“All in”

The official Republican position is that any employer should be able to decide that his female employees shouldn’t have health insurance that covers contraception. Is Mitch McConnell on Barack Obama’s payroll?

Hard to believe, but Republicans in both the Senate and the House, backed by Mitch McConnell, plan to push a law that would let any employer assert a conscientious objection to allowing his female employees to regulate their own reproductive apparatus. They’re backing the Catholic pedophile protectors bishops against the Catholic Health Association. The claim that any employer’s prejudices ought to over-ride employees’ health care makes hash of the “religious freedom” argument. And siding with the tiny minority of Americans who disapprove of contraception against the huge majority who approve of it can’t be good politics for November, no matter how helpful it may be in placating the Tea Party crowd.

Remember, this isn’t a case where an employer has to spend money to provide coverage; not providing it costs more.

TPM is right to say that they’re going “all in.” And they’re doing so into a lock.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

26 thoughts on ““All in””

  1. Barack Obama may be the luckiest man to ever hold the office. And Nancy Pelosi has to be the second luckiest person in the world right now. It’s almost impossible to believe that the wingnuts are going to wage their culture crusade taking a stand against birth control.

  2. Democratic surrender in 3…2…1.

    This would be much better news if there was any reason to be confident that the Democrats won’t be Luntzed and outmaneuvered faster than you can say “America is a conservative country.”

  3. A cynic might think that Mitch McConnell has more influence in opposition to Obama than he would under a Republican president; certainly his job is a lot easier. I think the Democrats have the better of this. The bishops have little influence even among Catholics, and I suspect independent women are unlikely to be persuaded that this is a bad thing regardless of whatever Luntzian frame may be produced.

  4. The battle is good policy for Democrats as well as good politics. The Obama wheeze makes its clear to all that employers don’t provide health care to their grateful peons, they are merely a subsidized channel for financing it: an unnecessary and inefficient spare wheel. Switzerland has universal health care based on compulsory and regulated private insurance, but employers don’t have anything to do with it.

  5. Just when you thought they couldn’t get any crazier. Time to pop some popcorn, this oughta be good!

  6. I followed your link. Assuming you did, too, (You did, right?) you’re aware that you have grossly misrepresented the amendment. Rationalize that however you like, we all know what the word for that is, and I refrain from using it only to avoid giving you an excuse to ban me.

    If my employer does not provide dental coverage for any reason, is he not permitting me to get a tooth pulled? Not under any sane use of the language.

    This is one of the reasons the left has had so much trouble on abortion: You were never content with winning, you just had to make your opponents complicit. Making the Catholic church pay for abortions is the left’s version of Conan’s “What is good in life?”: The wailing and gnashing of teeth, the lamentations of the Bishops.

    You get off on outraging the people you defeat.

    1. Calling Mark a liar by paralipsis is still calling him a liar, you know.

      It is entirely up to Mark whether he ban you, of course. Were it my call, I would not ban you for a mere insult. I would, however, need to give careful thought to whether your belligerence obtuseness, routine intellectual dishonesty and general unpleasantness had begun to outweigh your value as comic relief.

  7. Professor Cochran’s WSJ op ed last week provided the real conservative view on this subject which is that it is not a religious, nor even a moral issue at all, but a perversion of what insurance is. Contraception is not an insurable matter, risk is not the issue, and as Brett also points out, the freedom to buy a pill or a condom is unrestricted for those who have $2. In this group, I would include everyone with a cell phone or a job, and that would include EVERYONE who has employer provided group insurance. This comprehensive approach to funneling every health cost, and even those way out on the periphery (such as contraceptive devices) is why our health system, and ACA for that matter, is unsustainable. It also has more serious unanticipated consequences, such as removing the incentive for drug companies to develop better male oriented contraceptive solutions (why bother if the government is going to force insurers to subsidize the ones already out there). The President’s misrepresentation of the issues involved would be frightening if we weren’t already so used to his administration’s mangling of the truth in furtherance of his political goals.

    Cochran pointed out that conservatives fall into a trap when they present this issue as one of religious freedom. It is an issue of freedom for everyone. No one should have to have their insurance program determined by HHS; PPACA should be repealed forthwith.

  8. Brett, the natural and obvious solution you miss is James Wimberley’s: get employers out of the business of providing health insurance.

