The rotting corpse of Obamacare is soon to be dragged off for burial, taking along with it the decree to provide birth control to everyone — if they need it or not. Liberal snowflakes upset with losing a free ride are now lobbying state lawmakers across the country, which is exactly what they should be doing.
The Affordable Care Act was founded on good intentions but as with any federal program, so many things get tacked on that it snowballs. Big bills can turn into an unworkable mess like Obamacare was when Harry Reid shoved it down our throats.
One women’s health group was able to heavily influence Nevada state legislators with several trips to the Carson City capital earlier this year. The pressure paid off in legislation requiring insurance companies to pay for a full year of birth control with no co-pays. While they did not hit the jackpot with all they were hoping to include, coverage of the morning after pill and removal of religious grounds exemptions, Republican Governor Brian Sandoval signed the measure into law last week.
The Senate Majority Leader scheduled the deciding vote for 1:00 am on the morning of Christmas Eve. This allowed only 38 hours to wade through nearly four hundred pages of the amendment to a bill that started out around 2,700 pages. If that was not bad enough, it referred to another set of rules that was over 10,000 pages and made a stack of paper eight feet tall. I’m sure you all remember what Nancy Pelosi said about that… “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
The problem with wide-reaching federal programs is that they try to solve every problem within their scope in a one-size-fits-all umbrella approach that adds unnecessary cost and increased numbers of administrators. The larger the program grows the more it gets bogged down and soon we get to the point where nothing gets done at all.
Trump’s approach to limit federal oversight of things that should be handled by the states or by private companies will pay off in the long run with better programs and laws that solve the issues best in each particular locality. By targeting legislation to those directly affected, costs and red tape are minimized.
The Supreme Court decision last week is a great example of how Obamacare was too far-reaching. ACA provisions require free birth control for all women, even those who will never, ever use it. It had no provisions for exemptions on moral and religious grounds. The highest court ruled unanimously that requiring birth control for nuns is absurd and allows church-affiliated hospitals exemption from providing free birth control because of their religious objections.
Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health in New York says “We are on the cusp of seeing another push, a more aggressive push at the state level to protect affordable access to contraception, just like we saw in the late ’90s when women realized Viagra was getting coverage and birth control wasn’t. The feds can set a floor. States can decide to do better.”
For more than twenty years, 28 states have had some type of law designed to lower the cost of birth control and make it easier to get. Many states are now widening coverage to allow 12-month supplies at a time where they used to cover 3 months. This is a logical and reasonable improvement by eliminating trips to the doctor just for a prescription renewal.
Other states are free to take different approaches that fit their needs and political goals. New York’s attorney general calls for all forms of birth control, even vasectomies at no cost to the patient, something Obamacare won’t even cover. Maryland already has one of the most far-reaching birth control laws that includes not only vasectomies but the morning after pill will also be totally covered.
The Trump administration is working on revising existing laws to comply with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling while federal lawmakers complete the process to repeal and replace Obamacare. Compromise legislation is on the horizon to reduce federal involvement, the high cost, and burdensome paperwork. This creates an opportunity for individual states and private companies or non-profits to build targeted programs that help those in their states who need a hand but do it through smaller and more locally managed efforts.