Healthcare: At What Cost? Right Side

Laws must not be created based on speculations, hope and emotion.

Thanks to Chief Justice Roberts, this column will not be about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He and four other expansionists (i.e. justices) have removed that debate from the table and put it on the shelf labeled, “Settled Law.” Yet, the Act is a target-rich labyrinth of legislation that was created not to right the fiscal ship, but to right supposed wrongs. Let’s isolate a recent provision that went into effect.

As of Aug. 1 of this year, all new private health plans must cover a range of women’s preventive services without cost sharing. That means no co-pays for things like birth control, breast feeding supplies and sterilization procedures (how providing sterilization for women and not men is not a discrimination issue is beyond me, but that’s for a forthcoming court challenge). To be clear, this initially only covers private insurance plans, not employer-provided insurance plans, at least for now. Buried in the provision (e.g., article 219, section Q, line 12, subset Z), is that all grandfathered plans can stay exempt unless they make “significant” changes to their plans. The loose definition of significant has led to the forecast that 90 percent of all plans will be required to offer the list of no co-pay items by 2014.

The overarching rationale behind the free services is that if women take advantage of these offerings, long-term health care costs will drop due to unwanted pregnancies being prevented. Also, that if the Federal Government can improve the overall health of mother and child, taxpayers will spend less in the long run. It’s quite an altruistic endeavor, yet unfortunately unfounded.

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