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Friday, 17 February 2012

Congressional Wrangling Over Proposed Insurance Exchanges Takes A Nasty Turn

Wrangling Over Proposed Insurance Exchanges and Standard Health Care Benefits Takes a Nasty Turn

Barely recovering from the last congressional gaffe about redefining the rape of a woman in a transparent attempt to get out from under the federal Hyde Amendment criteria for Medicaid payments, the “powers-that-be” have made another mind blowing error in public engagement. In a nutshell and yes, I do mean all of these puns, here is the latest blunder by the Republicans controlling the house.

In a public hearing for testimony on the federal health insurance exchanges and standardized benefits for primary health care, which includes birth control options as benign as birth control pills, no women were allowed to testify at the hearing. It certainly is curious that those who are actually capable of pregnancy are excluded from the hearing. This refusal was despite vigorous opposition by female congresswomen. I actually listened to the hearing in order to believe it. And the woman they refused to allow to testify about the insurance exchange’s proposed standardized women’s health care was a college student. Yah, that is just what we want to discourage in this country, a woman with an education using prudence in reproductive matters.

And if that isn’t enough to befuddle a rational thinker, the reason the committee chairman gave for denying any woman the right to speak was because the meeting was about voting and safe guarding conscience in decision making. Interesting, I wasn’t aware that women lacked conscience, especially when you look at the violent crime statistics. But then again I guess these boys have turned their eyes away from those statistics. One wonders if they also were party to the move to redefine rape of an unconscious woman as a noncriminal event. If this is a matter of conscience, one wonders about theirs.

We are constantly assailed with Republican blather about fighting against big government, yet they seek to prevent birth control services from being covered on private insurance plans. As I have previously reported, several states already have enacted laws which prevent even private insurance plans from covering birth control services. Here are the members of this hall of shame: Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Idaho, and North Dakota. According to a 2003 Kaiser Foundation survey on contraceptive care, 87% of private employers provided coverage for birth control services, including abortion. So despite the anti-big-government talks, this smacks of big brother to me, or is it daddy?

For more straight talk on health care attend the Northwest Women’s Show on March 2nd, as the healthpolicymaven™ will present findings from her book, Unraveling U.S. Healthcare with my conscience intact.


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