In non-ASSET news, POTUS today announced an “accommodation” for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops who rallied its political clout to deny affordable access to birth control (rather than, say, education reform to empower our youth, or maybe eliminating the wage gap that has created this 99%-1% schism or any other number of policies, but I digress). Long story short, instead of employers that provide health insurance to their employees having to provide policies that cover birth control – which 99% of U.S. women have or will have used throughout their lifetimes – without co-pays,* now the responsibility is on insurers to provide that coverage, without additional copays.
Some call the “accommodation” a win-win for removing cost as a barrier for contraceptive access without trampling on Catholic bishops’ theology. After the flip, check out some of the more nuanced analysis that asks what this accommodation really means for women’s health…
*Churches and other places of worship have never been required to cover birth control
As always, the devil is in the details, or in this case, the implementation, as Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post points out:
[I]nsurance companies, rather than faith-based agencies, will offer birth-control coverage directly to these employees and foot the bill….
[While four states have set the precedent for this model], in those states the individual employees pick up the tab for the contraceptives rather than the insurance company….
By one report’s measure, it costs about $21.40 to add birth control, IUDs and other contraceptives to an insurance plan. Those costs may be offset by a reduction in pregnancies. But unless drug manufacturers decide to start handing out free contraceptives, the money to buy them will have to come from somewhere.
And Maya from Feministing succinctly characterizes the environment with:
When a bunch of celibate men can throw a hissy fit and get out of providing a basic benefit that most Catholics want and most Catholic employers already cover on the bullshit basis of “religious freedom,” you know things are bad. And the next battle could end up worse.
-Obama administration sidesteps religious institutions on no-cost birth control, Feministing.com
Does today’s “accommodation” open the door for the Nelson rule that requires anyone receiving a public subsidy to pay for health insurance to write two checks if that person wants abortion coverage – and insurance carriers to document separation monies received from subsidized premiums from those received from unsubsidized abortion premiums – to be replicated for birth control?