Make life-saving drugs free, not birth control
The discussion of the Obama birth control mandate misses three key points:
First, America has a long history of accommodating religious objections. For example, during both world wars, Quaker draftees who objected to war were granted noncombat assignments, and today Muslim prison inmates are offered halal meals. Making these accommodations is an essential part of American civil liberty. Why, then, not a compromise on birth control coverage that allows Catholic organizations to opt out of including birth control in their health care plans in exchange for lower premiums or lower co-pays on other procedures?
Second, if the administration can trample a venerable institution like the Catholic Church, it can trample any of us at any time. The brute strength of the law makes a mockery of rule-making due process. Future decisions on which medical conditions are eligible for health care coverage could be based on nothing more than political patronage. Americans who suffer from conditions that lack deep-pocketed supporters could be left in the lurch. This kind of power is unacceptable in America.
Third, “women’s health” includes more than birth control. Women in America who suffer from, for example, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma and multiple sclerosis take medications every day just to stay alive. Women who suffer from conditions like glaucoma, osteoporosis and debilitating arthritis pain take medications every day to maintain quality of life. These medications have copays that, in some cases, are steep — and many women take more than one daily medication.
Yet for some reason, under Obamacare, birth control would be free. In other words, drugs that treat high blood pressure and may prolong life by 30 years continue to be expensive, while birth control is free. This is diabolical. How about reducing co-pays on medications that extend life and instead impose a co-pay on birth control? SUE D. ARNOLD Arlington