Monday Highlights

So. Spring seems to be slowly springing.

  1. Spartacus is on form. Woo!
  2. I’d imagine so, if you thought liberals were consistent. Heh.
  3. The Mozilla fallout continues, noted here, here, and here.
  4. Of course, things could be worse.
  5. If that’s the story, more stupidity in our educational system.
  6. Of ignorance and politics.
  7. Insurance (and un-)  rates.
  8. Going with the Sarge, “not awesome”.
  9. Our President and liberal press, disloyally serving the cause of disinformation, alas, effectively.
  10. Dodd-Frank and obvious yet apparently unintended consequences. One (should) wonder how, if a consequence is clearly going to happen how it is not intentional.
  11. No. The “idiots” didn’t win, the idiot has a talk show.
  12. Now there’s something to celebrate.j
  13. Ghostbusters and real science.
  14. A lesson for the President.


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  1. buddyglass says:

    Re: #2, the one doesn’t follow from the other. In the first, the govt. is requiring businesses to subsidize the cost of devices that their employees may optionally use to prevent pregnancy. Or not, if they choose to get pregnant. There’s no obligation on the employee.

    So in a situation where the government wished to lessen the burden on those wishing to have children (as opposed to wishing to lessen the burden on those wishing to avoid having children) it might require businesses to cover the cost of devices that assist those trying to get pregnant. Maybe employers would be required to offer health insurance that covers the cost of ovulation kits and/or fertility related drugs, if not all the way up to IVF.

    That’s a far cry from the Handmaid’s Tale.

  2. Boonton says:

    You don’t even have to go there, simply offering coverage for childbirth clearly lowers the burden on couples who are trying to have children. Let’s imagine the employer who is entranced by the idea of population control who declares his insurance will no longer cover childbirth but will offer free abortions and contraception.

    Does the boss have a right to believe in this? Sure. Does he have a right to offer insurance centered around this belief? Sure. Because this is his belief should he enjoy the tax benefits of an employer who offers what everyone else defines as ‘full coverage’? No

  3. Boonton says:

    #2 also, it needs to be said, is stupid. Notice that Obamacare in every sense that it ‘requires birth control’ also ‘requires birth coverage’. Does that mean anyone is being told by the gov’t that they must have babies?

    To me the real question is do the people who write stupid crap like that actually believe they are making a coherent argument? Or are they just playing along because it signals that they are aligned with their ‘side’ in the political debate? What causes people like Marc to actually cite such examples of stupidity? It cannot be because he thinks it puts his side in a good light or presents some innovative reason to change one’s mind. Instead its a type of intellectual affirmative action. His fellow blogger gets cited because he’s on the ‘right’ side hence pretending he isn’t a fool is a type of loyality.

  4. Mark says:

    Mr Howard,
    Sorry for the delay in responding. First off, apparently liberals who think “contraception needs to be covered” with insurance co-pays hasn’t apparently priced a condom. The’re like a buck or two a piece in singles.

    Government obligating you to do things is the key here, not insurance. Let’s make this a thought experiment for a bit. If computer models said demographics and birth rates were a crisis. What drastic measures would you now support to correct the problem. The comparison isn’t to insurance and condoms (except in the willingness for the left to set aside Constitutional protections), it is more to global warming and drastic measures suggested by modeling.

    It’s only stupid because you didn’t read it carefully.

  5. Boonton says:

    Who is obligated to buy any type of contraception? No one.

    If computer models said demographics and birth rates were a crisis. What drastic measures would you now support to correct the problem.

    Errr require insurance to also cover the costs of prenatal care and birth? Ohhh wait, that’s already required. Show me how that has resulted in brining forth something like The Handmaiden’s Tale.

  6. buddyglass says:

    Condoms are qualitatively inferior to hormonal birth control. For me, at least. People could also just stop having sex if they don’t want kids. That would be fool-proof, but it’s viewed as an unreasonable imposition.

    The thought process is that hormonal birth control is something that makes a significant portion of the population’s lives better. But it costs money. So we’d like to provide it universally. Building it into Obamacare and requiring employer plans to cover it is the means of providing it universally.

    Now that does involve requiring employers to do a certain thing. Namely, to offer plans covering hormonal birth control. But can you not see how that’s fundamentally different from the govt. forcibly impregnating women? You proposed a thought exercise (which I’ll get to in a sec). Let me propose one back. Your single 25-year old daughter has started her own business. She can either be forced by the government to have her company offer health plans that cover hormonal birth control *or* she can be impregnated against her will, held under duress during her pregnancy and then forced to give up her child to the state after its delivered. “Handmaid’s Tale” style. In your mind, as her father, are these two hypothetical government actions roughly comparable?

    Now, to your exercise. You ask what measures I’d support. I might support requiring employers to subsidize (via their health insurance coverage) procedures that assist in conception. I might support requiring employers to more heavily subsidize (via their health insurance coverage) the medical care of children, so as to lessen the financial burden on prospective parents. I might rejigger the tax code to be more favorable to parents. I might require employes to adopt other non-health-related policies that make parents’ lives easier. As an example, maybe women get more paid pregnancy leave. Maybe we subsidize daycare and preschool beyond just making them tax-deductible. Shoot, maybe we could take a crack at making post-secondary education universally affordable as well (assuming you can get in); that’s one of the major financial bogeymen parents’ worry about these days.

    Basically I’d look to mitigate the financial consequences of having children with the goal of making that decision an attractive one for more couples.

    (For the record, I think its dumb to require employers to offer plans that cover non-medically-necessary hormonal birth control. Mainly because it isn’t medical care.; there’s no medical “problem” being addressed. But, then, I think employers providing health insurance at all is dumb.)

