Monday, December 2, 2013

Megan McArdle Questions the True Motivations of the Contraception Mandate

Good article at the the Atlantic. After going through if a HSS Contraception is really that necessary in the big scheme of things of health care she say :

...... The administration didn’t force employers with a religious objection to offer contraception because it made financial or medical sense; they did it because it had great symbolic value to Barack Obama’s political base. And much of that symbolic value seems to actually come from the willingness to coerce people who object to buy the stuff. You can imagine that in an intra-left debate over what mandatory services should be covered, some of the people now professing outrage at Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. (one of the parties involved) would see the logic of ditching birth control if it lowered premiums by $15 a month and thereby increased access. But, in fact, if you want to make the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act viable for the long term, you’re going to need the support of folks like Hobby Lobby as much as you need low premiums.

 There are many religious people in America, and if you want to keep stirring up active opposition to the law, one good way is to suggest that this law forces them to pay for something they are convinced is morally wrong. (Hobby Lobby’s objection is not to contraception in general, but specifically to products that could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.) 

If you want to still be fighting Obamacare in the trenches 40 years from now, the best way I can think of is appending it to the argument over abortion. I understand that you may think Hobby Lobby’s position is ridiculous, or that contraception is a fundamental human right, but here’s the problem: Hobby Lobby’s owners, and millions of other Americans, hold the opposite opinion at least as strongly. In a pluralistic society, they have the right to fight you on it every step of the way. 

To state the obvious, Obamacare is probably not going to survive many more such battles. If the administration loses in the Supreme Court, that will be good news for religious liberty, but also good news for Obamacare. Right now, the administration needs to pick its battles carefully. This should not be a hill they’re willing to let the law die on.

I think she is largely right and she is far from alone in the view about  motivations. It does seem people enjoy their moral superiority when they start out their sentences " I can believe in the 21  St Century we are arguing over birth control " .

It needs to be recalled that this threat was barely on anyone's radar at the time they were just tryuing to get the votes to pass the Affordable Care Act. Everyone was focused on abortion , and the President had seem to promises to such people as Cardinal Dolan there was nothing to worry about on this front.

I think Megan McArdle is right on the other point. What kind of game plan is this if you support the Affordable Care Act ? Further if think a more active Federal Government is a good thing then why are you supporting a major war against common sense religious accommodations that basically is not a huge to burden to the law at all ?


James B said...

I see two possibilities:

1. The Administration wants to "put religion in its place" and is looking to set precedent. Their base of urban thirtysomethings and twentysomethings is particularly hostile to religion having come of age during the height of abuses of the religious right. They fully support "big government" reigning in "big religion".

2. The Administration is so blinded by ideology, they can't imagine anyone having a different opinion from them or why this would possibly be controversial.

Hanlon's razor favors the latter, but I believe some of the first is involved too.

Rick67 said...

I think McArdle's piece shows great insight, and I had the same thought a while back. (Must have deleted the post when purging/moving my blog.) This isn't about birth control. This is about neutralizing the enemy or (to put it more gently) cowing into submission any potential sources of resistance to statist ideology. I think James B's option 1 and 2 both apply.

James H said...

Thanks the comments. I do think there is something really going on here behind the scenes in pleasing certaian bases that has never been explored