    Their involvement is an accident of history, a stumbling block to achieving coverage, an extra and unnecessary bit of machinery, not to mention a barrier to the competitiveness of U.S. firms in the markets.

  9. Redwave, your belief that contraception is “way out on the periphery” of health care coverage explains your party’s demographic destiny: over; done; out.

    1. your belief that contraception is “way out on the periphery” of health care coverage explains your party’s demographic destiny: over; done; out.

      Would that this got some discussion in the body politic to make it so. That’s not what I hear out here in Republand. I hear Obummer the food stamp president caved and they are all distracted away from the pedophile priests and lazy people aren’t working on purpose. Maybe the moms aren’t discussing this around Bearded Americans.

      1. Believe it or not, the “moms” (I think perhaps “voting age women” is intended) know how they feel, whether or not the Bearded Americans are aware of it. Maybe the BA’s should ask, if they care to know, and they might care to know just because well … the majority of the electorate and all.

  10. Yeah, I’m fine with that solution, it’s the government which got employers into that business in the first place, and the third party provision is a lot of what warps the market. The problem is the left wants to get employers out of that business in order to get the government into it. Which is worse from an individual liberty standpoint, not better. You want one big company town, with the government as the company.

    Just give individually purchased insurance the same tax status as insurance purchased by your employer, employers will pay their employees the money as wages, not insurance, and people will buy the insurance THEY want. But you can’t do that, because it might not be the insurance YOU want them to have, can you? People making their own choices is intolerable, and your problem with the Catholic church isn’t that they’re imposing on their employees. It’s that they’re not imposing on their employees what YOU want imposed.

    1. once again brett argues from the position that red is green, up is down, and that providing coverage is an imposition while removing coverage is . . . is . . . is what? a liberation? not to mention that from an individual pocketbook standpoint a unified plan that covers the group of citizens of the united states is a lot better than one that covers the group of one individual.

  11. Forcing somebody to provide coverage is an imposition. It’s no different than if, in the name of good nutrition, you forced mosques to hold pig roasts for their employees. Except for all the explosions that would follow that imposition, of course, which is why it’s the Catholic church you’re leaning on.

    1. once again brett turns reality on its head. a more apt comparison would be if an islamic business forbade its non-muslim employees from eating a ham sandwich at home because it didn’t want any of the money it paid as wages to go towards something unclean and the government stepped in to say they couldn’t do that.

      1. But the Catholic church is NOT objecting, in this instance, to employees being able to spend their pay on abortions. That’s simply not the context here, they can right now. You’ve taken out of the scenario exactly what’s offensive about the Obama rule: The Church, itself, has to specifically fund what it finds offensive.

      2. It’s like the difference between NOW, for instance, knowing that the janitor might be using some of his pay to frequent prostitutes, and NOW being required by the government to drop by the pimp’s hangout and write him a check. Money might be fungible, but guilt isn’t…

  12. Faith-based nullification. Every law must have a “deeply-held beliefs” exception — for the right beliefs. That’s the Republican position. Make them own it. Make them defend it. Unfortunately, it is probably a huge winner in the short term.

    1. I don’t think it is a big winner for them in the short term either, as it only reinforces the GOPs share of the vote they already get on the issue of abortion. Seems to me that the Republican Party is just going all in for their crazy base alone.

  13. We shouldn’t need any “deeply held beliefs” exemption, because the government shouldn’t be issuing so many freaking orders to everybody in the first place.

    1. Which government? The federal level, or any level?
      Childhood vaccinations in schools are objected to for religious reasons by some parents who feel that immunizations against communicable disease are a violation of faith in God to protect their children from illness. The local school district in Queens is requiring the kids to get their shots in order to protect all schoolchildren. A lawsuit filed against the district by a parent who sees them as sacrilege should have the support of the Catholic Church, assuming that it cares about the freedom of all religions from government violation. All the GOP presidential candidates should be in support of the father who is trying to stand up to government violation of his freedom of religion.
      Or is tyranny acceptable at the local level, and only objectionable at the federal level? Should the Queens school district be allowed to issue so many freaking orders to parents?

  14. If The Flying Spagetti Monster proclaimed it sinnin’ to pay taxes I bet the GOP would be all behind that. And The Church of TFSM would see a mass conversion.

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