Why men should pay for #Obamacare pregnancy coverage


pregnant pause

Here's another good Los Angeles Times Michael Hiltzik column to share with you. That would be the same Michael Hiltzik who knocked it out of the park recently on The Last Word, sharing his wisdom along with a big bucket o' debunkitude of those tired old Obamacare right wing talking points.

Today he's right back into debunking mode, with a healthy dose of scrumptious snark thrown in. This time he takes apart North Carolina GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers and her smug "slam-dunk, let-me-hear-a-rimshot punchline" that "the deep thinkers over at Breitbart" claimed was  Ellmers 'A' game. Her Big Gotcha Moment came when she asked why men should have to pay for maternity coverage in their health insurance plans: "To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever delivered a baby?"

Oh suh-nap! Touché! Oh, the cleverness of Renee!

Except, as Hiltzik points out, it was more like her ignorance about how the plan works. Then he explains why maternity care was written into every Affordable Care Act policy. Here are the essentials, but please hop over to the Times to get the details:

Universal coverage is the only way to make maternity coverage affordable.

Women subsidize men -- for some reason, imposing the cost of prostate cancer screening and treatment on women never seems to be part of the conversation. Childless people subsidize the cost of children's health coverage. Men subsidize women in other particulars, too: breast cancer treatment, for example.

Cross-subsidies like this are an inextricable part of life in a society, and by no means limited to health insurance. The cost of public education is embedded in the state tax rate paid by families with three kids in school as well as those whose kids graduated 20 years ago, or who educated their kids privately, or who never had kids. That's because education is a social good, like health. Everybody pays for highways, even those who don't drive, because one way or another they get the benefit.

That's the most important reason. But there are two more that Hiltzik brings up:

  • Society has a vested interest in healthy babies and mothers. "Pro-lifers" should appreciate that, as well as economists.
  • It takes two to tango. Ellmers' line about no man ever giving birth works two ways. "No baby has ever been born without a man being involved somewhere along the line."


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