I think I must have a bit in common with some Republican legislators. They don’t seem to understand where babies come from. I didn’t really understand either, at the age of eight or nine.
When I was a mid grade-schooler, there was a scandal in our family’s social circle. Someone’s teenage daughter had magically become pregnant and was seemingly forced into a quickie marriage. I didn’t want this awful situation to happen to me! I even approached my mom about it. She hemmed and hawed, eventually mumbling something along the lines of “You don’t need to worry about that.” But she gave me no specifics… nothing. So I put two plus two together and got five. I assumed that females just naturally had babies… all by themselves… they just grew inside women at some random time in their lives. It must be a kind of lottery thing, where if and when you got pregnant was just a matter of chance.
This must be the same conclusion that Republican Representative John Shimkus (IL) has drawn and still believes. He questions why men should have to pay for prenatal and maternity healthcare, after all, men don’t have babies! Well, John, I later found out that it takes two to tango, and a woman doesn’t just grow a baby all on her own. In fact, I have it on good authority that men are 50% responsible for that baby growing inside the mother’s “tummy.”
Yep, who knew healthcare was so complicated! I’ll try to break it down simply. Insurance of any kind is based on pools. Healthcare insurance companies are hoping that young, healthy people will offset the costs of the old and sick. The aggregate monies are used for all types of healthcare that one individual may not ever use. I, for one, can guarantee that I will never have a PSA screening for prostate cancer. It doesn’t mean that I am screaming from the rooftop that I shouldn’t have to pay for this service with aggregate funds. In fact, with this logic, I shouldn’t have to pay for vasectomies, prostate surgery, and the majority of heart disease interventions. I hope I never need cancer treatment, but I don’t begrudge my part of the aggregate pool being used for people who do.
You see, John, it’s not like going into a cafeteria, picking out the dishes you want, and paying just for what you have selected. It’s more like entering Disneyworld. Everyone pays the entrance fee, but everyone’s experiences are different. Some don’t get to ride Dumbo, for whatever reason. It doesn’t mean those who miss this ride get a refund.
The reason maternity care was mandated in the Affordable Healthcare Act is that insurance companies were refusing to offer it, or charging exorbitant amounts for it in the individual marketplace. Why? Because it costs a great deal, they didn’t want to cut into their profits, and it wasn’t required. Does anyone really think that we need to be worried about insurance companies and their profit margins?
In fact, I believe the problem with insurance isn’t the people using it, it’s the institutions. Exorbitant drug and medical supply prices, non-for-profit hospitals making so much money they must constantly build, expand, landscape and buy art to use up their assets, and insurance companies acting as gatekeepers and decision makers to keep their profits up.
Oh, my favorite part so far, no Medicaid coverage to Planned Parenthood unless they stop offering abortions. Planned Parenthood supplies many basic healthcare services to a wide array of women, not to mention birth control. Take this away and where will they go? Eventually some will visit the emergency room, often the go-to “clinic” for the poor. The hospitals get the profit, and the system is billed at an extremely inflated rate for services that could have been prevented or performed much less expensively at Planned Parenthood. Everyone’s healthcare costs go up to share the burden, while hospitals, drug companies and insurance companies benefit.
It comes down to a couple of basic decisions. Frist, should women have access to birth control? In fact, let’s be honest. Should poor women have access to birth control, because women with means will always be able obtain what they need with regards to both birth control and abortions. Do we believe restricting access to birth control will somehow lower the abortion rate? More importantly, do we think, as a society, we should help to assure more babies are born healthy, or is this an unbearable onus on the prosperity of health insurance companies and too much of a burden for those of us who contribute to the insurance pool, but will never use the service?
And John? I have something to tell you. When mommies and daddies love each other very much, sometimes they lie down very close together, and sometimes this creates babies…