Discussion: A pregnant debate over maternity care

November 12, 2013

E.J. Dionne Jr.’s op-ed column Monday began, “If you’re a conservative strongly opposed to abortion, shouldn’t you want to give all the help you can to women who want to bring their children into the world? In particular, wouldn’t you hope they’d get the proper medical attention during and after their pregnancy?”

He asked these questions, he went on, because “conservatives are positively obsessed with trashing the Affordable Care Act’s regulation requiring insurance policies to include maternity coverage.”  Our Readers Who Comment have pretty much sided with Dionne on this one, although there are exceptions in the more than 4,500 comments the column has generated.

We’ll start with choppy1, who wrote, “The response to maternity care in ACA reveals three things about conservatives:
“1) They are consistent about not wanting ‘us’ (old, white men) to pay for ‘them’ (young men and women of any race).
“2) They mistake what’s good for the individual (making it on your own) for what is good for society (everyone needs help to make it).
“3) They have so little interest in government and public policy that they don’t even bother to understand the basics, such how insurance works by pooling risk.”

DOps offered that “People who smoke represent a higher risk of incurring medical costs. people who don’t have a lower risk. That may be why even under ObamaCare, non-smokers pay less and smokers more. All risks are not rated equally. If you are someone who is ‘at risk’ of being pregnant, maybe you should have the option buying specialized coverage to handle the rating of that risk. And the rest of us are not subsidizing your privilege, which is likely substantially of your own choosing to exercise.”

wmbrent wrote, “Not to mention all those property taxes we pay, whether or not we have kids in school. The socialists pulled that fast one on us before we even knew there was such a thing as socialism.”

TheTruthSeeker1 replied that “We pay taxes for the good of all. Socialism is not for the good of all.”

SMS45 said, “It’s been my experience that some people who have never achieved anything feel better that someone else has less than they have.”

But sold2u replied, “Sigh. … If you aren’t in favor of subsidizing apple pie and motherhood, you are somehow ‘against it.’ The correct question is ‘Why do we demand that people who aren’t going to have kids subsidize mothers?’ ”

boblesch pointed out, “We decided long ago that educating all children is good for society and we all pay for public schools through taxes. How is this different?”

Mirrorgazer said, “Motherhood is a choice; cancer is not. People who have children should be financially prepared to have them.  Why couldn’t the government (compliments of taxpayers) just provide Medicare for those who could qualify? It has its flaws but is an established, appreciated program that works most of the time for most of its recipients. It covers basic physical exams and it can help the smart user prevent illnesses due to lifestyle. In the event of catastrophic illness, it comes through.”

shellbella3636 wrote that “Motherhood is NOT a choice when you shut down options for abortions.”

boblesch replied, “Say, we extrapolate the argument — I have no risk of heart disease, cancer or stroke. Shouldn’t I be able to get a policy whose costs reflects my lack of risk in those high-cost ailments?”

But Bertram2 asked, “How do you have no risk for those things? Are you an android?”

And SANDYBRYANT said, “Bob, that’s because tomorrow you may get hit by a bus and suddenly all your risk factors change. Pooling risk makes it more expensive for those in the low-risk pool in the short run, but in the long run those costs over a lifetime will be lower for those individuals as they move into higher-risk pools, as naturally occurs with age.”

But boblesch wouldn’t quit, writing, “If I get hit by a bus — my body will die and I’ll no longer need care.”

SMS45 replied, “Bob, the real question is whether you believe in universal access to healthcare.”

Boblesch said, “sms – i’ve been an advocate of expanding Medicaid to everyone since 1993.”

And we’ll close with SMS45, who wrote: “Good man.”

All comments on this article are here.

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Doug Feaver · November 7, 2013