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Cost of the mandate

March 12, 2012 - Jim Anderson
I’m trying to make sense of Bill O’Reilly’s arguments about the costs of contraceptives, published in today’s newspaper (March 12) under the heading “Sense of entitlement.”

O’Reilly says Sandra Fluke’s support for “government-subsidized” birth control should be “debated on its own merits.”

Forcing health insurance companies to offer coverage for contraceptives means that those same companies will pass their costs on to consumers in the form of higher premiums, O’Reilly says.

It’s uncertain whether costs will actually rise but, OK, fair enough.

( reviewed a number of studies and was unable to conclude whether a birth-control mandate would result in a net cost increase or not. A link to the analysis is available at right.)

“Since Obamacare appeared in the public square, my health insurance costs have risen by about 30 percent,” O’Reilly writes.

Health insurance costs were skyrocketing long before Obamacare came into view but OK, again, fair enough.

Here’s where I start getting confused.

O’Reilly says the cost of birth control isn’t really the issue for people like the Georgetown law student Fluke because “free female birth control” can be picked up at government-funded clinics all over the USA. (And he has experience trying to access such services?)

Anyway, again, I’ll foggily say fair enough.

Here’s where I get lost.

O’Reilly writes:

“And if you don't want to do that, a local Target store just three miles from where Fluke lives sells a monthly supply of the pill for $9.”

That modest retail cost, O’Reilly claims, is evidence that “the pill issue” is a “bogus, contrived controversy.”

So, at the start of his column, millionaire O’Reilly is afraid premiums will rise because of the coverage mandate. Later, he concludes the mandate is a bogus issue cost-wise because birth control is — in his mind — fairly inexpensive.

Hard to follow much?

The real issue, O’Reilly says, is the imposition of the federal government on the teachings of the Catholic Church and the continuing advancement of the Nanny State.

But if that’s the argument he wants to make, why does he spend so much time muddying the waters with complaints about insurance costs?

Also, why does he ignore the fact that birth control medication has other uses relating to health and reproduction aside from preventing pregnancy?



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