Leaving aside the religious objections, the biggest complaint I’m seeing about the new contraception plan is a misguided concern about costs. In truth, providing comprehensive contraception care costs less:
“[E]very dollar invested by the government for contraception saves $3.74 in Medicaid expenditures for pregnancy-related care related to births from unintended pregnancies. In total, the services provided at publicly funded family planning clinics resulted in a net savings of $5.1 billion in 2008. Significantly, these savings do not account for any of the broader health, social or economic benefits to women and families from contraceptive services and supplies, and the ability to time, space and prepare for pregnancies.”
In the private sector, a study by the National Business Group on Health shows “it costs employers an estimated 15–17% more to not provide contraceptive coverage in employee health plans than to provide such coverage.” Another study backs up those findings.
It appears to me that some of this cost concern is rooted in resentment about paying for a medical service someone won’t use themselves. But that’s true of much of your policy coverage, especially if you’re in a group. Nobody uses every available service included in a policy. Your hypochondriac co-worker who runs to the doctor every time she breaks a fingernail raises costs. Pregnancies and prostate care, cancer treatment and so forth raises costs for the entire group. And as been pointed out by many, if you don’t object to insurance coverage for erectile dysfuntion treatments and drugs, you should have no complaints about contraception coverage that arguably has more overall benefit to society at large.
And by the way, to address another mistaken rumor I’ve seen floating around the internet, including in the speech Mitt Romney made at CPAC yesterday, the Plan B “abortion” pill is not included in this plan.
If you have a religious objection to contraception, fine. Nobody is forcing you to use it. But neither do you have the right to impose your beliefs on those who want this reproductive care. Also, it’s useful to remember, if we had a universal public health care system, such as Medicare for all, we wouldn’t be having this argument. No employer would be forced to pay for coverage they found objectionable and every American would be getting proper health care. Which would benefit everyone in the long run.