While watching MSNBC yesterday morning, at 9:49 am, I Tweeted:
.@BarackObama @MSNBC @JoeNBC @MorningMika *IDEA* Have all insurance cos EAT the cost of BC coverage. All MUST offer it--like a lagniappe.
Three minutes later, at 9:52 am, I elaborated further, Tweeting:
.@BarackObama @MSNBC @JoeNBC @MorningMika *IDEA* BirthControl cheaper thn maternity coverge. Make insurance co. provide FREE.and as you'll see, writer and blogger Jeff Fecke replied "Sounds like that could be the plan". Not having heard anything myself at that point, I replied that I would be "amazed and happy" if it were, but I wasn't holding my breath. Then Jeff supplied a link to the then-breaking news. Look:
When I thought about all this yesterday morning--well before the White House officially announced the plan, ahem, you're welcome President Obama*--I was musing about what would the best way forward that could simultaneously give the Catholic Bishops the deniability they ostensibly needed (let's give them the benefit of the doubt here and assume that they really are just aggrieved at having their beliefs violated, and that this has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone wanting to control women's lives) and give women employees of Catholic-owned businesses the access to birth control that they needed.
I reasoned that by making free birth control an inherent part of the medical insurance policies themselves--wherein coverage costs exactly the same whether the individuals so covered avail themselves of contraceptives or not--the accommodation would afford the Catholic Church a moral "out" of sorts. They would be able to view purchasing and providing healthcare insurance the way they might view a drugstore. There is a broad variety of products for sale within said store, products that a Catholic needs, even as there are other products for sale--on the shelves in the contraceptive aisle, for example--that a devout, birth-control-opposing Catholic would not select for his or her own use. In other words, the mere existence of Cathlic-Church-prohibited products within that store does not, itself, render the other, needed products--along with the entire store--anathema to Catholics, since they will only be purchasing that which they need and want and are not in any way being forced to pay for the prohibited products. The existence of those prohibited products simply comes along with the existence of the store.
It was a semantic dodge and a fungibility dodge, yes. But it worked for me.
And agreeing to comply with this policy adjustment would surely be a financial consideration for the insurance companies--as I pointed out in the second Tweet above. Good grief, it's pretty straightforward math to state that it costs far less to provide a woman with contraceptives than it does to cover the skyrocketing costs associated with obstetric care, and that's when all goes smoothly, which as we know, it often doesn't. Emergency C-sections are expensive. Neonatal intensive care is mind-bogglingly expensive. Babies are expensive, period.
But you know what? I don't mind. If the way to the insurance industries' heart (such as it is) is through their bottom line, so be it. (Yes, they are getting a killer of a sweetheart deal with this Affordable Care Act, which is a post for another day, I promise.)
For women of all religions and no religion alike, yesterday's announcement was win-win. We women don't get to see those very often, and I think it's a good idea to commit to memory the various anti-women, anti-choice, and flat-out misogynist statements we heard some politicians throw around this week. Those politicians aren't going anywhere, not unless half the nation's voting-age citizens--the ones in actual possession of the uteri that these jokers in Washington are treating like their personal property, or else footballs--begins sending them away for good and replacing them with leaders more given to solving critical problems than resurrecting long-settled debates over matters that are none of their business.
[*I kid, I kid...]