37 thoughts on “Crony Contraceptives

  1. Larry J

    My wife pays a copay for her blood pressure medication. I pay a copay for my statins. Why should contraceptives be “free”?

    If you were told that you could have the choice of the most expensive medication or a cheap generic for free, which would you choose? After all, someone else is paying for it.

    1. Jim

      The list of covered preventive services, and information on the task force that decided to include oral contraceptives (but not statins), is available here.

      1. Curt Thomson

        That “task force” had nothing whatsoever to do with this decision. If they had, then “oral contraceptives” would appear in the list. It doesn’t. This decision was made by politicians. For political reasons.

        1. Jim

          It doesn’t

          You’re looking at the 2010 list; it’s on the 2011 list.

          This decision was made by politicians.

          No, the list of services was based on a report by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.

          1. Curt Thomson

            You’re looking at the 2010 list; it’s on the 2011 list.

            Do you really want to stick with that? After the 2000 page “we have to pass it to know what’s in it” thing was finished, they decided to add BC pills?? I think you need to “run home to momma”.

            “National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine” –
            Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps

            What gaps, exactly?

          2. Jim

            To quote from the report brief:

            The IOM convened a committee of experts to identify critical gaps in the preventive services already identified in the ACA, which are based on recommendations developed by three independent bodies: the United States Preventive Services Task Force, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Bright Futures recommendations for adolescents, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

            The committee defined preventive health services as measures— including medications, procedures, devices, tests, education, and counseling— shown to improve well-being and/or decrease the likelihood or delay the onset of a targeted disease or condition. To guide its deliberations in determining gaps in preventive services not included in existing guidelines, the committee developed four overarching questions:

            Are high-quality systematic evidence reviews available which indicate that the service is effective in women?
            Are quality peer-reviewed studies available that demonstrate effectiveness of the service in women?
            Has the measure been identified as a federal priority to address in women’s preventive services?
            Are there existing federal, state, or international practices, professional guidelines, or federal reimbursement policies that support the use of the measure?

            Preventive measures recommended by the IOM committee for preventive coverage consideration met the following criteria:

            The condition to be prevented affects a broad population;
            The condition to be prevented has a large potential impact on health and well-being; and
            The quality and strength of the evidence is supportive.

          3. Curt Thomson

            Has the measure been identified as a federal priority to address in women’s preventive services?

            But there’s no politics involved. It’s all just a bunch of doctors coming together to formulate wise health policy.

            What a dull tool you are.

    2. Titus

      Why should contraceptives be “free”?

      Who “should” win the Superbowl next year? The team that plays the best, where best = who wins. That’s all this is.

      1. Larry J

        Sounds like Obama thinks he can buy the “women’s votes” cheap by giving them “free” birth control. Sad to say, he may be right for a lot of women.

        1. Gregg

          Actually the ploy has multiple benefits for Obama:

          It helps buy female votes

          It helps to paint the GOP as neanderthal goons

          It distracts attention from the lousy economy

          It distracts attention from the Iran nuke issue (only to a small degree – this is an issue that won’t be denied attention).

          It captures the initiative ( GOP responding to his actions rather than the reverse).

          And even if Obama should lose in the end, he an paint the whole thing as GOP obstruction to His Glorious Plans.

          1. Titus

            “Conservatives” must always be framed as the aggressors, even though they’re only playing defense. (q.v. “gay marriage”)

    3. Curt Thomson

      Larry, would you rather have those things at no cost, or at a reduced cost where they are being developed in an environment where their makers have incentive to make them less expensively. And also have incentive to make others that are better.

      1. Larry J

        Obama’s policy makes no distinction between low cost generics and more expensive newer contraceptives. They’re all supposed to be “free.” Given the choice between a Toyota Corolla (a prefectly serviceable small car) and a Lexus, if both were “free”, which would you choose? As demand for the more expensive contraceptives increases, so will the price that the insurance companies (and taxpayers for government subsidized patients) have to pay. It’s basic supply and demand.

        Oral contraceptives are sometimes prescribed when a woman has menstral problems. That’s a medical issue and should be treated exactly the same as any other medication – it should be covered with a copay like any other medication. For my health insurance drug coverage, the copay for generics is considerably less than for name brand drugs. So should it be for contraceptives. Copays serve a purpose.

        I’m not religious so that isn’t an issue with me, although I respect the religious rights of others. For me, this is strictly an economics issue. When Obama forces insurance companies (or the government) to give contraceptives for “free”, it’s going to end up costing a lot of money, perhaps into the billions of dollars. Nothing is free. We end up paying for everything (or going deeper in debt because the government is broke).

        1. Curt Thomson

          Copays serve a purpose.

          They do indeed. It begs the question, why is Obama going out of his way to eliminate them.

        2. Jim

          For me, this is strictly an economics issue. When Obama forces insurance companies (or the government) to give contraceptives for “free”, it’s going to end up costing a lot of money, perhaps into the billions of dollars.

          According to a new Brookings study, providing contraceptives for free would save taxpayers a billion dollars a year.

          Are you sure this is strictly an economics issue for you?

