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February 29, 2012

Does ObamaCare Illegally Discriminate Against Men?

During a conversation with my daughter in law over the weekend, the topic of faith-based objections to free contraception came up. My DIL brought up the topic as an example of how biased media coverage can be. She told me that although she had often heard me claim the media selectively edit out inconvenient facts, she had never seen this so clearly as with the coverage of the contraceptives controversy.

So I found it even more astounding when, during our conversation, it became clear to me that (despite reading several stories on the topic) she had no idea that ObamaCare mandates that FREE contraceptives be provided to women. In fact, she went so far as to argue with me because she found the idea so ludicrous that she wanted to see proof. (full disclosure, my DIL is a conservative).

Whilst Googling up the proof, I stumbed across yet another astounding factoid. Apparently, under ObamaCare only women get free contraceptives:

1) Are male-based contraceptive methods, such as vasectomies or condoms, covered by the rule?

An HHS official said on Friday that women’s preventive services guidelines apply to women only.

Guidelines issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of HHS, require coverage without cost sharing for "all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity" as prescribed by a provider, according to the Federal Register.

The insurers' letter from September says they interpreted the rule to include only female-based contraception and that the requirement to waive co-payments "does not apply to methods and procedures intended for males."

But Adam Sonfield, senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group, says the language is unclear, and it would be foolish to exclude vasectomies. For one thing, he says, they are less expensive and pose a lower risk of complications than female surgical sterilization methods. Plus, he says, waiving co-payments for services for one sex but not the other raises issues of discrimination.

“I can’t see how it would be in anyone’s interest to treat them differently,” says Sonfield.

Un.believable... and it only makes this story more amusing:

Speaking at a hearing held by Pelosi to tout Pres. Obama’s mandate that virtually every health insurance plan cover the full cost of contraception and abortion-inducing products, Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke said that it’s too expensive to have sex in law school without mandated insurance coverage.

Apparently, four out of every ten co-eds are having so much sex that it's hard to make ends meet if they have to pay for their own contraception, Fluke's research shows.

"Forty percent of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to us that they struggled financially as a result of this policy (Georgetown student insurance not covering contraception), Fluke reported.

It costs a female student $3,000 to have protected sex over the course of her three-year stint in law school, according to her calculations.

... At a dollar a condom if she shops at CVS pharmacy’s website, that $3,000 would buy her 3,000 condoms – or, 1,000 a year. (By the way, why does CVS.com list the weight of its condom products in terms of pounds?)

Assuming it’s not a leap year, that’s 1,000 divided by 365 – or having sex 2.74 times a day, every day, for three straight years. And, I thought Georgetown was a Catholic university where women might be prone to shun casual, unmarried sex. At least its health insurance doesn't cover contraception (that which you subsidize, you get more of, you know).

And, that’s not even considering that there are Planned Parenthood clinics in her neighborhood that give condoms away and sell them at a discount, which could help make her sexual zeal more economical.

I guess this is what happens when you rush to pass a bill you haven't even read to address the issue of "fairness". Still, there's no rational public policy excuse for such blatant discrimination. Condoms don't just protect against pregnancy - they protect against STDs.

I don't think anyone should get free birth control, but if we're going to go down that road, what's good for the goose should be good for the gander, IFKWIMAITYD.

Posted by Cassandra at February 29, 2012 08:08 AM

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I was wondering if you were going to pick up on that story... The young lady would probably be a better fit at ASU than Georgetown. :P

Interesting point on the lack of coverage for male oriented contraception. I hadn't noticed that, but can't say I'm surprised.

Posted by: Pogue at February 29, 2012 09:45 AM

That's funny. When we want to sterilize a herd of horses or cattle, we usually do it the other way around...

Posted by: Grim at February 29, 2012 10:28 AM

How can Obamacare be accused of discriminating against men in the area of contraceptive coverage? Since a woman's pregnancy--or lack--is entirely her responsibility, there's nothing for discrimination here. Hmm....

As to the female law student's problem, I find her objection laudable. It's not possible properly to handle the legal issues surrounding sexual harassment without vasty research into...sex. Apparently she and her female student colleagues are quite diligent.

Finally, ...a dollar a condom if she shops at CVS pharmacy’s website....: I don't know why a fiscally responsible individual such as Ms Fluke would buy such expensive condoms. The CondomDepot has those 3,000 condoms for only $900 (see the drop-down). I located this after 30 grueling seconds on Google.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at February 29, 2012 11:59 AM

OK, I snorted half my cup of coffee on that one buster.

Posted by: CondomsSureRXpensive at February 29, 2012 12:17 PM

OT, I just read on InstaPundit that today is Blogger Appreciation Day. He admonishes his readers to find a blogger and appreciate her.

We appreciate you, Cass!

Done and dusted.

You may now return to your regular commenting.

Posted by: MathMom at February 29, 2012 01:27 PM

Well, if she wants to gummint to pay $3000 for the directly sexual component of her college dating expenses, it's only fair that students should also be reimbursed for the non-sexual (or indirectly sexual) components of dating. Restaurant meals, movie tickets, and most especially alcohol....all these things can add up.

At a bare minimum, the tax on alcohol could be waived, providing that the beneficiaries are willing to certify than sex took place within 2 hours of the alcohol consumption.

Posted by: david foster at February 29, 2012 01:31 PM

Well, if she wants to gummint to pay $3000 for the directly sexual component of her college dating expenses, it's only fair....

