Rush Limbaugh: Rudeness aside, did he have a point?
Well, yes and no. In the case Rush Limbaugh raised, taxpayers would not have to pay for a college student's contraception. But in the future, Obama reforms mean taxpayer money could go subsidize insurance plans that include contraception.
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In general, this would be a popular move, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll. The survey found that 60 percent of Americans support the administration’s attempt to get health plans to provide women with free contraceptives.Skip to next paragraph
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However, the situation is complicated by the fact that the White House has now proposed a compromise in which insurance companies will be required provide free contraception, but employers who provide health-care coverage for their workers won’t be required to pay for it.
To the White House, this means that employers with moral objections to contraception won’t have to pay for it themselves. Health-care economists note that the move would simply change contraception from a direct to an indirect insurance cost.
“Insurers will likely just shut up and go along with it. They have no intention of getting into the middle of this political mess – but they will quietly pass the costs along” to others in the insurance pool, writes health-industry consultant Bob Laszewski on his Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review blog.
But is the White House laying the groundwork for taxpayer-funded contraception? That is another question, and the answer to that is almost certainly “yes.”
President Obama’s health-care reforms have greatly increased the government’s power to mandate what’s in many health-insurance packages. Under current law, beginning in 2014, the US will subsidize the purchase of individual insurance for those who can’t afford it on their own. That insurance will have to meet certain standards, set by the government.
That is one reason why those opposed to Mr. Obama’s health reforms in general have reacted so strongly to the contraceptive mandate in particular.
“It’s the first concrete detail we’ve seen about the essential benefits package that is what insurance will have to cover as part of ObamaCare,” said Jennifer Marshall, director for domestic policy studies for the Heritage Foundation, in a video.
So in a larger sense – one that is unrelated to Ms. Fluke – tax dollars may indeed fund contraceptives for women. Whether that constitutes a subsidy for sexual activity, as Limbaugh implies, is another question.
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