The Trouble with the Birth-Control Mandate

An interesting piece on the Federal mandate on Contraception. 

Read the article here.

“The minute pills are “free,” under insurance, the incentive for drug companies to come up with cheaper versions vanishes. So does their incentive to develop safer, more convenient, malecentered or nonprescription birth control. And by making pills free but not condoms, the government may inadvertently be contributing to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.”

8 thoughts on “The Trouble with the Birth-Control Mandate

  1. jon

    It’s a really good article. My gut reaction to learning of the issue when it came up in controversy recently, was that employers should include birth control in plans they give their employees (even if employers are church affiliated). But this article does make me re-think the question – i.e, incentive for drug companies to come up with better or less-costly versions of the drugs when customers are assured.

    On the other hand, might there still be a competitive incentive if insurance decide to pay, not for all brands regardless of cost, but for the brands that have proven to be most economical and effective (allowing the client to pay out-of-pocket for other brands)? In this case, maybe there would still be an incentive for pharmaceutical companies to cash in?

    1. Atticus Finch

      Jon, that is actually a really good point you made. I kind of have two points of view.

      1. If an organization (i.e., Church) wants to exclude contraception as part of their health care package they should be able to do that. If people do not agree with that decision then that person can simply not work for that organization. For example, if I or my wife want birth control we simply will not work for a religious organization. Kind of letting the market decide where the talent works based on cost/benefit analysis by the individual.

      2. Why is in necessary in 2012 to have this conversation? Birth control is often a good thing. It can help a women spread child birth between pregnancies (for couples wanting children), it helps prevent unwanted pregnancies, and it often is perscribed for women with overactive menstral cycles. Contraception should be treated like any other perscription medicine. The whole contraversy is (should be) kind of moot…

  2. amelie

    Sadly WSJ is famous for this kind of misinformation, and anti-science. Insurance may be to insure against bad things, but in medical terms, a doctor is far more effective when they prescribe a drug which will prevent those at high-risk from disease instead of waiting until the patient is sick (and may not even realize it until the situation is dire). When in relation to birth control pills, we’re talking about endometriosis, PCOS, polycystic ovarian disease, dysdysmenorrhoea and 2 types of cancer (ovarian and endometrial). For the Wall Street Journal to say the pill should not be covered unless a woman already has cancer, well, that’s disgusting.

    1. Atticus Finch

      I tend to take a limited government position on almost everything. I certainly want my wife to have access to contraception and I would like my company’s insurance to cover it just like any other prescription drug. However, I don’t really think it is the Government’s place to force anyone to provide anyone with any product or service.

      When you start to go down the road of the Government intervention in our personal lives or “legislating morality” eventually the Government becomes so involved in our lives that it becomes a bad thing.

      Instead of forcing an organization to provide a certain type of insurance I would rather just not work for an organization that will not provide my needs (i.e., I wouldn’t work for the catholic church). When they become noncompetitive and unable to attract top talent they will naturally change their ways (or fail) and switch to an insurance provider that does.

      1. amelie

        And that would be fine except that the same Republican government wants to ban birth control altogether, and the church still wants a tax break from the government. Are they serious? They can shove off as far as women are concerned.

        You may simply not work for the Catholic church but now Republicans tell employers they should be able to deny ANY coverage on the basis of moral grounds. So if I employ you to work for my (hypothetical) business, should I tell you that any treatment that involves animal testing will be off limits? Please.

        1. Atticus Finch

          That’s the thing that bothers me about most politicians in general, especially Republicans. They will go on and on about the “small” and “limited” government they believe in, but in reality they are all too willing let government intervene as long as its for a cause they believe in.

          What they really mean is – “I’m all for small government except when it benefits me then I’ll use government to force my rules upon you for whatever I want.”

          In my “worldview”, if you had a hypothetical business and wanted to implement a rule that exempted employees from treatment that involves animal testing that would be totally fine. People who agree would work for you, people who don’t wouldn’t. If that works for your business and isn’t hurting anyone go for it! That’s really how it should be. To me – anyone can do anything they want as long as they are not infringing on the personal property rights of another individual.

          Of course that’s not how it works in real life…those in power work toward their own agenda.


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