Gee, I wonder if I can get the gummint to pony up for my hooker fees. If they won't, that's sex discrimination. And sexual harassment. I never had a summer job lucrative enough to pay for three years of....

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at February 29, 2012 01:45 PM

We appreciate you, Cass!

Thanks :)

I'll be smiling all day! I appreciate you guys too - you are the ones who add all the value around here.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 29, 2012 02:27 PM

Apparently the cost of attending Georgetown Law School doesn't create financial hardship, but the sex does.

That's just pathetic, and funny as all get out too.

Posted by: Allen at February 29, 2012 03:51 PM

Apparently the cost of attending Georgetown Law School doesn't create financial hardship, but the sex does.

I think she said she was on some kind of grant or aid. I guess if the taxpayers pay for your schooling you expect them to pay for "incidentals" too.

Hard to believe, isn't it?

Posted by: Cassandra at February 29, 2012 04:37 PM

Nice new banner. I'm always nervous while the "blog is no longer in service" splash is there...

Posted by: Pogue at February 29, 2012 06:04 PM

Does ObamaCare Illegally Discriminate Against Men?

It can't. Discrimination against men isn't illegal.

Posted by: Bitter the Pee-Ew-A at March 1, 2012 08:46 AM

I'm not an expert in discrimination law, but interestingly the Constitution doesn't protect either sex from gender-based discrimination per se.

That was one of the most compelling arguments (though there are others equally compelling against) for ratifying the ERA - there are many cases where the law actively discriminates against men, too and an amendment that explicitly forbids discrimination on the basis of gender would protect both men and women.

The question I've never resolved in my own mind is, "Is that really somewhere we want to go?"

At any rate, unlike birth control pills (which only prevent pregnancy) condoms prevent both pregnancy and STDs. Though I think having the federal govt. provide free birth control is idiotic, if birth control is now a civil right, I can't see any rational basis for treating women differently from men. If anything, there is a far sounder argument for providing condoms.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 1, 2012 09:43 AM

Well, I wasn't actually making a real argument. I just thought on a "Gender Wars" topic that someone ought to make fun of the Pee-Ew-A crowd.

You know, just on general principles.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 1, 2012 09:59 AM

The question I've never resolved in my own mind is, "Is that really somewhere we want to go?"

Be careful what you wish for. Every proposed amendment is a good idea to someone. If we pass them too easily, we'll quickly end up with a Constitution that's like many a business plan--adjusted for today to codify what we did yesterday--instead of a document that actually guides us and limits our government. The question should stay unresolved, for all of us.

But since birth control is entirely the woman's responsibility--or so says the present administration with its current Rule--female condoms should be covered, also: you wear them. I don't have to. There's even a YouTube video on how to use them, but I won't go there. Now all those ancillary diseases, besides pregnancy, are addressed, too.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at March 1, 2012 03:17 PM

I just thought on a "Gender Wars" topic that someone ought to make fun of the Pee-Ew-A crowd.

Kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, though ;p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 1, 2012 04:20 PM

One more thought....given that the tendency to perpetrate lawyering tends to run in families-maybe we *should* provide all law students, and all practicing lawyers, with the most effective forms of birth control known to (wo)man. Lawyer population control: it's cheap at almost any price!

My most recent post: Author Appreciation: Fanny Kemble

Posted by: david foster at March 2, 2012 08:03 AM

Are you seriously this misinformed Cassandra ?

I am a guy and even I know that the "pill" does FAR more than just prevent pregnancies. To quote from Wikipedia:

The hormones in "the Pill" can also be used to treat other medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, adenomyosis, menstruation-related anemia and painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea).

I know it's also hugely popular for regulating menstruation. So even if it is not used as birth control it is still vital for some women.

Posted by: Nathan at June 9, 2012 09:00 AM

Amazing the level of ignorance in some of the comments on this subject. A few facts:

Obamacare provides MULTIPLE free wellness checks to women, not to men. Obamacare provides free STD and HIV testing to women, but not to men. Obamacare provides free sterilization to women, not to men. Obamacare required health insurance premiums be the SAME for men and women-meaning MEN pay the same amount-for fewer services.

Next fact-Federal laws and the Constitution do NOT "only protect women" and statements like "discrimiation against men is not illegal" show what is fundamentally WRONG with our view of gender discrimination. We believe that discrimination against someone on the basis of sex is somehow "ok" as long as the VICTIM is male. That should be a fundamentally abhorrent concept.

What amazes me is that NONE of the groups claiming to support EQUAL rights-like the ACLU-have seen fit to sue over the rampant sexism in Obamacare.

This is NOT just about contraception and condoms-it is about a fundamental principle that health care should be equally available to everyone-but Obamacare ensures that it is NOT.

Posted by: Political Cynic at January 30, 2013 11:02 PM

You really need to work on your sarcasm detector, Political Cynic.

The point of this post was to point out that ObamaCare illegally discriminates against men. No one here (that I know of) disagrees with that.

Posted by: Cass at January 31, 2013 09:26 AM

ACA health insurance enshrines reverse gender bias and ignores risk. Politics trumps actuarial results and logic. Future investment results will follow this path. http://alfidicapitalblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/aca-requires-gender-discrimination.html

Posted by: Anthony Alfidi at January 30, 2014 10:31 AM