Monday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Abstinence and condom vouchers? Apparently the left things those things are really really expensive.
  2. Freedom and the Middle East (and North Africa).
  3. The PC movement and consequence.
  4. An administration like no other … or not.
  5. Breaking new ground on the “Open” front too.
  6. Heh.
  7. Of economics and regulation.
  8. A book recommended.
  9. Regime change, here and here.
  10. Three Presidents.
  11. Beltway spending practices and a comparison noted.
  12. The regrettable SEC.

13 Responses to Monday Highlights

  1. Abstinence and condom vouchers? Apparently the left things those things are really really expensive.

    Incoherent, this directly contradicts your previous assertion that insurance isn’t about a ‘pool’ but about prepaying medical expenses. If you buy insurance you give up your money in exchange for coverage. If you’re covered for something you’re not going to use (contraceptiion) but covered for stuff you are (say having a kid), that’s you. If the insurance company uses the money you pay to supply condoms that’s between them and their customers.

    Otherwise all economic transactions become almost impossible to evaluate morally. Want to go to McDonalds’? How do you know none of those kids aren’t using their pay, which comes from your purchases, to have an abortion?

  2. Boonton,
    You pay for condoms with medical insurance? Really? Surely you jest.

    How much do think you’d pay outside of insurance, you know those scary “over the counter” condoms?

  3. No but I’m not aware that condoms are being paid for with insurance. Contraception coverage usually entails drugs or implantable devices like the IUD, not condoms. But we do pay for condoms in the sense that you can deduct your medical expenses today, hence anyone who itemizes their deductions can toss their condom spending in there and get less tax expense paid for at the expense of everyone else…ditto for abortions.

  4. Mark,

    Abstinence and condom vouchers? Apparently the left things those things are really really expensive.

    No, but as the article points out, “a large body of scientific evidence showed the effectiveness of those services.” Why does Mr. Carter simply mock scientists and why do you link to such stupidity?

    Not providing them would obviously increase the number of abortions, too. Doesn’t that bother you? You say contraception is cheap, you can’t argue that contraception doesn’t prevent abortions, science shows that providing contraception works, and yet you link to a post mocking it… why?

  5. Mark,

    Abstinence and condom vouchers? Apparently the left things those things are really really expensive.

    No, but as the article points out, “a large body of scientific evidence showed the effectiveness of those services.” Why does Mr. Carter simply mock scientists and why do you link to such stupidity? There’s not even an argument there, just mocking the “scientific overlords.”

    Not providing them would obviously increase the number of abortions, too. Doesn’t that bother you? You say contraception is cheap, you can’t argue that contraception doesn’t prevent abortions, science shows that insurance companies providing contraception works, and yet you link to a post mocking it… why? Do you want more abortions? Do you mindlessly oppose anything a scientist suggests? Is it… SOCIALISM??! Gasp!

    Grow up and stop ruining our country with your idiotic bias against science and empiricism.

  6. My impression was not that the beef was with insurance paying for it but the issue of people who don’t like contraception having insurance that covers it.

    But there is a valid argument that insurance should cover major medical expenses and that small ones should be paid for with the individual’s own money. Otherwise you get an incentive for people to treat their insurance plan as a blank check & load up on ‘free’ items that can easily be purchased with everyday funds (condoms, cough syrup etc.) thereby leaving less money for the plan to pay more essential things. That’s not a trivial issue as an insurance company may find it easier to let twenty thousand people get reimbursed for over the counter cough syrup and deny the one person who needs an ‘experimental operation’ than to tell twenty thousand people no.

    On the other hand you have the HMO model which does pay for small things on the theory that doing so prevents big things later on. It would probably be cheaper to put a woman on the pill than pay for an abortion later on (and I would imagine most pro-lifers would feel less moral qualms about that). I would probably put condoms, though, out of the formulary.

  7. Breaking new ground on the “Open” front too.

    It would seem like this is a lie
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201102070021

  8. JA,
    I wasn’t making any points for or against contraception qua contraception. My point was just that it seems odd that there is a notion that insurance is required to finance condom usage.

    I have no idea what this has to do with accusing me of having an “idiotic bias against science” just remember your the guy who hangs tight with the anti-nuke at any cost crowd.

  9. I’m not sure why that seems odd to you since it’s purely a product of your imagination. The article you linked too wasn’t about condom use but contraception. Unless you’ve been sticking your head in that time machine again, condoms are only one type of contraception & most of them require a prescription.

  10. Boonton,
    So … why does insurance pay for a thing for which a (basically) no cost alternative exists? And to be honest, I have no real qualms with insurance as such doing so … the government is another matter.

    In case you wreck your car, insurance can be bought to replace it. However you don’t get to choose a Lotus Esprit to replace your Ford Focus.

    The point being there’s lots of low hanging fruit if you want to control costs, one of these is not to push high cost alternatives when cheaper are available without pushing much of that cost to the consumer.

  11. I wasn’t making any points for or against contraception qua contraception. My point was just that it seems odd that there is a notion that insurance is required to finance condom usage.

    That’s the beauty of empiricism, Mark. Instead of relying on feelings and hunches like “it seems odd,” we look at the facts, and the facts are that insurance companies providing contraception “works” — presumably meaning it reduces unwanted pregnancies at a higher rate than not doing it, which is (again) OBVIOUSLY worth pretty much whatever it costs, considering it doesn’t cost much. I don’t see how anybody could be against this unless they’re elevating some principle (contraception is sinful, insurance companies “shouldn’t” provide things like this even if it’s in their best interest, etc.) over empirical reality.

    I have no idea what this has to do with accusing me of having an “idiotic bias against science” just remember your the guy who hangs tight with the anti-nuke at any cost crowd.

    You linked to a post mocking scientists and seem to be objecting to the whole notion of using science to determine the best strategy.

    As for the anti-nuke stuff, I’m not sure who you’re saying I “hang tight” with, but that’s pretty weak sauce. I certainly don’t link to any arguments like that, nor do I support them.

  12. Most plans I’m aware of have co-pays of $10-$40. This would mean that even if condoms were in the formulary, I don’t think you’d get insurance to really pay for them (although I guess they might count if you’re plan requires you to meet a deductible…in that case all of your spending big and small is part of the whole).

    The point being there’s lots of low hanging fruit if you want to control costs, one of these is not to push high cost alternatives when cheaper are available without pushing much of that cost to the consumer.

    I’m not sure I’m following this. Let’s say we own an insurnace company. We can pay for birth control pills for our patient at a cost of, say $300 a year or make her buy condoms out of her pocket. Making her buy condoms does lower our costs but increases her (the consumer’s) costs. That’s just an isolated transaction, though. Birth control is more reliable in terms of patient compliance than condoms. So out of 100 patients who we treat this way, we may be confronted with 10-20 requests to pay for abortions or births that we otherwise wouldn’t have. Considering abortions run maybe $500 and births $5000 our decision to nickle and dime the birth control pills looks a bit like a case of being penny wise and pound foolish.

  13. In the spirit of helping Mark lower cost, I volunteer to help him with Abstinence Vouchers. I promise I will not have sex with him in exchange for only 50% of his insurance’s co-pay.

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