance. The religious do not want you to believe that your impotence is God’s will. God, it seems, is only intent on legislating the uterus.

There are a number of reasons we need single payer health care. The first is to eliminate employers from the equation. Health care should not be tied to employment. Health care should not be employer approved or supervised

Hot on the heels of the Hobby Lobby decision came the Wheaton decision, where a religious college in Illinois decided they didn’t want to fill out waiver forms for Obamacare that stipulated they were too religious to provide whore pills for their female students. Naturally the male members of the Supreme Court thought that was just fine. Now Gordon College in Massachusetts (a small, non-profit Christian school in Wenham, MA) has decided to seize the moment. They’ve signed on to a letter asking President Obama to exempt them from an executive order (that hasn’t been put into effect yet) banning discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. Apparently nothing says, “we are followers of Jesus Christ” quite like discrimination.

I have written before that here in the US, we’ve stopped thinking about or planning for the future. In fact, our heels are dug in, and a great many of our leaders are working to turn the clock back, to an imaginary time of great happiness for them. The 1950’s. (Or for some, the 1800’s.) In the 1950’s women knew their place. They were at home, cooking, cleaning, caring for the kids, and voting the way their husbands told them to. They didn’t have many birth control options.  If they got pregnant and couldn’t afford another baby, they had back alley abortions and some of them died. Those who favor the 1800’s would prefer to go back to the days when women were essentially chattel. They couldn’t own property, sign contracts, vote, or have any legal voice in the lives of their children. They were the property of fathers, brothers, or husbands. A number of conservatives these days publicly yearn for the days when women couldn’t vote. David Barton the fauxhistorian claims that denying the vote to women kept families together. Ann Coulter doesn’t seem to understand that without suffragists, she’d be home birthin’ and scrubbin’.

The birth control pill changed everything. That and the decision in Roe v. Wade. Suddenly women had control over their own bodies! They were no longer hostage to their reproductive organs and the men in their lives. Naturally, this displeased a number of men. It still does. They’ve been trying for decades to turn the clock back, and eradicate any gains made by women. Pretending concern for life is one of the most hypocritical. The same men who rail against abortion are at the borders turning away buses filled with refugee children. The deeply religious folk at Hobby Lobby, Gordon College, and Wheaton aren’t filling buses, hitting up the ATM, and heading down to the border to care for those same children. The terrorists and “sidewalk counselors” who harangue women entering health clinics aren’t interested in caring for actual children. For all of these hypocrites, it’s all about imaginary fetuses. Imagine how much better children’s lives would be if the focus were on the born instead of the not even conceived? 

As for the ongoing war on women, the question is simple. Are women fully equal human beings with the same right to bodily autonomy and medical privacy as men? Yes or no? 

© sbruce 2014. Published as a biweekly op-ed in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper. 

h/t to patriotboy for GOP Jesus, and Mike Thompson for Blasphemy.


nellewrites said...

Well done... agree all the way, from single payer, through deconnecting from employers, to the attacks upon provision of care to women.

Here's another element. The private insurance marketplace is incapable of meeting the needs of the full population. Because of market structure (ie, built on competitiveness) insurers walk a line between setting rates too high or too low, and getting it wrong can produce adverse selection, a pox to any insurance underwriting executive because of its threat to profitability or even solvency.

Demutualisation got rolling in the 1980s, and effectively removed from the marketplace companies owned by its policy holders in favour of for profit stock insurers. You can pretty much figure out the adverse consequences of such a market reformation.

Anyway, what it comes down to is this. Insurance will go for the market segment that produces profit, and will discourage the provision of coverage to market subsets that will not be profitable. That means those with chronic conditions, those of us older but not yet at Medicare age, etc.

We can't have a cherry picked insurance mechanism, because it is a vital need for every person, the coverage not only of benefit to each, but to society overall.

We should run the other way when the right trumpets competition. Competition will not provide coverage to the entire US population. Even if it did, the cost for those on the margins would be exorbitant.

Insurance is a mechanism meant to share risk. The risk sharing should be with all 315 million of us in the same pool, with the same coverage, at the same rates, funded through taxation.

susanthe said...

Well said, Nelle - thank you.

Anonymous said...

The intolerance and hatred has reached an all time disgraceful high.

It is disgusting to listen to the vitriolic hatred from individuals foaming at the mouth while speaking about immigrant children who risked their lives, as though they are sub-human. And so we see this intolerant hatred when it comes to sharing and caring for one's own neighbors, colleagues and fellow citizens. Universal coverage would mean caring for those who are hated.

Universal coverage is eschewed because neighbor hates neighbor hates fellow citizen. This is the current reality in our highly dysfunctional country.

We wage war on all those not white and not Christian. WWII was the only time we killed whites. We have now become a nation identical in all but religion to the Taliban. We are engaging (for now) in passive civil war.

The First Amendment is now being used and abused as speech for those who hate. Freedom of Speech was never created nor meant to vomit out the first meaningless intolerant emotion that popped into an empty head. But it is EXACTLY how it is now being used.

And JUST like the Taliban, women and fellow citizens who need protection are being targeted. Congratulations Amerika. You have become what you declare to hate the most. We are the new Taliban and will now consume our time engaging in our favorite pastime; Waging War on everything including on one another. War on Women, War on being humane. War on common sense. Unbelievable.