No Country for Old Men

While I agree with Tsung-Mei Cheng’s and Uwe Reinhardt’s point in their op-ed in the Washington Post to the effect that there is no “war on men” in health care:

Last week, during a committee hearing on the Republicans’ health-care plan, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) asked Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) to name a mandated benefit in the Affordable Care Act to which he objected. Shimkus replied: “What about men having to purchase prenatal care?”

Shimkus is probably not the only member in Congress who believes that forcing men to purchase health insurance that includes maternal care is unfair; it represents what some have characterized as a war on men, as several conservative health-policy wonks also have argued.

I think they might want to be cautious in how far they push the idea that men have a stake in childbirth and the rearing of children as well as women. That leads in directions in which they will meet with bitter opposition.

6 comments… add one
  • Jimbino

    I have built my live around avoiding marriage and children, though wouldn’t mind some of my taxes going to put contraceptives in the world’s water.

  • CStanley
  • walt moffett

    Agree it is political malpractice, needless antagonism of a voting bloc.

    Wonder if they pondered that covering contraception (and surgical sterilization) is generally cheaper than covering pregnancy, child birth and dependent health care until age 26. Probably not, this smacks of a if they be for it I’m agin it.

  • steve

    If you include the cost of contraceptives as part of maternal care, I think it should, then it is cheaper to provide the care. Just one of many studies below.

  • TastyBits


    … avoiding marriage and children …

    I am not buying it. I think that you are married with six children, and you are just unhappy with the wife and rugrats running around the house. You should look on the bright side. When you are old and decrepit, you will have somebody to change your diaper.

    If you really are not married and have no children, you need to start saving for the diaper changing fund, and you might want to check out nursing homes before checking into one.

  • TastyBits


    It looks like that study used computer models, but it is possible (highly likely) that I was reading (skimming) to fast and did not understand the paper.

    In any case, the problem is that there are a lot of people with insurance who already buy contraceptives out of their own pocket, but with coverage, many of them will stop paying.

    Also, it is possible that the people currently not using contraceptives will still not use them even when they are free or low cost.

    For the insurance company, it is likely that they know the answer and that they have acted accordingly. I guess there is the chance that every insurance company is made up of misogynist old men, but I suspect that they still love money more than they hate women.

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