February 11, 2012

"Obama Punks the GOP on Contraception."

That's the spin from Slate's Amanda Marcotte (and I think she may have it right!):
After two solid weeks of Republicans rapidly escalating attacks on contraception access under the banner of "religous [sic] freedom," Obama finally announced what the White House is proposing an accomodation [sic] of religiously affiliated employers who don't want to offer birth control coverage as part of their insurance plans. 
Yeah, rotten spelling/proofreading, but give her a chance. Normally, I can't stand Marcotte, but I think she's homing in on the truth:
In those situations, the insurance companies will have to reach out directly to employees and offer contraception coverage for free, without going through the employer. Insurance companies are down with the plan... contraception actually saves insurance companies money, since it's cheaper than abortion and far cheaper than childbirth. 
Remember the economies of the "blue pill" and the don't-call-them-death-panels for end-of-life human beings? There's lots of money to be saved at life's onset. Insurance companies (and the safety-net-providing government) stand to save lots of money through pregnancy — and child! — prevention. It makes economic sense to incentivize the use of birth control. A woman has a right to choose whether to have children or not, but the government may nudge the woman toward its preferred choice. It is good economic policy to push women to avoid having babies until they've got a stable relationship and a solid economic foundation, so clear the path to the relatively inexpensive pills and poisons and devices that keep the sperm and the egg from acquiring a will of their own.

Another point, which Marcotte doesn't make, is that many, many healthy individuals are about to be forced to spend thousands of dollars a year on health insurance, and there needs to be a decent flow of seemingly "free" things so that they don't get too upset about it. Birth control is perfect for this. It's something women use — continually — when they are perfectly healthy. Face it: Birth control is about preventing an important bodily function from working. Now, the birth control won't be free, because everyone paying into the insurance pool will be covering the cost, but the women who use the birth control will have the feeling that they're getting something. That's a special kind of palliative care that the designers of Obamacare are going to want to cover.

So did Obama "pull a fast one" on conservatives, as Marcotte surmises?
He drew this out for two weeks, letting Republicans work themselves into a frenzy of anti-contraception rhetoric, all thinly disguised as concern for religious liberty, and then created a compromise that addressed their purported concerns but without actually reducing women's access to contraception, which is what this has always been about....
Now, those who complained about the old rule have a choice whether to move on to some other traditional-values issue or to find a way to say that the problem is still there. If they do the latter — as Rush Limbaugh did a series of semi-coherent rants on his show yesterday — they're going to annoy/scare the millions of women who use contraception and the millions and millions of women and men who want other people to use contraception. (Don't forget the "Freakonomics" theory connecting the avoidance of unwanted pregnancy to a reduction in crime.)

Marcotte thinks the conservatives will give up on this issue and exults that "the damage has already been done."
[W]hat most people will remember is that Republicans picked a fight with Obama over contraception coverage and lost. This also gave Obama a chance to highlight this benefit and take full credit for it. Obama needs young female voters to turn out at the polls in November, and hijacking two weeks of the news cycle to send the message that he's going to get you your birth control for free is a big win for him in that department.
And let's not forget — Marcotte doesn't mention this — that the birth control fracas peaked precisely when a story was breaking that should have made the administration look weak on a women's rights issues: the decision limiting women in the military. As I noted yesterday, Michelle Obama was deployed on a nutrition-in-the-military mission on the very day that decision was announced. So there is good reason to think the Obama campaign is sharply focused on manipulating the minds of constituents who care about women's issues.

As Marcotte said: "It's all so perfect that I'm inclined to think this was Obama's plan all along."

131 comments:

Henry said...

Note to Marcotte: It's the economy stupid.

codeweasel said...

If "free" contraception is a profit center for insurers, why aren't they already offering it?

Do they really need a nudge from the federal government to become more profitable?

Tim said...

"Insurance companies are down with the plan... contraception actually saves insurance companies money, since it's cheaper than abortion and far cheaper than childbirth."

Citation, please, that the "Insurance companies are down with the plan"? At best, this is conjecture; at worst, tendentious bullshit.

"[W]hat most people will remember is that Republicans picked a fight with Obama over contraception coverage and lost. This also gave Obama a chance to highlight this benefit and take full credit for it."

This presumes that most people are idiots. Given that 53% of the electorate voted for the least qualified man ever nominated for the office of the presidency by a major party, Macotte is probably on safe ground with this assumption. Democrat politicians and hacks know exactly how dumb their voters are - it's how they make their living.

Otherwise, this post conveys a weak understanding of health insurance works, but, what the hell. Ignorance is no bar to participating in America's democracy.

Tim said...

Macotte = Marcotte.

Fast writing is the bane of accuracy.

Rick Caird said...

I disagree with both Marcotte and Althouse. This has been a disaster for Obama. He has shown he has zero tolerance for religion and he shows just how powerful the government mandate is. It is doubtful "free" contraception will reduce the birth rate or the abortion rate, so Obama is requiring the insurance companies provide a benefit for "free". But, the insurers will price that into the original policy, so the organization will still be paying for it.

JOhn said...

Huh? This was Obama's plan all along? You've got to be kidding, right?

Obama hasn't won on this issue. First, on what authority can the government order a private company to offer a product for free? And insurance companies do NOT support this, I can tell you that. They will certainly raise their premiums to cover the cost.

Even if they didn't, Catholic institutions will still be forced to pay for insurance that provides birth control. This will still violate their conscience.

Obama is going to lose this battle, mark my words.

Tim said...

"After two solid weeks of Republicans rapidly escalating attacks on contraception access under the banner of "religous [sic] freedom,"...

So now the Catholic Bishops are Republicans?

Insightful, and incisive too!

Henry said...

In other words, while I think she's right that contraception is an easy win as a give-away, her political spin is comically bombastic.

The classic Democratic Party tactic is to give a freebie to a special interest then threaten them that the Republicans are going to take it away.

But we heard Romney in that debate. He doesn't have a dog in the contraception fight.

And if it saves insurance companies money, they should be giving contraceptives away for free. This is what the power companies do when they offer homeowner rebates for insulation projects. Anything that cuts down on peak usage saves the power company money. Rebates are cheaper than building a new power plant.

garage mahal said...

