The next chess piece moves
Does Obama’s dictatorial ploy to force private companies and the individuals therein to both pay for and provide “free” birth control, sterilization, arbortifacients, etc., gain strength if it can actually lower the costs of health insurance premiums? Writes Sarah W in the comments:
I am horrified at the prospect of national health care, and the related infringements of Obamacare if anyone here isn’t familiar with me.
People ought to be able to provide for their own costs or prudent provision of insurance, by having less of any money spent in that direction confiscated to government coffers; along with health accounts with tax free growth to boost the power of that money. Employer based insurance is part of the problem ( although there are different ways to change that system and I don’t mean to go into that now. ) Mainly I think individuals should have more power and choice in the matter and that this particular issue would be moot if people bought their own plans and paid their own expenses.
Let me be the debbil though. Devils advocate for a moment (and devils advocate only). I have a feeling this is going to come up, and I think it ought to be talked about. What if net subscriber costs went DOWN as as result, or were raised much less than predicted when adjusted for the following:
This wasn’t addressed directly, unless I missed it, in the article – there is an expected savings from one of the pricier payouts for insurers – the cost of pregnancy and childbirth, especially complicated pregnancy and childbirth, and the extraordinarily high expenses associated with premature delivery of a baby (who is generally added to the parents insurance without any exclusions possible for the insurer, and whose care may rapidly mount into the hundred of thousands and even millions in rare cases over time).
It is possible that this would make provision of contraceptives and sterilization procedures cost effective and lower insurer payouts overall.
I’d like to know the true answer to that. It would have some effect certainly.
But assuming it is true – what then? The argument that costs rise for all even when there is no direct subsidy of a particular health care consumers choices is weaker then.
To which I’d like to answer this way:
Dear Devil’s advocate,
The answer is, we needn’t sell our individual liberty and autonomy for a coupon, if that’s what it comes down to, just as we shouldn’t only concern ourselves with losses in individual liberty if the immediate price tag goes up a bit.
And because there was no shortage of availability for cheap contraceptives before Obama’s dictate — and because the rate of abortion is already so elevated in poor areas to begin with — the point is moot anyway: you aren’t going to significantly decrease pregnancies because pregnancies today are widely planned (or at least welcomed), while those that aren’t are readily dealt with, either in advance (through the use of cheap and readily available contraception, from condoms to the pill to the very free abstinence) or after the fact. And even if you did, the savings would be diffuse and long term, pace the analysis from HHS.
Besides that — and this is crucial — none of this is the point. For instance, why make birth control services “free”? Why not, by the same logic, make, say, Lipitor “free.” After all, to play devil’s advocate to your devil’s advocate, heart disease and disease caused by high cholesterol (diabetes, etc.) are on the whole likely more expensive to treat in the long run than is the price of “free” Lipitor spread among the entirety of the mandated population, right?
The point being, that once you begin concentrating on such localized questions, you’re now back to a kind of Gingrich noodling about what should and shouldn’t be provided and at what cost according to a government now intimately involved in the health care of everyone, all of which — by getting us lost in the weeds — misses the overarching point (as I believe is the point): the market and private contracts should be controlling these decisions and prices, and that includes getting the government out of the way of who it allows to join what pool even if it’s across state lines.
Obama is systematically pandering identity group to identity group, promising them “free” things or tax payer-funded relief that people in these various groups wish to take advantage of. And the pitch is seductive, because we’ve all come to realize that we have a government that has no compunction about spending money it doesn’t have — making it difficult for us to reject our cut of an out of control entitlement State. And all Obama and the progressives are asking for in return is that the people they’re buying off eventually enslave themselves utterly to the state.
I would pause here to mention how none of this movement toward dictatorship and the deconstruction of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights would have been nearly as likely had we not adopted and then legitimated 1) a New Critical — and later post structural — hermeneutic that allowed the Constitution to be rewritten under the aegis of “interpretation” that, because it dismissed the need to appeal to original intent, was not in fact interpretation; and 2) a judicial system that gives itself leave to build and rule upon the presumed legitimacy of prior poorly-reasoned, unconstitutional “interpretations” instead of returning to the source documents.
I’ve been told bringing ideas about interpretation and language into the rough-and-tumble of politics is “fundamentally unserious.” But the truth is, this control over language, how it’s used, and what comes to count as a legitimate claim upon it, is the very foundation upon which the Statist coup is built, because the stumbling block to the left’s Utopian designs in this country — and here is where American exceptionalism comes in to play — has always been a Constitution designed and intended to limit their power and control their reach.
Which is why we have now — and have had at various times in our history (see, eg., Woodrow Wilson) — active, leftist intellectual and academic attempts to question 1) the legitimacy of the Constitution and its framers, and failing that, to question its role as foundational, should we wish to maintain the fiction that we are a country of laws and equal protection for all thereunder; and 2) its fixed intent, should we wish to maintain the fiction that there is, in fact, something stable to appeal back to when we gauge the legitimacy of the Statist’s plans to affect the relationship between a government and the putatively self-governed, be it through Executive order or legislation or the administrative state or court activism.
The coupling between ownership over meaning and individual autonomy, as I’ve repeatedly tried to explain over the years, is foundational to our constitutional republic as envisioned by the Declaration; just as the move to make “interpretation” as an operation a matter of motivated consensus at the expense of the individual — now bracketed as his words become public, and his signs are reduced to signifiers then reconfigured as new signs by various interpretive communities seeking to marshal them for their own purposes — is anathema to a society that claims to stand for the rights of the individual.
The erosion of our Constitutional protections is tied directly to the linguistically incoherent procedures we’ve at various times legitimated; the originalist view, which coincides with the intentionalist idea of interpretative coherence and legitimacy, stands as a bullwark against motivated rewritings disguised as interpretation.
And it because we allowed the left, through emotional appeals that praise the “democratizing of meaning” (while simultaneously decrying the linguistic totalitarianism of the individual author), to convince us that what we think we’re doing when we interpret is not a serious or useful question, that we now find the leftist, textualist idea of interpretation institutionalized — and working actively at the bedrock level of epistemology to replace individual autonomy with a kind of motivated and politically-charged collectivism.