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Obama Administration: Confused over whether birth control is healthcare

BDBlue's picture

In a move familiar to the Administration's kabuki on DADT, they are now claiming they need a year - a YEAR - to study whether birth control is a preventative health care treatment covered under the new health reform law. Although it will actually take longer than a year to decide that question:

Comissioned by Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the study is supposed to determine whether contraception is, in fact, a preventive health service. Allowing a year for the research, which is due next August, then additional time to issue new regulations, and, after that, a year in which insurers will have to comply with new regulations, it’ll be at least 2012 before women can get birth control without a hefty co-pay. 2013 is more likely.

Women's advocacy groups have pointed out that the year is bullshit. That there's plenty medical literature already out there on birth control (which isn't exactly new). But the year is important because it gives the opposition time to mount its campaign:

In a move that’s brought unpleasant flashbacks to last Winter and Spring, the Catholic Church is waging its own campaign. According to a letter the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sent to HHS last week, contraceptives and sterilization should not be considered preventive services. “To prevent pregnancy is not to prevent a disease,” the bishops’ letter explains, going on to argue that the interim list, which doesn’t include birth control, should be made permanent.

In other words, the same kind of campaign that led not only to further restricting of abortion access in the health insurance bill (by the Democrats who told me that I had to vote for them to protect my rights from evil Republicans), but also to the even worse language the Administration itself put into its executive order and regulations implementing the bill. That's so nice of the Obama Administration to give them the time to mount their opposition.

Now, I'm supposed to get my ass off my couch and go save them in November? Well, I need to study the issues. It's going to take me about a year to decide who to vote for. It's unfortunate for them that they need my vote before then, but this is an important decision and I want to make sure I have all of the information I need. Hear both sides. That it might hurt some Democrats now is unfortunate, but these are hard issues and I have a responsibility to listen to all sides so that I can make the best decision possible. I'm sure Obama and the Democrats will understand. These are hard times and everyone has to sacrifice.

NOTE - For the life of me, I do not understand why access to birth control is so often relegated to the status of "women's issue". Do men not want to control when they become fathers? Do they not want to be able to have sex with their partner without using a condom and without worrying about having a kid? The pill didn't just free women sexually, it freed men, too. But somehow the belief is that only women get hurt by these kinds of policies. And, of course, we all know this Administration doesn't give a crap about hurting women. Added bonus: this disproportionately affects poor women since wealthier women can afford birth control.

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coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

"To prevent pregnancy is not to prevent a disease..."

It's very powerful, I hate to say. And I am a flat out screaming pro choicer and always have been.

Somebody on "our side" better figure out a way - QUICK - to counter this.

Oh, wait....we don't have anyone on our side.

NOTA IN NOVEMBER!!!!!

mass's picture
Submitted by mass on

And apparently most Americans don't buy the argument:

"A recent poll conducted for Planned Parenthood on the anniversary of the pill demonstrated this -- 79 percent of women believe family planning is preventive care, and 74 percent of women and men support it being covered at low or no cost by insurance plans. "

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cecile-ric...

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

The conservatives will get their rabid followers to agree with "Pregnancy is not a disease" very easily. Afterall, the result if a beautiful bouncing baby, not a disease-ridden death. And every women wants/should want to give life to such beautiful creatures or else there's something wrong with them.

That's not to say that women don't want birth control.

Remember when "partial birth abortion" became the focus for repealing all abortion rights? The images that were conveyed got a lot of people nodding their heads up and down and saying, ""That's terrible.....this procedure should be banned".

Since that time, other chinks/holes have been "worried" to create a Swiss Cheese image of abortion rights.

I just think that if you simply poll on that one statement, you will find a lot of people saying "That's right"....and then the crazies will have another round of ammunition.

BC Pills and "Pregnancy is not a disease" are two different animals, IMHO.

coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

I'm just saying the conservatives have been extremely successful literally separating issues into distinct phrases and turning the tide by appealing to a rabid base on one phrase that is being taking out of context. I think "Pregnancy is not a Disease" could be one of those.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

It's an interesting Saturday morning around my home as all my household catches up on the news, and sees something done by the Obama administration, that affects each of us as individuals(education, healthcare, gay rights).

*head desk*

But, IMHO, the reminder that the policy also affects men doesn't really influence the Obama administration. They've shown to hold men in absolute contempt as well, so long as they hold the beliefs that women are people too, or we should live in a just society. So while we might get some outrage from them, it won't affect the policy outcome. My gay roommate infuriated me this morning when I read this story, trying to claim it was the insurance companies trying to make money on this. I said "No, it's the same retrofuck idiots who think womb-en are sacred" or something to that affect.

It's tempting to think that its always about the money w/this admin's actions, but there are plenty of those retrofuck idiots roaming the halls of the White House, implementing policy.

ms_xeno's picture
Submitted by ms_xeno on

Choice is for the rich and well-situated! Not for you!! Now shut up and give this nice lobbyist more of your money! Then fetch me my slippers!

Submitted by jawbone on

media mouthpieces to make "partial birth abortion" seem real, and awful. They will have even more money, possibly even more rightwing talkers being paid, to make "pregnancy is not an illness" seem like the conventional wisdom, the right thing for people to think.

We have a DINO president in office who will not use the bully pulpit and if he tries isn't all that good at explaining things and persuading people. Off the cuff? Plain bad communicator. Worst of all, he's just not that into us and our concerns, and so will not push for them.

DC Dems? Increasingly cowed -- any criticism from the right, from FOX, and they turn to the right. Sheesh.

With the middle class fearful of losing its economic wherewithal to be middle class, people in that group are hunkering down, hoping to keep their jobs, not make waves. And there is that possibility of internal rendition.... It's becoming part of police procedural TV dialogue. Once, Miranda warnings were ubiqitous; now it seems threats of disappearing people are moving that way.

So, who will really protest? A few hecklers at Obama's NYC fundraiser speeches? LBGT folks seem to the only ones willing to publicly heckle Obama -- perhaps because they have less to lose? Or think they have more to gain?

The right has accustomed even activist Democrats to say "Democrat candidate," not "Democratic cnadidate." (I read a piece by Peter Daou using that construction!!) Yes, there's a tendency for users of English to shorten terms as much as possible, but it's an irregular usage, something which previously indidated a lack of good education. Now? Repubs have made it the de facto terminology.

Repetition makes things seem acceptable.

Handmaid's Tale, anyone?

[Edited for open tag removingt most of third paragraph from bottom]

Submitted by Hugh on

Studies and commissions are indeed today's way for cowardly politicians to delay doing what is right in the expectation that the political climate in the future will facilitate doing or continuing what is wrong.

And why not? As you point out, they got away with it with DADT and I would add the Cat Food Commission, they will keep doing it until it doesn't work.

I'm right with you to on needing to study voting for Democrats. It could take a long, long time before I finish my assessment and come to a conclusion. Sorry about that, Dems, but I'm sure you would agree it's important to get this right.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

Sorry I don't have an answer. I surely don't remember this being mentioned during the debates.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

esp when they won't be forced to care for or financially support the offspring. not all men, of course, but there seems to be a really high number of them who really don't care if slutty bitches (who may have been potential ideal marriage partners and mothers the night before) have to pay for their sluttishness with supporting a child that results.

go on and flame me for this, but i know a lot of liberal guys who have directly expressed to me that they would've been pretty OK with one or another lover getting pregnant, and keeping it, unexpectedly. far away and without the need for financial or childrearing support, that is. it's a huge ego boost for men to believe that a woman/one night stand partner is willing to raise the child of that encounter. "i'm so manly she can't help but want my baby!" so what if they have to chisel away at reproductive choice laws to indulge in that fantasy? "good women" never have to make those choices anyway, right? they only have babies when they mean to, and their men say they should.

ms_xeno's picture
Submitted by ms_xeno on

Doubt it's just the province of liberal guys, either. Too many Lefty men have a huge blind spot about patriarchy, just as too many liberal feminists have a huge blind spot about corporate hegemony and its stranglehold on their champions: the Democrats.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

There are men like that out there.

But there are a lot of guys who aren't like that. For example, the married guys who already have two kids or the guys who don't want any kids (and there are those, too). But they don't consider this their problem because birth control has become the woman's responsibility. They arrange to get it. They pay for it (even if it comes out of the family budget, they're usually the ones who find the money for it). So it's this invisible benefit the men get (not to mention all the single men who get laid because women don't have to worry about getting pregnant).

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

Besides Medicare, there are two other single payer federal plans... Tricare pays for civlian providers for military families and retirees, the VA's similar CHAMPVA provides nearly identical coverage for the dependents and survivors of severely disabled veterans (the odd name dates from when Tricare was still called CHAMPUS).

Let's go to the Tricare website, I promise it will take less than a year (the CHAMPVA list is nearly identical)--
Family Planning

TRICARE covers the following family planning:

* Surgical insertion, removal, and replacement of intrauterine devices.
* Measurement for, and purchase of, contraceptive diaphragms, including remeasurement and replacement.
* Prescription contraceptives and prescription contraceptives used as emergency contraceptives.
* Implantable prescription contraceptives if FDA approved and used for the labeled indication.
* Male and female surgical sterilization.
http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/jsp/Med...