POV: How Not To Fight Against Socialized Medicine
by Ayn Rand | 1963
50 Years Down the Road of Socialized Medicine
by Rituparna Basu | July 30, 2015
Is Obamacare Here to Stay?
by Don Watkins | August 11, 2014
What’s missing from the Obamacare debates
by Tom Bowden | March 11, 2014
Obamacare creates a new class of free riders
by Rituparna Basu | January 23, 2014
Obamacare Is Suffocating An Already Sick Health Insurance Patient
by Rituparna Basu | January 22, 2014
The Broken State of American Health Insurance Prior to the Affordable Care Act: A Market Rife with Government Distortion
by Rituparna Basu | January 21, 2014
Obamacare is Really, Really Bad for You, Especially If You're Young
by Rituparna Basu | August 21, 2013
How Obamacare Law Fleeces the Young
by Rituparna Basu | April 26, 2013
It’s time to unplug Medicare’s third rail
by Rituparna Basu | November 26, 2012
I’ll Buy My Own Contraception, Thanks
by Rituparna Basu | November 13, 2012
Will FDA choke off promising adult stem cell research?
by Keith Lockitch | August 10, 2012
How Important Is the Obamacare Litigation?
by Tom Bowden | August 12, 2011
The Road to Socialized Medicine Is Paved With Pre-existing Conditions (Part 3)
by Yaron Brook | April 06, 2011
The Road to Socialized Medicine Is Paved with Pre-existing Conditions (Part 2)
by Yaron Brook | March 10, 2011
The Road to Socialized Medicine Is Paved with Pre-existing Conditions
by Yaron Brook | February 10, 2011
The Avastin Travesty
by Tom Bowden | December 12, 2010
You Are Not Your Neighbor's Health Care Provider
by Yaron Brook | May 11, 2010
What About Private Health Emergencies?
by Tom Bowden | April 08, 2010
The Right Vision Of Health Care
by Yaron Brook | January 08, 2008
Be Healthy or Else!
by Yaron Brook | October 22, 2007
No Right to “Free” Health Care
by Onkar Ghate | June 11, 2007
Prescription Drug Benefits Violate the Rights of Drug Companies
by Onkar Ghate | July 24, 2002
Health Care Is Not a Right
by Leonard Peikoff | December 11, 1993
Medicine: The Death of a Profession
by Leonard Peikoff | 1989


Government And Business in Voice for Reason
Government & BusinessHealth Care

I’ll Buy My Own Contraception, Thanks

by Rituparna Basu | November 13, 2012 |

This election season, perhaps in an attempt to win the so-called women’s vote, the marketing efforts for Obamacare targeted my gender. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act,” Representative Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius cheered in one editorial, “a new day for women’s health has arrived.” They’re referring to the provision that all health plans must now include coverage for contraception and other women’s services — and must do so without charging co-pays or deductibles for them.

Given that I have two X chromosomes and am not Catholic, you might be surprised to learn that I’m not cheering along. After all, what woman of child-bearing age would be against free, FDA-approved birth control?

But the alternative is not really between free contraception and contraception I have to pay for. It’s between two visions of the American health care system: one in which I’m free to make decisions and one in which that freedom is eroded.

For other types of insurance, I have much more control over the coverage I judge best for my individual situation. If I lived in Oklahoma, I may want to choose a policy with robust windstorm coverage, since the region is more prone to tornados. Damage from earthquakes is rare in the state, so I may decide to forego buying coverage for that. But if I lived in the earthquake-prone state of California, as I do, I may choose to load up on earthquake-damage protection. If I lived along the Gulf Coast, on the other hand, I may decide it’s a good idea to purchase protection from hurricane damage.

I can hardly make the same kinds of decisions when it comes to my health insurance, which is much more heavily controlled by the government. For example, when the government mandates that all health plans include coverage for contraception (never mind without co-pays or deductibles), what that means is everyone, including every man and every woman who is past child-bearing age, is required to purchase coverage for that benefit. The purpose is to make us pay a portion of its cost for those women who use it.

Mandating that certain benefits be included in insurance policies is not a phenomenon new to Obamacare. Fueled by the view that it is permissible to force the medical expenses of some onto others, states have imposed benefit mandates in various forms for more than sixty years. Men are routinely forced to pay for services only women use. Non-addicts are forced to pay for the alcohol and drug rehabilitation of addicts. Bachelors are forced to pay for the marriage therapy of couples. Couples who can conceive on their own are forced to pay for the in vitro fertilization of those who can’t.

According to the Council for Affordable Health Insuranceeach mandated benefit can raise the price of our insurance policies by up to 10 percent, and some states mandate more than sixty different benefits.

In a similar vein, Obamacare now requires that “essential health benefits” — benefits within ten federally determined categories — must be included in all policies sold on the individual and small-group markets. State governments and the thousands of lobbyists buzzing in their ears recently wrapped up the process of deeming what counts as “essential.” According to one pressure group, massage therapy, yoga and meditation instruction certainly do.

What this means is not only more expensive premiums but further entrenchment of a health care system in which my individual judgment is declared irrelevant.

As a young and relatively healthy person trying to save for a down payment on a house, I may decide to insure only against catastrophic events. As a female who one day wants children, however, I may want to add coverage against the risk of being unable to conceive.

But instead of leaving insurers free to offer such tailored policies and leaving me free to decide the coverage that best meets my individual needs, the government today dictates to us the coverage that may be bought and sold.

This is the opposite of the direction I want to see our health care system moving.

If an insurance company is willing to offer me coverage for contraception, and if such coverage makes financial sense to me, that’s great. But if the alternative is between being left free to make this choice and being coerced into a policy constructed by a government bureaucrat, I’d rather buy my own contraception, thank you very much. Walmart sells a $9 monthly supply.

About The Author

Rituparna Basu

Rituparna Basu was a researcher and analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute between 2011 and 2016.