          1. Curt Thomson

            These programs can save taxpayers anywhere from $2 to $6 for every $1 spent

            If we spent enough on it, we should be able to eliminate the national debt. Hell, there might be enough left over to fund Medicare. Brilliant. Our troubles are over.

          2. Larry J

            I just wrote a long answer only to have it disappear due to a JavaScript error. That’s the second time that’s happened lately. I need to make sure I copy the text before hitting “post comment.”

            Here’s the shorter version:

            Over the years, I’ve seen many studies from liberal organizations like the Brookings Institution that claim big savings from increased government spending. Only, the reality is that those savings never seem to materialize in the real world. It’s like when they claim raising the income tax rate will automatically result in an increase in revenue, only to find that it doesn’t. What these studies fail to do is to factor in changes in human behavior as a result of government incentives (or tax rates).

            If someone is told that they can have something for “free,” then price is no object because someone else is paying the bill. Generic oral contraceptives are available for a few dollars a month while name brands reportedly cost in the neighborhood of $50, perhaps more. If price is no factor, who is going to choose the lower cost option? My prediction is that demand for the higher priced name brands will increase. Supply and demand being what it is, that will drive up the prices even more. After all, the drug companies will have absolutely no incentive to keep prices down.

            There were other things I wrote in the lost post that would take too long to rewrite. Briefly, these can include other things such as increased medical costs due to the side effects of birth control pills such as potentially deadly blood clots. There are many other forms of birth control besides the pill but many of them also have side effects. Did the study factor in those increased medical costs as well?

            This has nothing to do with the very personal decision to use contraception or what type to use. Frankly, I couldn’t care less. My concerns are that this is yet another politically motivated government giveaway that promises big savings only to come up short (no pun intended). In the end, the insurance policy premium payers and taxpayers will be on the hook for hundreds of millions (more likely billions) of dollars in increased expenses each year to buy the votes for Democrats.

          3. Titus

            Larry, you mean like this?

            Hey guys, how many times we going to keep repeating this experiment? Are we sure this is a strictly economics issue for them?

  2. Sigivald

    I’m dubious about his idea that the HHS mandate to cover “all FDA approved methods” means that an insurer can’t say “generics for X mean we’re covering that method of contraception” and contain costs.

    The best argument is that it’s none of the State’s god-damn business (and there’s no enumerated power that lets them do it).

  3. Curt Thomson

    Ask more health-care analysts why the cost of medical services continues to rise so rapidly and near the top of the list is the fact that a third-party payment system won’t contain costs.

    I guess we can see why they decided to call it The Affordable Care Act. The only thing more “affordable” is single-payer. Wonder what Big Pharma’s opinion on that is. Wonder if anyone there is cautioning about the possibility of a very big “OOPS” on the horizon.

    1. Karl Hallowell

      I guess we can see why they decided to call it The Affordable Care Act. The only thing more “affordable” is single-payer.

      The only mystery is whether the bill sponsors intended it to work that way.

    2. Leland

      In reality, the Affordable Care Act was great for the insurance companies. Instead of having to compete for individuals and businesses, they now will become government providers like Boeing and Lockheed Martin. And we know how well that works…

      1. Jim

        ACA doesn’t make insurers government providers, they will still sell their services directly to businesses and individuals. The difference is that businesses and individuals will be required to buy those services. That’s new business for insurers, which makes up for the fact that they’ll have to cover preventive services and people with pre-existing conditions.

        1. Titus

          No, the mandate does nothing. What’s going to bring in any new customers is all the new subsidization of premiums. No one buys insurance if it’s a raw deal, and for those decling to buy insurance now, the deal only gets worse under Obamacare.

          Related, oral arguments begin March 26. :) Cheers!

        2. Curt Thomson

          So the government is telling insurers exactly what their policies must contain, that they cannot include deductibles or co-pays, and that their “customers” must purchase those policies. But that doesn’t make them government providers.

          Using the acronym is a smart move there Jim.

          1. Titus

            It’s the old “socialism” vs. “facism” debate where what’s at stake is only who’s name’s on the shingle.

  4. kayawanee

    There’s something very wrong with all of this. Ultimately, we (everybody who pays for insurance) are all are forced to funnel huge amounts of money directly to big pharaceutical companies. That’s bad enough, but there is another rather loathsome factor here.

    People who do not use a lot of birth control (often people who are NOT getting la!d), are being forced to subsidize the sex lives of those who do.

    So, not only are they not getting la!d, but they’ve got to pay for those who are. What an aweful kick in the ribs to the lonesome losers out there!

    Yes, there is definitely something terribly unfair here!

      1. kayawanee

        While it couldn’t hurt to learn, the application would be somewhat problematic. I’m married, and currently happily at that. Something I would probably NOT be once I started applying your “Game” methodology. =)

  5. Al

    1) People actually carrying a weapon are less likely to be robbed, raped or killed.
    2) Therefore, free guns.

    I’ll take a GAU-8.

      1. Leland

        What they said, so I want my GAU-8 with the PGU-14/B API rounds.

        Then again, you don’t exactly carry a GAU-8, so I want a HK MP7 for daily use.

    1. Larry J

      Back in 1975, the humor columnist Art Buckwald wrote a column about the problem with cheap “Saturday Night Special” handguns. His suggestion was gun stamps so people could get better weapons.

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