Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cough Drops - The Mandate

I hope everyone has enjoyed the media firestorm about whether the government should be able to force the Catholic Church to provide birth control pills to its employees. 

I also hope that you'll take just a few minutes from your busy day to enjoy this bit o' brilliance from Reason magazine:

Here's a modest proposal from the great Virginia Postrel about selling birth control pills over-the-counter:

Making the pill available over the counter could reduce the amount of outrage and invective available for entertaining radio audiences, spurring political fundraising and otherwise amusing the American public. But the medical risks are quite low....

Birth-control pills can have side effects, of course, but so can such over-the-counter drugs as antihistamines, ibuprofen or the Aleve that once turned me into a scary, hive-covered monster. That’s why even the most common over-the-counter drugs, including aspirin, carry warning labels. Most women aren’t at risk from oral contraceptives, however, just as most patients aren’t at risk from aspirin or Benadryl, and studies suggest that a patient checklist can catch most potential problems....

Aside from safety, the biggest argument for keeping birth- control pills prescription-only is, to put it bluntly, extortion. The current arrangement forces women to go to the doctor at least once a year, usually submitting to a pelvic exam, if they want this extremely reliable form of contraception. That demand may suit doctors’ paternalist instincts and financial interests, but it doesn’t serve patients’ needs. As [a 1993 editorial in the American Journal of Public Health] noted, the exam requirement “assumes that it would be worse for a woman’s health to miss out on routine care than it would be to miss out on taking oral contraceptives.”
Hit this link to read the whole thing. 
From Nick Gillespie:
Can't legislators agree that those of us who are, say, over 18 years old, are adults and if we can buy condoms without a prescription, we should be able to shop for birth-control pills on our lonesome too? And a host of other drugs?
And this young woman, Sandra Fluke, claims that birth control for her three years of law school is an intolerable burden, and that other people should be forced to pay for it.  She claims that it will cost her $3,000.00 for three years. 
Can we not do the charitable thing, and put a damn condom machine in her dorm room? 


Dr Ralph said...

"The Pill" is a hormone treatment. It's not a freaking cough drop. It has a number of medically indicated treatments beside preventing pregnancy, all of which have been discussed at length.

The real issue here is this: why is an employer inserting themselves between a doctor and his/her patient's decisions about medical options.

If this type of invasion of privacy was being done by the Government there would be all matter of howling coming from the Republitarian right. Why it's okay when an employer does it is beyond me.

You can bet if men could get pregnant, this discussion would be along completely different lines.

Z said...

phuck all this his/her argument. This is clearly a case of people thinking the government should be inserting themselves and letting businesses insert their interests in between a person and their doctor. Birth control pills are hormone treatments, nothing more. There are many reasons for wanting or needing hormone treatments. It is not the government's place nor the employer's place, nor even the church's place to tell doctors how best to treat their patients or to tell people what treatments they can choose to take.

Everyone mentions Fluke but fails to mention what she said accurately. If birth control pills cured testicular cancer you know it would be legalized post haste. Every last person arguing against birth control is arguing about religion not medical treatments. For this we can know they are ignorant and should be told to go pray the problem away... in private.

CenTexTim said...

Last time I looked the Catholic Church wasn't saying birth control pills or other forms of contraceptives should be illegal or that people should be denied access to them. The church's position was that it shouldn't be forced to pay for something that violates its teachings.

What's next? The government forcing Jewish or Muslim institutions to provide bacon for their employees?

For the record, I am not Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim. I just believe that people should be free to do whatever they want without interference from religious or governmental institutions. I also believe that people should pay their own way. Neither I nor anyone else should be forced to pay for other people's choices.

Dr Ralph said...

CenTexTim - with Rick Santorum arguing that states should be allowed to ban contraception, the Catholic Church can sit back and let him carry their water.

I'm not even going to make the over-used argument about Viagra coverage. Instead, let me ask: what about coverage for vasectomies?

Bacon? Do you need a doctor's prescription for that? Or is that only for *cured* bacon?

CenTexTim said...

Dr. Ralph -

Methinks you may have missed my point. I don't care if it's Santorum, Obama, the Catholic Church, or Zippy the Wonder Chimp. Leave me alone.

Let me make my own choices, and I'll pay for them. Let other people make their own choices, and they can pay for them.

Contraceptives, abortions, Viagra, vasectomies ... I don't care. You want 'em, you can have 'em - but you pay for 'em.

As for bacon: Give me Bacon, or give me Death!

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Doc Boudreaux,

What if the government required car insurance companies to cover oil changes, air filters, and new tires?
And sorry, but if I'm an employer and have to buy someone something at gunpoint, the privacy argument goes out the window.
No one (outside of our Catholic friends) is wanting to deny birth control pills to anyone. Some people don't believe that they should be required to pay for someone else's.
I do believe that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. However, there are well-documented ways of preventing pregnancy.

Dr Ralph said...

"However, there are well-documented ways of preventing pregnancy."

In Rush Limbaugh's case, it's his personality.