During the Senate hearing on the implementation of Obamacare on Tuesday, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) eloquently shot down one of the favorite talking points of the TEApublicans in opposition to the law.
As witnessed by Representative Renee Elmers (R-NC) who snarkily asked Kathleen Sebelius if she had ever heard of a man giving birth during the House hearing last week on the subject, the TEApublicans have latched onto the idea that maternity care as one of the ten essential coverages required in a policy under the new law is somehow unfair to men.
Of course the argument is totally without merit. While a single man may not need it, when he marries it could conceivably be an important thing to have. It is also a very inconsequential provision, the impact on any single policy holder would be minimal as the cost would be spread over all policies issued by the company.
It is also nothing new. Almost without exception any policy that one may buy for any kind of insurance is going to contain coverage for something that one may need. Policies are seldom individually tailored for a specific customer, they are created to cover a broad range of customers needs.
On Tuesday Harkin compared the value of such a provision to the value of public education saying:
“Now, I must say there was a story the other day in the paper about somebody who said, “Now I got — I have to take this policy that covers maternity care. My wife and I are not having more children. Why should I have to have a policy that covers maternity care?” I got to thinking about that. I thought, you know what? Maybe because my wife and I do not have any more children and they are grown up, maybe I should not have to pay property taxes to pay for my local schools. Huh? Why should I worry about it? Maybe only people who have kids going to the public school should pay for it. We are better than that in this country. We are talking about being part of our society. It is to our benefit, my wife and I, to support our local schools because that is our next generation, we want them well taught. Same with health care. It is a values system.
Of course the argument will hold no sway with those who are opposed to the law, they are after all the same people who also think that it is wrong to force them to pay for the education of the children of others. We have all heard them, they insist that it is wrong that they should have to continue to pay for schools after their children have grown and graduated. They are the same people who would deny anyone who does not own their home and rents, from voting in school board and budget elections “because they don’t pay property taxes.” They seem to think that the landlord does not factor the taxes into the equation when calculating the rent.
There is nothing unfair in requiring that all health insurance policies cover maternity care and no one has explained why any better than Senator Harkin did.
Watch his comments below.
h/t: Think Progress