  7. Mark says:

    Well, you can go to the back of the class now. Let’s see.

    Show me how that has resulted in brining forth something like The Handmaiden’s Tale.

    Let’s see this is predicated on what things happen after< ?em> (not before) computer models show (and are taken as gospel by the ruling, say, Democratic elite .. ’cause we all know the faith they put in computer models …) that there are severe consequences due to a demographic crises. Apparently your imagination can’t be stretched to consider new policies such models and their consequences might inspire.

    Try again.

  8. Boonton says:

    So you’re saying it’s 2050 and computer models are showing the human race will go extinct in 100 years unless the birth rate suddenly triples. Given that crises environment, the gov’t might start ordering people to have babies.

    OK, that may in fact happen. Or it may not. If you asked people in 1914 what 1950 would look like you’d probably get a lot of wild answers and a few of which were anywhere near right.

    Now tell me exactly how does choosing to reject or accept Obamacare today alter what the gov’t may do in that hypothetical case you laid out? It seems to me the pressure to ‘mandate babies’ in that hypothetical case is driven by the circumstances and how the US addressed health care decades ago would have no impact.

    Your statement would be about as absurd as someone saying in 1914 “The US Post Office must be allowed to ban Joyce’s Ulysses or else we’ll see a future where the Supreme Court will force integration upon this nation!”. It’s pretty doubtful if Joyce had lost back then segregationism would have won decades later.

    Speaking of which, how are you going to address the little problem that Obamacare is mandating contraception for no one at all?

    The more interesting question IMO, though, is the meta one. Why are you carrying water for this stupid argument? Why are you calling attention to it? Usually when a person brings shame to the family, the family tries to downplay them or cover them up entirely. Why does the right feel compelled to showcase rather than hide the defectives in their family?

  9. Mark says:

    No I’m saying it’ 2016 and academia is convinced by computer models that America or the modern Western economies will undergo catastrophic failure if a predicted demographic crises is not averted. Why push it so far in the future that you pretend you say anything.

    And yes, the interesting question is a meta one. Why do you trust computer models so much?

  10. Mark says:

    Return to the link. This isn’t and wasn’t about insurance. Why you thought so, is beyond me.

  11. Boonton says:

    From the page:

    Hey, if the state can require free birth control, can the state require pregnancy if society decides that lack of babies rather than unwanted babies is the bigger problem faced by society?

    So this is on a par with asking:

    If the state can require that new cars have working windshield wipers, then can the state require people to drive around during rainstorms?!

    Ohhh I’m sorry, how about

    Should computer models in the future show the universe will blow up unless everyone drives around during rain storms, can the state today require cars to have working headlights so they can drive around at night

    The question originally asked might make some sense if, say, ‘computer models’ today said there was some urgent need for population control hence ‘let’s mandate contraception coverage’. Except that didn’t happen and since both birth and contraception are covered it’s really hard to connect in any way to a policy requiring people to have or not have babies.*

    * Although you missed it when you pointed out contraception was cheap. Covering contraception is a smaller benefit than covering birth, so actually the health bill is far more biased in favor of having babies than using contraception to avoid having babies.

  12. Mark says:

    Covering contraception is stupid, because it is so cheap. Co-pays for condoms make 0 sense. Condoms work as good or better (see diseases, sexually transmitted) than other methods. Men (see earlier comment) sometimes don’t prefer them because reduced sensitivity means it takes longer to orgasm, a feature which I doubt women find as problematic. Often jobs require cars and legal adjustments get made for that need (DUI and required driving for example) … odd however that just because cars exist with features you might like better (luxury supercars come to mind) doesn’t mean anyone gets to mandate or reasonably demand a “better car” just because it has nifty features. Yet this is what y’all are doing regarding the contraception thing.

    And see my previous remark. It seems you haven’t revisited the link.

  13. Boonton says:

    Covering contraception is stupid, because it is so cheap. Co-pays for condoms make 0 sense.

    No insurance plan to my knowledge covers condoms nor is that a requirement. Since plans cover drugs and devices why would forms of contraception that are, say, pills, be treated differently from pills for other uses?

    Condoms work as good or better…

    Sounds like something patients should be deciding for themselves with the advice of their doctors.

    Often jobs require cars and legal adjustments get made for that need …

    Who cares why the gov’t may have a law that cars have to have windshield wipers. Whatever you think of that if you claim that’s the gov’t is therefore ‘forcing’ you to drive in the rain you’re an idiot.

  14. Boonton says:

    Let’s note again how your ‘cheap’ argument cuts against you. Mandating coverage of either contraception or childbirth is very biased, towards child birth.

    Contraception most likely costs less than $500 a year (figure two doctor’s visits, plus a script for a generic pill). The cheapest childbirth costs more than $5,000 (not counting prenatal care). An unbiased method would be to simply say contraception is covered, childbirth will cost you $4500.

    But the policy isn’t designed to be unbiased, it’s designed to maximize individual (as opposed to corporate or gov’t) freedom. Whether you have children or not is up to you. So it’s actually pretty backwards to even approach this as laying the groundwork for ‘mandating having babies’. Kind of says to the world “I don’t get it and I’m going to do everything in my power to never get it”.

  15. buddyglass says:

    Let the record show that I strenuously object to the claim that condoms are superior. 🙂

  16. Mark says:

    Mr Howard,
    The point isn’t that they are superior … but that they (a) work and (b) are cheap. Therefore there should be no requirement to provide benefits for more expensive alternatives for those who cannot afford them. I cannot afford a luxury super-car doesn’t mean that I should be provided one through other’s monies.