And let's not forget — Marcotte doesn't mention this — that the birth control fracas peaked precisely when a story was breaking that should have made the administration look weak on a women's rights issues:

I think the timing was to isolate and minimize Romney/RomneyCare, and prop up Santorum. Who, by the way, just opened up a 15% lead nationally on Romney.

Neat trick!

Maguro said...

If giving away birth control pills is such a great deal for insurance companies, how come they need Obama to force them to do it?

Tim said...

"In those situations, the insurance companies will have to reach out directly to employees and offer contraception coverage for free..."

Centuries of economic studies tells us there's no such thing as free.

Now that Marcotte has ostensibly stumbled some great, heretofore undiscovered reason for repudiating centuries of economic studies, that "nothing is free," praytell, why won't she tell us how these contraceptives are now "free?"

Even Marx would agree there is no such thing as "free."

Also, how exactly will the insurance companies reach out directly to employees? They are regulated (doesn't Marcotte know?), by states. If it's through the annual evidence of coverage, yeah - that'll be like reading your mortgage docs to assess the effect of liens.

Karnival said...

I think Marcotte (and possibly you) have it exactly wrong. No matter the disposition of Republican opinions. It is quite possible that a huge swath of people around the country see this for what it is- a bungled overstep by this administration.

It's not just this act. It's a reinforcement, or rather, a reminder of how imperious this crew thinks and acts. I think it's more obvious to more people than the press and many bloggers appreciate. (of course, that's just what I think...I have no scientific evidence to support my opinion).

I think He stepped in it, up to his knees, and it'll be clinging to his leg through November. It may sound like a battle about contraception. But it'll evolve into something larger and more obvious.

DADvocate said...

It's only perfect if more people think the conservative threat to contraception is greater than Obama's threat to religious freedom, other freedoms, the economy, quality of medical care, etc. Only a fool would side with Obama. Of course, we know how many people Obama fooled last time.

Tim said...

"There's lots of money to be saved at life's onset. Insurance companies (and the safety-net-providing government) stand to save lots of money through pregnancy — and child! — prevention. It makes economic sense to incentivize the use of birth control."

This is exactly right. The future of insurance companies absolutely hinges on preventing the birth of new customers.

And thus, this deep understanding of business economics is how we get Democrat voters.

Pogo said...

"Obama Punks the GOP on Contraception."

That's how Democrat political junkies will see it.

But the mask fell, and their totalitarian aims are now undeniable, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

But I think a slim majority will vote for totalitarianism anyway, not knowing it means more than taking money from other people to give free shit to favored supporters.

And it will end badly for us all.

rhhardin said...

contraception actually saves insurance companies money, since it's cheaper than abortion and far cheaper than childbirth.

This is entirely misguided.

The insurance company isn't trying to cut costs, it's trying to insure whatever cost is out there. It does this by raising premiums. The more costs, the more premiums.

They're in the business of taking a small percentage cut of all the money that flows through their hands, and the more money the better.

If health care cost everybody a dollar a year, there would be no health insurance market at all.

Do not suppose that the insurance industry wants things to cost less. Quite the opposite.

Andy R. said...

Didn't I warn the Republicans not to get in a fight over contraception?

Jane said...

This completely ignores the fact that for self-insured plans (many/most large employers), the requirement still exists to directly provide contraception, because there is no insurance company to provide the "free" pills. The "insurer" whose name appears on the insurance card is just an administrative services provider; they pass all their costs, plus an administrative services fee, to the employer.

Oh, and the number of women employed full-time in benefits-providing jobs who don't use contraception unless it's covered by their insurer, or who will "upgrade" to a more effective method due to it's being more generously covered, has got to be pretty minimal. The "I can't afford the pill" issue is much more the case for women who earn too much to be on Medicaid but don't have full-time, benefits-paying jobs (and don't live near a sliding-scale clinic).

What's more, given that our nation's birthrate is basically at replacement rate, are we really saying that heaps and piles of children will not be born in the new "free pills" system? My understanding is there isn't a surplus of children, but that women in our world of "readily available but not in the corner vending machine" contraception have, for the most part, the number of children they want to have, but just, when they have them unplanned, have them with a different timing. Hence, the net cost benefit (to insurers, from fewer pregancy-related costs) will be modest and possibly not worth the higher expense of women "upgrading" their contraception to higher cost, higher convenience methods.

And, yes, I find the notion that Obama and his administration claim they know the health insurance business better than actual health insurers a bit grating.

wildswan said...

Obama has not changed his position at all - just shuffled words. He is still attacking the catholic conscience. Why would he do that just before an election - that's the mystery? This change won't deceive Catholic leadership which will go on presenting the issue as forcing the Catholic conscience. The catholic vote is not monolithic - true - but Obama previously got all the liberals and half the conservatives. Now he won't get the conservatives. Why did he do it?

Guy said...

And by what authority does the government do any of this?

The Drill SGT said...

Althouse and Marcotte are wrong...

This ultimately is going to hurt O'bama.

shiloh said...

""Obama Punks the GOP on Contraception.""

Indeed! Although one must take into consideration his current opposition or lack thereof.

pm317 said...

Good analysis! Yep, Obama fooled these crazies quite easily. Unfortunate because I want him to lose.

It is good economic policy to push women to avoid having babies until they've got stable relationships and a solid economic foundation,

You're right about this. But the crazies on the right want the woman to have the child and pay the disproportionate price, because (wait for it).. Abortion is murder! How dare she have sex and get pregnant.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Because 'punking' your opponent is most critical in politics, regardless of the result(s) or damage to those you represent.

How many votes will be gained by 'deeming' that insurance companies shall provide 'free' contraception?

Its almost like the 1700's all over again.

Canuck said...

It is good economic policy for insurance companies to push for the pill. Childbirth & Ovarian Cancer/Cyst treatment much more expensive then birth control.

It is not good economic policy for nations to push for less children. Nation-states need a younger generation to purchase and sell goods, work in the labor force, pay social security, and start new businesses. States who have a declining birth rate are likely to see a declining GNP. Immigration is one way to make up for a declining birth rate. But you can see the problem developing in Japan.

Lyssa said...

OK, I'm completely confused.

A is an employee of an org that doesn't want to offer birth control, and is insured by XYZ health insurance.

Now the gov't will force XYZ to contact A directly and offer her birth control? But this is not related to her plan through her employer? So, who pays for the birth control? If it's XYZ, then aren't they, ultimately, taking it from the premiums paid by the employer? This makes no sense to me.

Also, is there really anyone out there who is sexually active but chooses not to use birth control because of the expense? I've seen dozens of ladies get pregnant without intending to, but it was never because they "couldn't afford" birth control; it was always because they just didn't plan ahead or take the trouble to use it.

Tim said...

"It is good economic policy to push women to avoid having babies until they've got a stable relationship and a solid economic foundation, so clear the path to the relatively inexpensive pills and poisons and devices that keep the sperm and the egg from acquiring a will of their own."

You aren't familiar with welfare policy in the United States, are you?

America's welfare policies (first AFDC, then TANF) provide cash incentives for women to have babies who are not in any stable relationship, nor have a solid economic foundation.

However, you may have blindly stumbled upon a pernicious policy here - that Obama and the Democrats wish to subsidize the breeding of future voters through TANF payments, while ensuring the breeding of children from taxpaying families (since people who work pay taxes) is reduced by the mandated distribution of "free" birth control.

There could be a Pulitzer here!

O2BNAZ said...

If insurance companies could save money thru abortion and contraception they would already be doing it. Aren't insurance companies the corporate profit whores who don't care about human decency? Obama has won nothing he has simply shown once again that all socialism is fascism and how willing the left is to support fascists when it suits their own senses of hatred and loathing…let them sneer, it’s all they have…

NYTNewYorker said...

Spraying Febreze on a turd.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"Didn't I warn the Republicans not to get in a fight over contraception?"

Had you the benefit of divine foreknowledge, would you have been for free contraception and abortion services prior to your conception?

Bender said...

I think she may have it right

You think that the Catholic Church is the embodiment of the Republican Party?

How very easy it is for libs to deflect and obfuscate and conflate and have people just go along with it.

Bender said...

The fucking GOP has nothing to do with this!

You got that?

AJ Lynch said...

Catholics came very very close to supporting open civil disobedience to protest the over-reaching directive [not a law btw].

And their leadership was united in doing so. There is no f-ing way this can be spun as a positive for the totalitarian President Obama except if you are part of Marcotte's librul bubble.

Canuck said...

"Didn't I warn the Republicans not to get in a fight over contraception?"

I don't know why Republicans would want to turn this from an election about economics to social/cultural issues.

Seems like a bad idea in terms of political strategy.

AJ Lynch said...

Lyssa said:
"Also, is there really anyone out there who is sexually active but chooses not to use birth control because of the expense? I've seen dozens of ladies get pregnant without intending to, but it was never because they "couldn't afford" birth control; it was always because they just didn't plan ahead or take the trouble to use it."

This. Why oh why won't some MSM reporter ask Sebelius if there is a reputable study that proves free contraception will make a big dent in unplanned pregnancies?

jimbino said...

Let's take a moment to think about all the young, single and childfree men in the 18-35 age group who, being the healthiest cohort there is in Amerika, will be paying through the nose to support Obamacare with little or no benefit to themselves.

My advice to them is to do what I did when faced with the Vietnam War: emigrate to a country that appreciates your labors and that doesn't tax you to support all the women and breeders.

Even Germany is a possibility, since there a person who is self-employed, like a contract engineer or programmer, can fully opt out of their healthcare mandate. In addition, if you declare yourself an atheist, you can avoid the 1% church tax and, if you leave within 5 years, you can get your share of social security taxes refunded! How cool is that!

And Germans have almost come to their senses, producing now only some 1.2 kids per woman.

michaele said...

I am a 64 year old female who pays for an individual plan and I resent ins. companies being mandated to provide all this "free" stuff. My monthly bill has gone up even more than usual since the "free" stuff started kicking in. Isn't the point of working is to earn money so you can afford to pay for things that you need or want. All this government mandated crap is turning the citizenry into dependent babies.

Bender said...

As for the economics of it --

The insurance companies only "save" money by covering contraceptives if women were not already using contraception (and paying for it themselves).

There will be NO new users of contraception as a result. Hence, there will be no new "savings," no new empty wombs as a result, no decrease in pregnancies and babies.

This is just shifting the cost from set of people to another.

I'll bet that those who have fallen for this economic scam also fell for the economic argument of Cars for Clunkers, or the Pelosi economics of paying unemployment compensation benefits actually increases employment.

Rusty said...

Andy R. said...
Didn't I warn the Republicans not to get in a fight over contraception?

Andy, like Amanda, never fails to underwhelm.

It was a first amendment issue. you know,"Congress shall pass no law....................' Contraception was marginal to the issue.

PatCA said...

I agree with the commenters: Amanda has it wrong. Obama gave the GOP and conservatives a gift. The idea of our king ordering religious people to provide birth control is now burned into our imaginations. The bishops, and I'm sure others will follow, do not accept the "compromise"; even the LA Times calls it magical thinking.

I also would like to see data that indicate that women who work at Catholic institutions have unwanted pregnancies b/c they can't afford birth control. My guess, miniscule.

Andy R. said...

Yep, Obama fooled these crazies quite easily.

I think most of them are dumb rather than crazy. For every one Bachmann, there are two Perry/Cain's.

Paco Wové said...

The amount of juvenile hatred people like Marcotte have for their political opponents is just creepy.

Saint Croix said...

the millions and millions of women and men who want other people to use contraception.

That's liberalism in a nutshell. They are all about population control. Liberals are all about scarcity of resources and too many people. This is why infanticide doesn't bother liberals in the slightest. Kill the weak, kill the useless. Stop the breeding. Control humanity.

Liberals characterize birth control and abortion as a "right," but it's more honest to say it's all part of a liberal plan. Remember, birth control is indoctrinated in the schools.

Liberals are all about conformity. You will conform to their plan. They don't want you to have more kids.

It's how socialists think. Remove the anomalies from society. The Catholic church is a problem because it thinks that every human life is sacred (ha!), and the Catholic church is also another form of authority. When you're an authoritarian, any other form of authority is unacceptable.

Would Obama ever contemplate a "one child" policy? Of course! He doesn't recognize rights at all. Rights are merely the cover story for his agenda.

Synova said...

So... Birth control is like getting a really big salad with your dinner? Makes you think you got your money's worth?

AoS (I think it was) had a post pointing out that Obama did not in any way *compromise* on the birth control thing, so it's not like conservatives weren't going to notice if Marcotte didn't take the time to gloat over it.

I also think it's telling that the true, anti-woman, motivation is "thinly disguised" as concerns for religious freedom. If anyone were to actually admit that the Other is honest about their religious faith, honest about their adherence to the 1st Amendment freedom of religion even when they don't hold faith themselves, and honest about believing that a fetus is human and deserving of protection... if they admitted those things they'd have to admit that their opponents are decent people who disagree with them.

Much, much better to explain it as "thinly disguised" hatred of women.

Bruce Hayden said...

You've got to love the spin here.

First, Obama's Administration screws up, and tries to force Catholic organizations to pay for birth control and abortion pills. Then, they rephrase the mandate, but don't change its effect. Catholic organizations are still being required to pay for these things, but it is hidden a bit better through cost shifting. And, then Marcotte (and maybe Althouse) declare victory for Obama.

And, maybe the Roman Catholic Church leadership is naive enough to fall for it. More likely, there will be some Catholics who want to believe in pixie dust so strongly that they will believe.

But, other than Marcotte's attempt to spin here, I don't really see a victory here for Obama.

Bender said...

And if King Henry or any of his Cromwell advisors think that this is just going to go away, then they really are deluded and completely ignorant of reality.

This will NEVER go away. We have a rather LONG institutional memory 2000 years-plus -- we don't forget, we don't go away.

Christopher said...

Marcotte is falling into the trap of trying to explain away incompetence by looking for some sort of hidden agenda (it's the flip side of the "never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence" rule).

Outside of the hardcore lefties there is not a single person that I can recall who believed that this was about contraception and not religious freedom, and even they were split on the issue (when Chris "Tingles" Matthews calls BS on leftists you know you're in trouble).

Will most of the media hacks buy into this faux compromise? Probably, I mean they did push the ObamaCare debt reduction lie. But if Marcotte believes that this will be solely to province of conservatives she is greatly mistaken.

Jay said...

He drew this out for two weeks, letting Republicans work themselves into a frenzy of anti-contraception rhetoric,

Yeah, um, ok.

If this dumb leftist says so.

ricpic said...

Come November the issue won't be Obama's cleverness in "punking" the GOP on contraception, the issue will be how many Catholic voters have had just enough of their trust in him chipped away to lose their vote.

Bob Ellison said...

Like PatCA, I agree with most of the commenters above: Marcotte is dead wrong, probably mostly because she assumes so blithely that criticism of Obama came mostly from anti-health, anti-woman craziness. Stupid assumption.

But I predict that the left will work to frame it even more so as "anti-contraceptionism". When you ask people on the street what would be the effect of overturning Roe v. Wade, they'll overwhelmingly tell you it will outlaw abortion. Similarly, the left will spread the misinformation that Obama's misdeed here was designed to make contraception more available and more legal, and those nasty conservatives want to outlaw it.

Furthermore, I'd like to see a more complete economic analysis of how contraception affects insurance companies. Presumably a new child represents a new client to them-- potentially a long-term one. If we take Marcotte's assumption to the extreme, then Big Insurance should be happy if everyone suddenly dies, right? No more hospital costs to pay! But wait, our clients are all gone...

garage mahal said...

I don't know why Republicans would want to turn this from an election about economics to social/cultural issues.

A woman's uterus is like catnip to the GOP. They cannot help themselves. The mandate—that most employers have to cover preventative care for women—has been law for over a decade. It goes to show you the current freakout isn't about the costs. It's all about the sexytime. Naughty grrl!

Andy R. said...

And, maybe the Roman Catholic Church leadership is naive enough to fall for it.

Well, the entire organization is based on being dumb enough to believe in a fairy tale, so the sky is the limit.

PatCA said...

And under-population causes at least one problem that we are now experiencing. We need those new workers to pay taxes to support this wonderful welfare system, don't we?

We are becoming a very old country, but I'm sure Obamacare has plans to solve that.

Jay said...

and then created a compromise that addressed their purported concerns

Except it didn't address anyone's concerns.

At all.

Which is why Obama will cave, or be forced to, again.

Ann, why are you suggesting this goofball is "right" on this?

bagoh20 said...

"[W]hat most people will remember is that Republicans picked a fight with Obama over contraception coverage and lost. "

That's how the left views it, but others see Obama picking on religious people, regardless of who won.

The demographic in play is not the one Marcotte sees, but the religious who voted for Obama and now see he is no friend to them or their values. They are very loosely attached to Obama, so this was a mistake on his part, but his agenda on health care left him no choice.

Jay said...

The mandate—that most employers have to cover preventative care for women—has been law for over a decade.

Um, that's a lie.

But I guess that is why Obama got around to it in 2012?

Who knew that birth control and the morning after pill are "preventative care"!

Can you be any dumber?

obladioblada said...

His move not only doesn't do a thing to reduce the controversy, it's downright insulting. His version of compromise is "you must do what I tell you and provide contraception and abortifacients in your insurance plan, but we'll say that you don't provide them, the insurer does.

There is no "free" and you don't need to have a degree in actuarial science to understand it. No matter how it's framed, the premium still covers the cost of the contraceptives and abortifacients. Big deal, the insurer doesn't add a contraceptive rider to the premium, the cost is built in under a different category.

Jay said...

[W]hat most people will remember is that Republicans picked a fight with Obama over contraception coverage and lost.

Yes, because getting the President (note it was not the HHS Secretary) to backpedal on live TV is "losing"

This is kind of like when Obama signed the Bush tax cuts. The Republicans "lost" because Obama gave in!

Winning!

bagoh20 said...

Voters who see it as Marcotte does were never in play anyway, so both ladies are wrong here.

robinintn said...

He may have punked the GOP, as usual; he may have punked the Church Hierarchy, as usual; but it got out of hand, and a lot of voters noticed what he was doing. I think it's probably too late to buy us off with a free salad. We already saw the cigarette butt we'll be forced to eat with the main course.

master cylinder said...

Rope-a doped again! Boehner better shut it or there wont be many women who dont know that he has very little regard for their rights.

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

The message is clear: the left has no problem denying the freedoms enumerated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, losses mollified by giving away free trinkets like OCPs and Food Stamps and cell phones.

And a slim majority actually likes that plan.

Imagine no religion?
Better get used to it.

madAsHell said...

I'm fairly certain that Barry can't plan two weeks into the future. Evidenced by the teleprompter.

bagoh20 said...

The votes in play see this as an insulting chess move on an important basic right. Obama lost.

Jay said...

garage,

remember when you assured us yesterday that Obama "placated the Bishops"?

How's that working out for you?

edutcher said...

Marcotte's whistling in the graveyard, as the trolls have been the last few days.

Daley (and who better to know when to rein it in than the proprietor of one of the oldest machines in the country?) resigned over this and no one likes it any more now than they did before.

Marcotte is one of those people who thinks everybody loves ZeroCare and this is like, as Henry notes, Social Security. She's wrong there, of course, and also wrong about the insurance companies; they hate it, too, and their position came out late yesterday.

This was supposed to go away, but it isn't.

Henry's right about the economy, but people had forgotten about ZeroCare, but now here it is, front and center again.

The last thing the Demos want.

This is lose-lose-lose for GodZero. That massive ego is starting to trip him up.

And there's more to come.

PS When did Hatman say anything about contraception. He's spent all his time telling us what a joke candidate the Demos have and what a frothy mix he is.

Chip S. said...

I think garage may be right.

Of course, that speaks volumes about Obama's willingness to exploit executive power for partisan ends.

The quasi-delusional Althouse-Marcotte Hypothesis requires a level of gullibility among the electorate that is too vast and deep to contemplate.

shiloh said...

"For every one Bachmann, there are two Perry/Cain's."

Too funny ~ the GOP in a nutshell, pun intended! :D

Again, how did Obama get so damn lucky! :) Althouse conservative daily hatred of Obama notwithstanding.

Bender said...

It is true that many of the bishops in the United States have been slumbering for a while. But things like this tend to wake them up, and lead them to remember their patrimony, the "witness" (in Greek "martyr") of those who have gone before -- Peter and Paul and Stephen and Lawrence and Sebastian and Polycarp and Ignatius and Agnes and Lucy and Cecilia and Perpetua and Felicity and countless others -- of how the Church was born out of persecution, from Herod to Pilate to Nero to Diocletian and onward. The remember as their brother bishops in places like Poland and England and Germany and China and Vietnam and Mexico were arrested, imprisoned, and killed while the governments there sought to impose their will on the Church. They remember the Soviet KGB-arranged shooting of Pope John Paul II.

As Successors to the Apostles, they remember that Jesus promised us that such things would happen, and that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

This will not go away.

Christopher said...

Jay,

Garage also assured us that the Dems. would retake the Wis. legislature and Supreme Court.

Jay said...

In order for little Mandy's assertions to be correct, the GOP would have had to have a) assumed the role of national Catholic leaders and b) have to have caved.

Since neither happened, I'm going to go out on a limb and say she's an idiot.

bagoh20 said...

It's becoming a whistling chorus now past that graveyard.

You're gonna hear a lot more of this stuff as Obama supporters hold their ears and sing LaLaLaLa. It's reassuring to know that both sides see him going down. They just express it differently.

Synova said...

"You're right about this. But the crazies on the right want the woman to have the child and pay the disproportionate price, because (wait for it).. Abortion is murder! How dare she have sex and get pregnant."

How dare she have sex, get pregnant, and then think she gets a free do-over since it's so very unfair to expect a woman to behave like a responsible adult?

A clue!

Sex is the human strategy for biological reproduction. No big secret there. It's science!

And we don't allow men to avoid paying for their reproductive success, do we? They certainly don't get a do-over "Oopsie, I boo-boo'ed" if they "have sex and get pregnant."

Birth control is available, easily, to anyone. It's gross hypocrisy to simultaneously claim that women are capable of being responsible for their own bodies, and then demand that it is unfair to expect them to be responsible for their own bodies.

Which is it?

Birth control is neither scarce nor expensive. It is not too much to ask that women and men take personal responsibility.

The Catholic church joins only a very few ultra-conservative Protestant congregations in opposing birth control. I can recognize and support defending 1st Amendment freedom for those with religious rules that I don't follow. I can recognize that there is a difference between individual Catholics deciding not to follow a church rule and the government forcing the church itself to officially behave in a way contrary to its teaching and convictions.

garage mahal said...

remember when you assured us yesterday that Obama "placated the Bishops"?

Personally, I could give a fuck what they think. They wanted to be exempt from the mandate. And they are.

And don't they have their own problems to worry about? 8,000 instances of abuse alleged in Archdiocese bankruptcy hearing

Fuck them.

Synova said...

"Well, the entire organization is based on being dumb enough to believe in a fairy tale, so the sky is the limit."

Respect for people with different beliefs just Ooozes, don't it.

MayBee said...

The only statement I've heard from any insurers is they want to see who is supposed to pay the short-term cost of the pills (via Tapper's twitter feed).

Did most insurers include preventative medicine like the pill in their cheap catastrophic coverage plans?

And if insurance companies save money by giving out pills for free (no premiums) and Medicaid covers the pill, what do we need Planned Parenthood for? Are they ripping women off by charging for the pill?

I think the big lesson in this episode is that
a)Obama will use our out-of-pocket dollars to please big donors
and
b)Obama does not understand insurance or economics

caseym54 said...

Althouse, on this you are not only wrong, but just a tad stupid.

AJ Lynch said...

Would Obama ever pick a fight with the Muslim religion's beliefs?

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
Personally, I could give a fuck what they think. They wanted to be exempt from the mandate. And they are.

And don't they have their own problems to worry about? 8,000 instances of abuse alleged in Archdiocese bankruptcy hearing

Fuck them.


Hahahahaha!

You certainly "gave a fuck" when you thought they would fall for Obama's stupid rhetoric.

Now you'll stomp your feet and try and change the subject.

Jay said...

Obama Punks the GOP on Contraception

Better headline:

Marcotte punks Ann Althouse

Patrick said...

Here's a pointer: If you start out with a premise that Amanda Marcotte is correct about anything, and particularly that she is correct about matters concerning the Catholic Church, you need to give the matter a great deal more thought.

Palladian said...

I love that Andy is deriding other people for being stupid enough to believe in "fairy tales" in a thread about how SUPER SMART AND AWESOME Obama is.

AprilApple said...

I'm bothered by the fact that the government is forcing private industry to give something away for "free".
I do not care what that something is-- a condom or a ham sandwich. The Obama administration is acting like a dictatorship. Sure enough, the ultra leftwingers of the world think this is wonderful.
Yay - big win for the dictator.

Palladian said...

Isn't Amanda Marcotte the vicious twat who was the official blogger for that bastion of intelligence and integrity, John Edwards? Talk about someone who needed a lesson in contraception.

bgates said...

First, I decry Marcotte's use of the homophobic term "punk".

Next, I'd like to add to the howls of derisive laughter at the idea that Obama's contemptuous dismissal of the First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty has been redeemed by repeating it with the addition of a contemptuous dismissal of the Fifth Amendment guarantee against the government taking private property.

bgates said...

Andy, today:
the entire [church] is based on being dumb enough to believe in a fairy tale

Andy, last week:
Who are all these left-wingers bigoted against? And before you say Christians, consider how many left-wingers are Christians.

Steve Koch said...

Hilarious. Seriously wrong analysis. Obama was forced to back down (on a Friday for news cycle purposes, of course) and looked weak and stupid. Being forced to reverse themselves is something that presidents absolutely hate to do.

What happened is simple: Obama overreached and was forced to back down. Using weak and convoluted reasoning to try to turn an embarrassing political defeat into a mythical victory is typical pathetic lefty argumentation. Lefties simply ignore reality in favor of rebroadcasting whatever alternate reality that journo-list has constructed for the day.

It is totally expected that lefty propagandists repeat the journo-list propaganda of the day but really embarrassing that Althouse would believe this drivel.

Hagar said...

Juan Williams came up with this same claptrap, so I guess it is a Democrat meme.
However, contraception is not an expensive item, so there was no need to have it in the legislation in the first place. It is an ideological issue, not an economic one.
Second, about the insurance companies being "down" with the "accommodation." Maybe so, but not for that reason. The Catholic institutions involved constitute a very small piece of the insurance market to start with, and then one less given to want either contraceptives or services to remediate the consequences of not having "free" contraceptives on hand than the general population.
Again this was just an ideological issue, and a maneuver to gin up the base. It was never about women's health or anyone's economics.

MayBee said...

Is anybody else embarrassed that the President of the United States went on national tv to talk about birth control?

Talk about the federal government wanting to control every aspect of our lives.

MayBee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

"Is anybody else embarrassed that the President of the United States went on national tv to talk about birth control?"

I'm embarrassed pretty much any time this president talks about anything.

Browndog said...

Gotta be one of the finest comment threads I've read in a while-

I'll just note that barely a word was mentioned in reference to this small item:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

It's clear where the progressives stand;and have always stood:

fuck 'em

But, if you pray at the alter of the Chicago Jesus, and send him $3, he'll accommodate any previous transgressions.

William said...

I hope Obama reads mullahs and nukes better than he reads bishops and rubbers......Are contraceptives really so expensive that they need to be subsidized by the government? To be fair, if the government is paying for contraceptives, shouldn't they also be paying for viagra.

TSH73 said...

The issue is not "contraception" vs "abortion". It is the forcing religious organizations to act in the teeth of their religious beliefs. I think most Americans are going to be smart enough to see that, and to make the natural inference that if it is contraception today, it will likely be abortion tomorrow.

shiloh said...

"the federal government wanting to control every aspect of our lives."

Pretty much true since the founding ie the draft, wars, taxes, safety/health regs, modern conveniences, etc. etc.

All part of the "forming a more perfect union" meme.

Of course, you can always choose to live on a desolate commune in Idaho w/the birds and bees and no indoor plumbing. Let's hear it for roughing it.

>

btw, just how did the wagon train folk make it across America. Not too well as many died at an early age.

Took a sociology class and IIRC, life expectancy in America was 47 in 1900 and (70) years later, you could switch those #s around to 74 in 1970.

Synova said...

Shiloh, past impositions do not justify present impositions. The founding *principles* rather than the founding behavior is what is important and we ought to actively work toward those principles, or at least to hold the line.

As for life-spans and expectations...

Would you have liberty and death, friend?

Or would you prefer safety and life? Better to bow a neck to power and have your physical needs met?

edutcher said...

Palladian said...

Isn't Amanda Marcotte the vicious twat who was the official blogger for that bastion of intelligence and integrity, John Edwards? Talk about someone who needed a lesson in contraception.

In the immortal words of Ed McMahon, "you are correct, sir!".

William said...

I hope Obama reads mullahs and nukes better than he reads bishops and rubbers.

Off Fox: "Iran: Expect Major Nuke Announcement Soon".

I think we're going 0 for 2 today.

shiloh said...

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!" ~ Barry Goldwater

Again, Goldwater received 38.5% in 1964. 'nuf said!

Reps always need a boogeyman or they can't function. It's that basic for the past (40+) years ie scorched earth (hate/fear mongering/division/misinformation) presidential politics ie ailes/atwater/turdblossom.

Divide and conquer, rather than govern.

MayBee said...

btw, just how did the wagon train folk make it across America. Not too well as many died at an early age.

Took a sociology class and IIRC, life expectancy in America was 47 in 1900 and (70) years later, you could switch those #s around to 74 in 1970.


Which has what to do with what?

FedkaTheConvict said...

Witnessing Althouse throw in with John Edwards' personal blogger is hilarious.

I suppose Marcotte will next argue that Rielle Hunter's lack of "women's health" coverage caused her pregnancy and derailed Edwards' White House run.

This thing is bigger than most of you imagine; and ultimately Obama will lose and be forced to perform a publicly embarrassing retreat. Lots of religious organizations other than Catholics are organizing.

For example, Seventh Day Adventists, who run medical institutions like Loma Linda university and are second only to Catholics in delivering health care services in the U.S., are vehemently opposed to this mandate.

Tim said...

"The quasi-delusional Althouse-Marcotte Hypothesis requires a level of gullibility among the electorate that is too vast and deep to contemplate."

Sadly, this is far from true.

Evidence shows that the "level of gullibility among the electorate," far from being "too vast and deep to contemplate" is, if anything, SOP these days.

One need not go any further than November '08 when 53% of the electorate descended to a "level of gullibility" to believe that the least qualified man ever nominated for the office of the presidency by a major party was, somehow, qualified enough to earn their votes.

Delusion and gullibility reign over the electorate these days; it matters not that delusion and gullibility are wilfull. Time will tell if enough Americans who bought the fairy tale will be smart enough to learn from experience.

Althouse's post on this subject gives me no comfort they have.

Steve Koch said...

Shiloh,

As usual, your post makes absolutely no sense. What has improved our lives is improved technology. Politicizing our health care system will slow technological progress and innovation in health care and will make health care more expensive, less efficient, less responsive, and more corrupt.

The constitution stressed limiting the power of the central government because the founders were very wary of the government. They fought a brutal revolutionary war to escape the previous government and were absolutely determined to not have their new government pushing them around.

Lefties don't get the importance of liberty and actually want to trade liberty for their own personal gain. Comprised of Privileged Interest Groups (PIGs), dems relentlessly want to expand the role of government so they can continue to feed at the fed trough.

Inevitably an ever growing government gets so large that eventually the government party (i.e. the dems) is impossible to remove from power.

Conservatives, libertarians, and constitutionalists need to relentlessly focus on shrinking the size and power of the central government by restoring the power of the original constitution.

Tim said...

"Took a sociology class and IIRC, life expectancy in America was 47 in 1900 and (70) years later, you could switch those #s around to 74 in 1970.

Which has what to do with what?

He's telling you his junior high school offers sociology.

They made room for it by taking "Logic and Critical Thinking" off the curriculum.

They couldn't find any qualified teachers.

shiloh said...

"As usual, your post makes absolutely no sense."

SK, you mentioned you were gonna avoid me. No willpower? Rhetorical.

As Althouse flock continue to attack the messenger and not the message, as per usual. :zzzz:

ciao

Nathan Alexander said...

2 days ago, Obama's proposal was 100% correct, and you couldn't find a single liberal who disagreed with it.
Heck, you couldn't even find a single liberal who thought there was anything at all wrong with what Obama was doing. They all thought (and said, both in comments here and by pundits in the press), that the Catholic Church and conservatives had no reason to complain.

Now Obama walks back.

The same liberals praise it as the perfect move.

No sense of shame or introspection that his walk-back indicated some error on Obama's part in the first place. At all.

So it is clear:
No matter what Obama or his administration does, it will be accepted, praised, and justified by the left.

No matter what.

Logic will not matter. Law as written will not matter. Social norms will not matter. Current understandings will not matter. Consistency will not matter. Integrity will not matter.

Words and laws and systems only mean what Obama says they mean. The left/liberal spin machine will supply the fig leafs.

It will be interesting to see what history says about this era 30 years from now.

Penny said...

Over at least four decades, Americans have been trained to believe that if something isn't covered under their medical insurance, it means they "cannot get it".

It's precisely because of this twisting of fact, that for the vast majority of people, this discussion is now about "not getting contraception".

But hey, what's a little mind fuck among friends.

Chip S. said...

Nathan Alexander has spelled it out clearly enough for anyone with more brains than Amanda Marcotte to understand.

SMGalbraith said...

Marcotte is partly right here: I think Obama had this backup plan in his pocket all along.

If his first proposal met much objection he would bring this option up.

Now, whether politically or electorally he benefits remains to be seen. I think, in the end, it probably energizes both sides' base a bit as they can play off their respective points. I.e., "Republicans want to take away your contraception" versus "Obama wants to use the state to take away religious freedom."

In the end probably a wash.

But I'm sure Obama had this ready if he faced resistance.

Synova said...

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!" ~ Barry Goldwater

"Again, Goldwater received 38.5% in 1964. 'nuf said!"

So an appeal to popularity isn't a logical fallacy, it's a slam dunk?

george said...

Money is fungible. The religious employers will still be paying for it because nothing is "free." They will be forced to subsidize it with their dues and it will still be just as morally abhorrent.

Everyone likes to rationalize Obama's serial idiocies as great strokes of genius but it is pretty clear he just stumbles from one disaster to the next with no thought at all as to the consequences of what he is doing. He figures he can just issue another edict with absolutely no legal basis or authorization from Congress and clean things up as he goes along. It is madness.

Whenever examining anything he does you need to remember Obama's Razor - never attribute to genius or even low cunning what can be just as easily be explained by stupidity and vanity.

That is to say were Obama extraordinarily stupid with absolutely no understanding of the Constitution or economics he would have done nothing differently here than what he did given his massive ego and desire to control every single thing that every single individual in the US does.

As an atheist all I can say is, for the love of God, please stop making excuses for this idiot! Every time someone lauds Obama's most recent master stroke I feel dumber for having listened to them. And frankly I am embarrassed for the people who fall for this sort of after the fact rationalization.

Let's state what happened plainly. Obama was forced to roll back his wholly unconstitutional plan to make religious institutions accessories to what they believe to be murder (at least in the case of morning after pills). But he did it in a way that provides no real compromise and assures he still has to wage war with the Catholic Church.

This is nuclear grade stupidity.

master cylinder said...

I have a sneaky suspicion that there are no females of childbearing age participating in this or any other Athouse thread. Why would any of you [men and ladies over 45] advocate for womens reproductive rights? Maybe because it would reduce the numbers of abortions? Does that make too much sense?

Fen said...

Synova: also think it's telling that the true, anti-woman, motivation is "thinly disguised" as concerns for religious freedom. If anyone were to actually admit that the Other is honest about their religious faith, honest about their adherence to the 1st Amendment freedom of religion even when they don't hold faith themselves, and honest about believing that a fetus is human and deserving of protection... if they admitted those things they'd have to admit that their opponents are decent people who disagree with them.

Much, much better to explain it as "thinly disguised" hatred of women.


This.

If I had a nickel for every otherwise intelligent feminist who misrepresened honest disagreement with hatred.

Fen said...

