Something happened today that would have been huge news at any other time (hostage crises tend to push other news off the radar). The Department of Health and Human services declared that, along with several other things, contraception is preventative health care. Even better since the ACA is in affect it means that it is required to be offered free!
This has been a fight for women’s advocates for years. The usual suspects on the Right have been trying to keep it from happening. They don’t want to be able to give up their “slut shaming” ways. These folks want to control women’s reproduction like Harrison Ford want to take back his signature on the contract for Cowboys and Aliens.
As of now they have been handed a big defeat. And I wish I could say that this was the end of the story, but here is the thing; this is great thing for women who have insurance, but for the large numbers who don’t have it through their employer or can’t afford it themselves, they are out of luck. What the ACA giveth the ACA taketh away, apparently. Still on all policies that are written after August 1st of 2012 will have to include it, with benefits starting in 2013.
Now, those of you who’ve been around these parts for the past couple of years know that I was a big advocate for passing the ACA. I am not backing away from it, it could have been so much better, so much more, but we got a half a loaf. Okay a third.
On the upside, the ACA is making changes in the way that we look at health insurance. Of course we need to get to single payer health care, nothing else makes any kind of economic sense at the national level. Our problem is that we are Americans, and we do things ass-backwards a lot. Still ACA has made changes, like this one.
The insurance companies have never been real keen on having birth control paid for. The birth control pill, the single most used form of contraception, is as generic as hell. Worse (from these companies perspective) women take it every single month for decades. There is just not a lot of money in it for them. But that is not the only reason that it has not been covered before.
You see when a business picks a health plan, they can ask for contraception to be paid for. Which is a good idea, if you are not a rich conservative, that is. As a rule the big privately owned companies have conservative owners (the Koch Brothers for example). They are into “slut shaming” and trying to control women’s reproduction. And how better to do that than buy insurance plans that don’t cover contraception or abortion services?
The days when the morality of the owner of the company affects women’s reproduction are over. The HHS ruling means that they will be able to have tools to control their reproduction. That could not have happened without the ACA.
This is a small step forward but an important one. As we move away from the old way of doing things, where it is all about the cost (to the insurance company or the company paying the majority of the premium) and more about what is best for the individual patient.
You know, I really long for a time when I can be excited by whole loaves and not have to celebrate minor commons sense advancements. Still when the world is as dark as it is now, small lights may be all we have.
What is on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours .