Letters to the Editor

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BIRTH CONTROL: What’s free isn’t always cheap

Letter by William Acker, Gig Harbor on March 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm with 51 Comments »
March 5, 2012 3:45 pm

This is supposed to be the land of the free, not the freeloaders. How did some unelected Federal officials get the micromanagement power to dictate that $20 to $30 a month birth control pills are now going to be free? “Free” of course means that those who are forced to pay into the system will be picking up the tab for everyone in the form of increased rates, along with added bureaucracy and red tape.

Under the broad and ever-expanding pretense of health, what else is Obamacare going to mandate as “free”? Band aids? Toilet paper? “Therapeutic” video games? Union dues for organizations that support government expansionist polices?

“Free” birth control is just the tip of the iceberg of how polarizing, intrusive, and ultimately corrupt Obamacare is going to be if it is allowed to be implemented through to its full course.

Leave a comment Comments → 51
  1. Pacman33 says:

    In America, liberty should be the starting point, not a begrudged afterthought, in every context of law and public policy. The Constitution is a bulwark against tyranny, but we’ve allowed the politicians and lawyers to shoot it full of holes. It’s a Swiss cheese now, and the rats are crawling through, spreading their plague as they go.

  2. It has been found that not providing coverage in policies for contraceptive healthcare costs more than providing it. One of the main reasons is the lower cost of having one basic health care plan as opposed to multiple plans offering a pick and choose menu.

    When you look at the cost to employers and to society for unintended pregnancies, then the savings go up dramatically.


    “An independent evaluation of the experience of six of these states (with mandated contraceptive coverage) found that all six Demonstrations yielded savings, with annual state savings ranging between $1.3 million in New Mexico and nearly $30 million in Arkansas.

    As of August 1, 2010, 27 states, including States like Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, and Virginia had expanded Medicaid eligibility for family planning services under waivers that stipulated that these expansions be budget neutral. Based on this experience, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that expanding family planning to all States would save $400 million over 10 years.”

  3. yearofthewoman says:

    Mr. Acker:

    Let me guess. You are over the age of 55 and obviously male. Possibly single or your spouse is beyond childbearing years. Will you accept payment for ED drugs when you are on Medicare? If your daughter or grandaugher could die from an unwanted pregnancy, and can’t afford the cost of drugs, are you going to pick up the tab or would you appreciate a program that millions of taxpayers can split the cost of contraceptives for some women, instead of them dying?

  4. Just to set the record straight, again. NO the Pills and other contraceptive are not free!

    The new rules just say that if a health care plan covers drug prescriptions the plans have to

    Include birth control pills with no co-pay.

    Unless and until we have free health care in the country, the plans are not free but are paid for by the employee.

    Also notice the insurance companies have no problem with offer the coverages.

    Such simple concepts totally ignored or misunderstood by the zombie-brained conservacons.

    Pac33, fyi – many women have to take birth control pills for reasons other than to prevent pregnancies.

  5. What’s next? We lobby against diabetes drugs because if they’d lose weight, then the type 2 would go away? (Not true BTW) or not pay for cancer treatment because the person smoked? Or not pay for a kid’s cerebral palsy treatment because the Mom was too old to have the kid anyway? I notice that there is NO mention of Viagra being covered by insurance. Why should men be entitled? Viagra’s purpose is for ONE thing only! Men don’t DIE from not being able to perform. Women CAN die from many ailments that oral contraceptives are known to treat and minimize. If you have to have an Rx and a physician’s exam for something, and you have insurance, then its a NO BRAINER. Religious freedom does not mean that ONE religion gets to oppress everybody else into their brand of a god. This is nothing more than an attempt to tear down the health care bill.

  6. cclngthr says:

    A friend of mine (who is disabled) took birth control meds to reduce the intensity of her period, which extremely heavy periods are common with people with a disability. While it is illegal for many disabled people to engage in sexual activities, and not to prevent a pregnancy, to alleviate the discomfort and intense bleeds associated with a menstrual cycle.

  7. Frida wrote, “Religious freedom does not mean that ONE religion gets to oppress everybody else into their brand of a god.”

    No religion, even assuming you really mean The Catholics, is trying to “oppress everybody else into their brand of God.” That’s a load of baloney.

    Besides that, why did you even bring religion into this topic like you did. The letter that started this topic did not even mention the religious issue at all. This was only about COST and Obamacare. So, why did you feel compelled to bring in religion unless because you have your own axe to grind against The Catholics?

  8. Muckibr? We are a secular society, not a theocracy. Religious institutions do not pay taxes, they should not have a say in our political system. If a religious institution is providing insurance to their employees, then the employee’s personal healthcare is between them and their doctor. I don’t have an axe to grind with any religion. Religion is personal and should be kept to oneself. If you have to have an Rx for it, and insurance covers it, then that’s the health plan period. I pay for my healthcare and I don’t want some zealot employer telling me what I can and cannot get on my plan/ coverage.

  9. yearofthewoman says:

    The argument is and always will be that prescription coverage is either available or not on a plan. When an employer thinks they can pick and choose which prescriptions will be on an insurance program, they are getting involved in the patient’s business and privacy.

    Denial of what the Catholic Church is doing is worse than their action. Then there is the issue of the Catholic Church already paying insurance that covers birth control. It is widely known that they have been doing such for the 10 years since women lobbied for contraceptives to be covered, since the coverage of ED meds. The sudden morality on the part of the church had much to do with who is President. Regardless, they got their way, with their faux issue.

  10. ReadNLearn says:

    I’m torn…while I strongly believe in individual responsibility, I certainly don’t want the sort of women who need this birth control to breed.

  11. Frida, Secular society or not… Like it or not, the First Amendment in The Bill of Rights or The Constitution of The United States of America states;


    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    The Catholic Church, indeed any church, has the RIGHT constitutionally guaranteed to it and to all Americans to seek protection for its “free exercise of religion” to refuse to pay for birth control, as they consider artificial birth control, contraceptives, the very same as abortion. The Catholic Church has never hidden the fact that they are absolutely opposed to abortion.

    FORCING The Catholic Church to pay for abortions is OPPRESSING them and their religious beliefs, and that is in violation of The Constitution of The United States of America. If others intend to FORCE The Catholic Church to violate its core religious beliefs, then using the same First Amendment The Catholic Church has the constitutionally guaranteed right to a “redress of grievances” to The Supreme Court if necessary to have their rights upheld.

    Who is FORCING who in this situation? Who is OPPRESSING who in this situation? The Catholic Church is NOT the villain in this scenario. All those who spread the lie that ‘The Catholic Church is trying to force its beliefs on others’ are the oppressors, not The Catholic Church.

    This is NOT and NEVER HAS BEEN an issue of the church attempting to intercede between the doctor-patient relationship as you suggest. This is about The Catholic Church as an employer, providing health insurance coverage to its employees, but not including birth control paid for by the church. Employees always have the option to get supplemental insurance coverage that includes birth control coverage, or paying out-of-pocket. President Obama came up with the other alternative of requiring the insurance companies to provide birth control to employees at no cost. With all those options, including Obama’s FREE BIRTH CONTROL I do not understand why anyone is still complaining about this.

  12. bobcat1a says:

    Does anybody want the government or your employers going through your prescriptions deciding which ones you can get. ANY doctor prescribed pharmaceutical should be covered by all prescription drug plans. Unless the companies want to describe them as “some drugs at our discretion” plans.

  13. yearofthewoman, There has been NO PROOF whatsoever, shown on any of these TNT blogs that The Catholic Church has been providing paid birth control for the past 10 years, much less the last 10 seconds.

    Provide some documentation as proof if you believe this is so.

  14. bobcat1a says:

    Muck, do you have any idea how many Catholic associated entities already pay for birth control pill coverage? Why is it suddenly a problem now when it wasn’t for the last ten years?

  15. PatGreen says:

    Bufflonews.com –

    “Catholic bishops in New York say their dioceses won’t abide by a new federal regulation requiring Catholic hospitals, charities and schools to provide birth control coverage in their health insurance plans.

    But many Catholic institutions in New York — and in more than two dozen other states — already are complying with similar state mandates.

    New York began requiring prescription contraception coverage in 2002, over the objections of Catholic groups, which sued and lost in the state’s highest court.

    In Western New York, that means prominent Catholic institutions such as Baker Victory Services, Catholic Charities of Buffalo and St. Bonaventure University have been providing prescription birth control coverage for employees for nearly a decade.”

    I’m not “yearofthewoman”, but maybe I’ll qualify as “womanoftheyear”

  16. bobcat1, Prove it with documentation. Show me the Catholic entities where the Catholic Church is paying for birth control. Show me the facts. Just because you say so, does not make it a fact. Produce the links here so I can se it for myself. Fair enough?

  17. Frida wrote, “I notice that there is NO mention of Viagra being covered by insurance. Why should men be entitled? Viagra’s purpose is for ONE thing only!”

    Here you go Frida. I hope this answers all your questions regarding the Viagra issues:

    Why Catholic Groups’ Health Plans Say No To Contraceptives, Yes To Viagra
    by JULIE ROVNER, NPR Health Policy Correspondent
February 13, 2012

    “If health insurance plans offered by Catholic-sponsored entities refuse to cover contraceptives for women because of the religion’s moral teachings banning artificial birth control, do they cover Viagra for men?”

    “The answer on Viagra coverage is usually yes, Catholic leaders say. And they argue that’s neither hypocritical nor sexist.”

    “Procreation is something the Catholic church encourages. And Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs can be of help.”

    “Vasectomies, on the other hand, are banned by Catholic-sponsored health insurance. “We have the same objection to male sterilization as to the female variety,” Doerflinger says.” (Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)


  18. PatGreen says:

    “free exercise of religion”

    That must apply to people whose religion has no problem with contaceptives, as well.

    For someone to force their religious beliefs on someone whose beliefs have no problem with contraception would be a violation of their First Amendment rights, in accordance with the above phrase.

    When a church or any other employer is willing to help fund insurance policies that include all Rxs other than birth control pills, there is no other answer than that entity is forcing an employee to honor the employer’s morality, but violating the employee’s rights.

  19. Yet another ridiculous letter. “Free BC” equates to reduced healthcare costs for everyone. Everyone will pay less, not more.
    The scream you hear is the self righteous wail of hypocrites.

  20. Pacman33 says:

    Apparently, if you are not a Democrat, or more generally, a person on the left side of the political spectrum, then you are not a woman who counts. Radical extremists like PatGreen are the ones denying women’s rights. According to Pat if women are religious or women in the position of an employer of self-insured organizations like religious hospitals and universities they aren’t entitled to their First Amendment’s right to ‘free exercise’ of religion and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    The left won’t rest until they secularize everything, including religion itself.

  21. For all of the rest of you, except Kardy and her many new alts., here is some very telling information from the article Kardy referred to only as BuffaloNews.com without giving the full link. (Because she has given this same link before under different names used on these blogs).

    Catholic institutions here cover birth control
    Updated: February 10, 2012, 11:03 AM

    “In Western New York, that means prominent Catholic institutions such as Baker Victory Services, Catholic Charities of Buffalo and St. Bonaventure University have been providing prescription birth control coverage for employees for nearly a decade.”

    “In many cases, there was no other choice but to comply under protest,” said Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the New York Conference of Catholic Bishops. “None of it is voluntary. It is all under duress.”

    PLEASE NOTE THE WORDS “It is all under duress.” Meaning that The Catholic Church was FORCED to adopt someone else’s OPPRESSIVE beliefs. Not the other way around. Is it OKAY if you FORCE your BELIEFS on someone else?

    The article goes on to say:

    “To sidestep contraception coverage, Catholic institutions in New York would have to drop prescription drug coverage altogether — an even more untenable alternative, Poust said. “That goes against our deeply held beliefs as well,” he said. “What we’ve been living with for the past 10 years is now what the Obama administration is seeking to foist on the national population.”

    PLEASE NOTE: The Catholic Church was given only two bad choices and FORCED to choose one of the other UNDER OPPRESSIVE DURESS. And the following:

    “Catholic Charities of Buffalo officials declined to be interviewed for this article. But in a prepared statement, the agency said it complies “under protest” with the state law and includes coverage of contraceptive drugs or devices in its health plan for 493 employees.”

    PLEASE NOTE the words: “UNDER PROTEST” as they must comply with the OPPRESSIVE anti-religious rules FORCED upon them by New York law.

    As I have said in other Birth Control topics, THE ONLY entity being FORCED to do anything imposed on them by OPPRESSIVE beliefs is The Catholic Church which is having its First Amendment Rights violated. No one else is being FORCED to do anything, even in those instances where a church organization is not required to pay for employees birth control.

    Read more about it at:


    I don’t know about any of the rest of you, because I am NOT the blog monitor, and I haven’t appointed myself to anything, but this is the LAST TIME I intend to respond to any comments posted by Kardy’s new monikers, which are: PatGreen, yearofthewoman and MaryEllen2. There may be more, but I am going to completely ignore those. The rest of you can deal with him, er HER however you want to. Just remember, anyone who will constantly LIE about who they are will lie about anything and everything else. He, er SHE, has proven that much time and time again on these blogs.

  22. PatGreen says:

    Someone is really off their rocker here.

  23. “‘We’ve always had contraceptive birth control included in our health care benefits,” said Michelle Michaud, a labor and delivery nurse at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Calif. “It’s something that we’ve come to expect for ourselves and our family.’

    Dominican is part of the Catholic Healthcare West System. A spokeswoman for the 40-hospital chain confirmed that it has offered the benefits since 1997.”


  24. PatGreen says:

    Watch out, Tuddo. You’ll be three or four other people for providing proof of something. Someone really goes overboard on these discussions.

    For the wacko that went looney because I quoted the Buffalo online newspaper:

    The issue – requiring Catholic-based organizations other than churches who provide health insurance to their workers to cover birth control and even abortion costs.

    It has already been the law in New York since 2002 that Catholic organizations provide this kind of coverage.


    Now does that make me the Queen of England? I probably shouldn’t bait obviously mental people this way. I hear they will start stalking you online when they are really obsessed.

  25. islandernwly says:

    If you actually listened to what Sandra Flukes was testifying about, you would have realize it was the issue that employees at Georgetown University get contraception coverage and students who are required to buy health insurance are not covered. And quite frankly anyone that wants to be an employer plays by the same rules regardless whether they are church affiliated or not. Now if they don’t believe-in thats the way its played, and they did agree to it or they would not have a University that hires people from different religions and ethnic backgrounds. Only The Catholic Church has as their primary purpose, the inculcation of religious values, not the Universities, not the hospitals, or other institutions run by the Catholic Church. Thats your 1st Amendment Right.

  26. tuddo, That was a good article. Thanks for the link. I have no problem with anything reported in it, because I don’t believe I ever said on these blogs that there were no organizations under the umbrella of The Catholic Church that currently or previously provided birth control of contraception benefits to employees. Check me on that, and if I ever wrote that, please be sure to let me know when and where.

    BTW, how does it feel to have the new female Kardy as your fangirl?

  27. LornaDoone says:

    William Acker:

    Just the point that you use the Limbaughesque’ term “Obamacare”, tells us that you are not very educated on the subject matter. There is only one reason that free birth control was issued – which is actually paid for by insurance companies, by the way – and that reason is that the Catholic Church complained.

  28. Ahem. Checking in.

    muckibr says:
    March 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm
    “yearofthewoman, There has been NO PROOF whatsoever, shown on any of these TNT blogs that The Catholic Church has been providing paid birth control for the past 10 years, much less the last 10 seconds.”

    muckibr says:
    March 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm
    “You gave yourself away AGAIN with the 10 year thing about The Catholic Church, and quoting the same source from Buffalo New York.”

    Now in one breath someone says there has been “no proof whatsoever” and in the next breath he says “the same thing about the Catholic Church”

    Hmmm….which time did muckibr lie?

    Again, muckibr, I’m too busy with this recording I’m working on, but it seems that you can find someone to be me while I’m tied up with my work. Remind me, who was I over the weekend? I forgot. You pulled some doozies either Saturday or Sunday, but I was too tired to comment.

    Do you think I’m the only person that can google “catholic church paid employees birth control” and get the Buffalo News? I know when I first googled it to make you look foolish, it was the number one response. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m thinking that “Pat Green” (male or female, who cares?) isn’t dumb and can probably google and read.

    Why do you lie that it’s never been posted when I posted it three or four times back when you had your meltdown because your statements about the Catholic Church were proven wrong?

    You need to come to the reality that you are really putting on quite a show and I’m sure that these women (and some men from what I see) aren’t really impressed with you.

    I’ll keep checking in late like this to see what destruction you’ve done for yourself. It’s a great laugh after a long day with the headphones.

  29. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Fluke is a professional activist. She has pushed for employers to pay for sex chance operations (link at drudge). She is 30, far enough from puberty to know how to get cheap BC. Instead of being used as a tool for the left, she should have printed fliers with directions to free clinics.

    This is a non-issue fabricated to keep the conversation off of BHOs failures and back on social topics.

  30. dlockner says:

    Catholics…huh …go figure. They want to spread their empire. Hence, viagra yes…Birth control no. The conservatives use this group for votes and couldn’t care less about the issue itself. For them it is all about being in power. This country is polarized. That means the electorate is likely to be split into two equal opposites. If you can polarize an electorate you only have to influence the votes of a few percentage points. That can be accomplished by casting a hook in the rivers of single issue voters. While real issues for the entire nation languish we are distracted by the fight for the minds of the mindless. This page is an example. We face Israel attacking Iran in a few weeks…and global economic collapse in a few years. And what does everyone want to discuss? A private issue between a woman and her doctor that is nobody else’s business. Insurance should pay for BC because it saves money. The rest is religion sticking it’s nose where it’s not welcomed by a majority. Sometimes i think i am the only one who remembers the Inquisition.

  31. dlockner says:

    One last note: Where does anyone get the idea that BC is free? The cost is paid by the insurers. The insurers are paid by the members which can be individuals, business’s and their employee’s. All of the cost of everything is the result of labor generating profits. This may be a free country but nothing in it is free. The religious argument should be shouted down because it represents the minority and because this is not a religious issue…it is a personal issue and a health issue. It is an issue between a woman and her conscience with her Doctor. Not between a woman and her boss.

  32. dlockner says:

    Your comments are a good representation of why people like you shouldn’t be in charge. You are welcome to your narrow and religious view. You might want to notice that Rick Santorum and his type are un-electable because they don’t represent the majority view. Nobody is making anyone take BC. If you don’t use it you are not contributing to it. I can imagine that there are many things provided by insurance companies that only a few will ever receive but we will all pay for. The rates are based on use. That is what insurance is… a pool. What the bishops and their allies want is the right to impose their beliefs on others who do not share them. And those others represent the majority. You stand that argument on its head. I would thank you not to put words in my mouth nor twist their meaning or attempt to insult me. You would just be wasting our time. I wonder if you know how to have a discussion or if you only join in to practice your desire to exert your personal bias without doing anything to advance the discussion.

  33. dlockner says:

    By the way: This is a secular nation. Any bishop who takes a political stand should be stripped of their tax free status.

  34. dlockner says:

    The rest of the tax base has to make up for religious properties being removed from the tax rolls. Not only is that welfare, it is asking me to support something against my secular beliefs. The church is getting the better deal, dollar wise. This position taken by the church and its allies is actually harming the churches standing in the larger community.

  35. rooster_02 says:

    Yawn……the letter writer ignoring the facts and getting support from the desperate. What’s new?

  36. dlockner says:

    You need to try again if you want to make sense.

  37. ……. and somebody else’s wallet.

    Ideologues oftentimes can only see the short term effect rather than the overview (I guess it is hard to see with all that knee-jerking going on). Providing contraception reduces medical costs by an average of $100/year for every employee. It reduces the benefits that insurers are obliged to pay.

    This is a non-issue being claimed as a defense of the freedom of religious expression (still) even though the Obama response removed the Church-owned businesses from the equation.

  38. dlockner says:

    Nice to see words of logic and reason. The ill prepared and irrational are more common. ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ is the term which describes what occurs when an individuals belief system collides with reality. The conflict leads to the individual creating a false reality that does not conflict with the belief system.

  39. alindasue says:

    bobcat1a said, “ANY doctor prescribed pharmaceutical should be covered by all prescription drug plans. Unless the companies want to describe them as “some drugs at our discretion” plans.”

    I’ve had several occasions over the years when our insurance chose not to cover medications a doctor prescribed for myself or one of my children. The most common reason is that there is an over-the-counter equivalent available and they won’t pay for drugs that are also available without a prescription.

    I have yet to find an insurance plan yet that wasn’t a “some drugs at our discretion” plan of one type or another.

  40. pantomancer says:

    For the record, Ms. Fluke wasn’t “testifying”.

    She spoke at a press conference staged to look like a congressional hearing.

  41. If a doctor prescribes it after a medical exam, and there’s no over the counter equivalent, then insurance should cover it with or without a copay. Period. Sorry but this is an issue where 51% of the population’s health is affected. It will cost insurance companies so much more if they don’t cover oral contraceptive pills and have to pay for various surgeries,treatments, pregnancies, and resulting kids.

  42. menopaws says:

    Some insurance policies cover Viagra—-so, if we tolerate that, why are women being assaulted over coverage for the things that will protect them from the men who take Viagra?????

  43. islandernwly says:

    pantomancer- Sorry I left out that she was testifying before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. But nice try anyway.

  44. PatGreen says:

    The lies and misrepresentations continue.

  45. PatGreen says:

    “Fluke is a professional activist. She has pushed for employers to pay for sex chance operations (link at drudge).”

    Well if it’s on Drudge, you know it has to be true.

    Fluke is part of a women’s support group on the campus that deals with women’s health care issues. There is no proof that she is paid for that work, thus calling her “professional” is sort of like the “prostitute” label bestowed by Limbaugh. Many insurance companies and government health care programs pay for sex changes. They are sophisticated enough to know that it is a medical/mental issue, not a night out at the local dance club.

  46. Ccingthr,
    RE: other reasons to take the pill: see my fyi response to Pac33.

    It is the NON-disabled who barred from having sex with those disabled people who are unable to give informed consent. (I learned this in the guardianship class I had to take to become the guardian of a special needs adult.)

    I suppose the anti-abortion evangelicals are not trying to force their views onto the prochoice majority?

    Any church has the right to exert its authority and beliefs over its members.
    No church has the right to exert its authority and beliefs over non-members.

    And not to nitpick but the question is should the Catholic owned businesses and organizations offer health insurance that covers BIRTH CONTROL.

    Your other factual error is that the President order was that those health plans that offer drug coverage must include birth control pills with no special additional charges.

    ReadNLearn – many feel that you should have earned a Darwin Award.

  47. xring, just for you, here is where I refute your comment that my “other factual error is that the President order was that those health plans that offer drug coverage must include birth control pills with no special additional charges

    I made NO FACTUAL ERRORS. Here is the proof:

    “The new compromise is that religious employers themselves will have no responsibility to either pay for this coverage or to communicate with employees about it; instead, those burdens will shift to insurance companies, at no additional cost to consumers.”


    You see where it says “at no additional cost to consumers.”? Can you see that xring? Pretty FACTUAL statement, ya think?

  48. Pacman33 says:

    beerBoy ignorantly spews –
    “This is a non-issue being claimed as a defense of the freedom of religious expression (still) even though the Obama response removed the Church-owned businesses from the equation.”

    Obama’s “response” is a distinction without a difference–an accounting gimmick that will still leave religious institutions footing the bill for services they find morally objectionable. Obama’s “response” doesn’t even pretend to provide an out for self-insured religious institutions, which happens to be more than 3/4 of them.

    Putting the obligation on the insurer and not the employer doesn’t help much if they are the same person.

  49. beerBoy ignorantly spews

    Pacman emotionally mischaracterizes….

  50. bobcat1, Still waiting for the proof!

  51. Pacman33 says:

    beerBoy humorously replies –
    “Pacman emotionally mischaracterizes….”

    Isn’t it against the comment forum rules to use another’s signature routine against them or something …… especially when it’s funny?

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