"versus "Obama wants to use the state to take away religious freedom."

In the end probably a wash.


Disagree. The people stupid enough to believe "Republicans want to take away your contraception" were going to vote for Obama anyway.

But the "Obama wants to use the state to take away religious freedom" crowd now include Catholic Dems.

Mnay of the ones I know are now taking a second look at Obama. This may not be the straw that breaks the camel's back, but its certianly the straw before that.

Chip S. said...

@mastercylinder--I happen to know lots of women of childbearing age, and every single one of them is able to acquire contraceptive devices all by their little selves.

It must amaze you to hear this, since apparently you know no people who aren't complete idiots.

JAL said...

Marcotte is wrong.

It's not about abortion, contraception or how smart Obama is (man am I so sick of that -- gag).

It's about the Bill of Rights and how this administration acts like they are all from Indonesia or something and have ever heard of the thing.

Nasty scrap of paper that ruins *everything.* [stamp stamp]

JAL said...

Contraception?

$10 at WalMart.

Get. A. Life.

Synova said...

"I have a sneaky suspicion that there are no females of childbearing age participating in this or any other Athouse thread."

I'm physically/biologically capable of becoming pregnant. Since I want to have sex and don't want more children, I have taken responsibility for my choice.

Freeman has little babies, so it seems safe to say she is as well.

"Why would any of you [men and ladies over 45] advocate for womens reproductive rights?"

"Women's reproductive rights" is one of those code phrases that means something else. No one is advocating for taking away women's (or men's) right to make their own decisions about reproducing or not. Since no one is doing that, "women's reproductive rights" must mean something else.

"Maybe because it would reduce the numbers of abortions?"

Assuming from context and implication that "women's reproductive rights" means something closer to "free contraceptives paid for by someone else involuntarily and possibly against their firm conviction"... what support do you have for the assertion that this would reduce the numbers of abortions or ever has?

I do understand that it seems logical enough... provide birth control and there won't need to be abortions. But logic doesn't trump reality. When logic falls to reality, it can't be forced by just doing what *ought* to have worked only doing it more.

"Does that make too much sense?"

master cylinder said...

Sorry Synova-thought you were older.

Beldar said...

I had conventional group insurance through my then-employer when I got my vasectomy. I was surprised to learn it was covered. "What's the diagnostic code for this procedure?" I asked the insurance clerk at the urologist's office. She gave me a number and the accompanying diagnosis: "Acute Fecundity Anxiety."

I thought about that for a second and then asked her about it. She stared at me blankly; these were just words to her that she wrote by rote in this situation, she didn't know what they meant. So I asked the urologist.

"Oh, yeah, that literally means you're very worried about fathering a child," he confirmed. "It makes economic sense for your group to pay for that, because even if your future fathering is unplanned, it's likely to result in a new group member who's not bringing in much or any additional premiums, but who's getting lots of ear infections and well-child checkups and broken collarbones and such. This little 'snip-snip' costs them almost nothing."

"Besides," said my urologist, "since you're a lawyer, I'd do your vasectomy for free even if the insurance company wouldn't pay."

madAsHell said...

Obama's Razor - never attribute to genius or even low cunning what can be just as easily be explained by stupidity and vanity.

Sorry, I'm stealing it!!

Beldar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lyssa said...

Master Cyl: I have a sneaky suspicion that there are no females of childbearing age participating in this or any other Athouse thread.

Well, you're wrong. I'm 32, and I know that Freeman Hunt and Shanna, amoung others, are my same age. FH's pregnant now, BTW. And we're all capable of acquiring birth control without the help of the gov't. I had insurance that didn't cover BC for the first several years of my marriage, yet I never once went without, even when I was waiting tables in college.

Please stop insulting my and other females' abilities to provide for ourselves.

Synova said...

"Sorry Synova-thought you were older."

I am older.

I'm 47.

But my not being in "childbearing years" is still a matter of deliberately and actively thwarting biology.

Phil 3:14 said...

First, a nice review of the coverage from GetReligion

Andy and Amanda just don't understand, its not about politics and Republicans vs Democrats. Do you think Tim Kaine or Mark Shields would said anything negative if it was just about politics.

Now, I'm not Catholic (was raised Catholic) and I definitely believe in the value of birth control, but the policy from the get go just felt disdainful of any religious concerns. That tone deafeness will give moderate voters pause this fall as they enter the voting booth.

Fen said...

I have a sneaky suspicion that there are no females of childbearing age participating in this or any other Athouse thread.

Love this fallacy. Not only are men not qualified to discuss "women's reproductive health", neither are women beyond child-bearing age...

Fen said...

I'm going to introduce a bill that forces liberals to pay for everyone's handgun, registration fees and safety training.

School programs too. If rolling condoms on a bannana "saves lives", then so does mandatory firearm safety training.

Phil 3:14 said...

OK, it can't be avoided anymore.

(I said I was a former Catholic.)

Renee said...

I'm Catholic. I practice NFP. And a female of childbearing age. Yes, it works. It's very scientific, and I know as a woman a lot about my body I wish I knew when I was middle school.

I'm happy with the Catholic Church, and the best thing about NFP is that it is free, and the pharmaceutical companies can't profit from oppressing my ovaries. It the government want the insurance companies to save money they would be promoting NFP.

n.n said...

To honor this month when America remembers slavery, let's all reject our dreams of physical instant gratification conducted through involuntary exploitation (e.g. taxation), which when progressive constitutes half of that enterprise's foundation.

If people want to participate in a private plan which offers coverage for dreams of instant gratification, well, that is their right to engage in voluntary exploitation. However, when the authority granted to individuals to provide oversight of our affairs is abused, then not only are we subject to involuntary exploitation, but when it is progressive, there is also the attendant progressive corruption to cope with.

People are literally voting for "sexual relations" without consent. The lessons of history have escaped our notice.

n.n said...

On the other hand, as we pursue an effort to reverse the normalization of abortion, before we are successful, we may be unable to avoid sharing responsibility for a couple's action. It's unfortunate, and when involuntary, it does contribute to progressive corruption; but, such is the burden we carry when we desire to preserve our most fundamental principles.

Let's hope that men and women are capable of self-moderating behavior; otherwise, we will invariably enjoy a progressively diminished liberty.