Riffing on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), AKA Obamacare

22 Oct

Southern Living, one of my favorite magazines ever, published a piece this month that was overtly political and overtly in support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

Funny, because the South tends to be the place where opposition to the ACA is strongest. Even among some people who have not traditionally had health insurance.  I understand this viewpoint.  

While there are many abuses that the ACA seeks to correct, like the phenomenon that a person used to be able to pay for health insurance for a lifetime, then get thrown off his insurance the minute he got old and sick, the ACA introduces some other anomalies.  I will write an occasional piece about the ACA, especially since I can see another side to it than the one put forth by Southern Living.    

Southern Living rejoices that a woman will no longer pay a higher premium than a man, even during her childbearing years.  

I remember those years.  We were privately insured after I left active duty in the Navy so, when we were contemplating having a second child, we chose to not have a pregnancy and childbirth rider (which would have doubled my premium).  Instead, we were banking money to have a homebirth attended by a midwife.  As a Navy reservist, I had the right to make that choice.  Active duty members had to use the Naval hospital (for free!) in those days.  

We never ended up conceiving a second child, so our decision was the correct one. However, now that a woman cannot be charged for either a pregnancy rider or for a more expensive premium including pregnancy and childbirth, do we really believe her premiums will be cut in half?

Or is everyone going to pay more as the pregnancy/childbirth risk is spread across the entire population?

We all know that the second one is the correct answer.  

It is just how you frame the conversation that makes the difference.  

And, maybe that does seem fair to a lot of people.  Having men pay for high risk pregnancies, too.  

And women who will not or cannot become mothers must also pay for the pregnancies of their peers.  

I won’t argue with that.  Maybe having pregnancy coverage implicit in every policy written is actually a fair and good thing.  

But let’s call it what it is . . .  spreading the risk out over everyone and charging everyone more.  

It is not just a costsaving measure for women of childbearing age.  Someone else is helping them pay their costs because those costs will come due and someone will pick them up.  

American taxpayers, just think through this with me as the months roll by, okay?


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