What a 30-year old woman would never need

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I don’t always read FOXNews, but when I do, I’m usually glad I did.

When I spotted the headline Could possible misunderstanding on ObamaCare cloud Supreme Court deliberations?, I had just finished another article on the website that asserted, on the basis of absolutely nothing whatsoever:

The millionaires tax would only raise a bit more than $1 billion a year, but Obama hopes that if he can win re-election campaigning for that, he will have won a mandate for a tax proposal aimed at increasing the burden on the top quartile of earners.

So it wasn’t a stretch to imagine that the article on ObamaCare would attempt to lay the groundwork for claims of a mistrial should the plaintiffs fail to overturn the mandate. Turns out, the article was written to do exactly the opposite. Here’s the nut graf first paragraph:

A possible misunderstanding about President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul could cloud Supreme Court deliberations on its fate, leaving the impression that the law’s insurance requirement is more onerous than it actually is.

In other words, the justices may have misunderstood the health care law in a way that might make them more likely to unjustifiably strike it down. Not exactly an article I expected to read on a site run by the Fairest and Balancest of Them All. [Update: Discovered, thanks to a comment, the article to actually be an AP article in syndication. But at the very least, kudos to FOX for running it.]

The article’s argument turns on the ‘bronze plan’ – what it includes, and how it stacks up against existing catastrophic insurance plans. The article claims the plan makes the health plan’s mandate not quite as onerous as the Supreme Court justices may have been led to believe. Interesting. But I’m not here to address the main point of the article. I’m never here to address the main point of the article.

So let’s skip ahead to see what one lawyer representing the plaintiffs has to say:

“The bronze plan is not catastrophic coverage,” said Carvin, who represents the National Federation of Independent Business.

“It’s got all the minimum essential benefits in it,” he added. “It’s got to have wellness, preventive, contraceptives — all kinds of things a 30-year old would never need. It’s not remotely catastrophic.”

He didn’t speak in bold – I added it, obviously – but I’ll let that phrase speak for itself because I, too, cannot think of a single reason a 30-year-old might ever need contraceptives.

Taking suggestions in the comments.

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8 thoughts on “What a 30-year old woman would never need

  1. LOL. The point of the law is to some extent prevent the eventual development of the need for catastrophic care down the road by promoting ‘wellness, preventive’ at least at a minimum level. (Some conservative friends of mine think that somehow the subsidizing of this preventive care will result in people making even more reckless decisions about their personal health, but I’m skeptical of that. Going to the doctor for a yearly physical is going to make you less aware and more apathetic about your health? I don’t think so.)

    So I’m not sure that this point about Cadillac plans is a valid one; the idea was, at least in the parts of the transcript of the plaintiffs arguments I read, that forcing healthy young people to buy any wellness/preventive coverage that they don’t need (not just a Cadillac plan, not just something comparable to typical employer-provided plans) is an undue burden on young people. Now, even if that part is debatable – and I think basic coverage that allows me to pay just $20 for a typical doctor’s visit, though much more if bloodwork is involved, is absolutely ‘necessary’ even if the punditocracy doesn’t – the part about ‘contraceptives’ speaks for itself. If conservatives would advocate for liberalizing requirements for contraceptives and making it an over-the-counter drug, then maybe Carvin would have a point. Of course, that’s not the reality you and I are living in.
    Beyond all this, I think we can all agree that Verilli was certainly incompetent at oral arguments – even if I think he was right not to try to argue about red herrings like ‘bronze plans’. There are several articles that make the bounded case for the mandate pretty frikkin’ brilliantly. This is the best one by far:
    http://balkin.blogspot.com/2012/04/bounded-minimalist-way-to-uphold-aca.html

  2. LOL, so I’m not sure if my last comment got eaten by the Internet gods or is waiting in a cue somewhere, but in any case, two things:
    1) The premise of your blog post is wrong. This was an anonymous article by the Associated Press, which Fox News is syndicating. I guess you could give Fox credit for not dropping the article from syndication, but I’m not sure if legally speaking they’re allowed to cherrypick that way anyway, and regardless, the fact of the matter is, they had nothing to do with the content of this article. So don’t blame them – or credit them – for a word of it.
    2) The premise of the article, which focuses on Bronze plans, is wrong. There actually IS a catastrophic coverage plan for those under 30, distinct from the bronze plan, provided they can prove financial hardship. So the AP dropped the ball on this, giving Carvin a softball question inadvertently. That Verilli failed to point this out is now *inexcusable*. Following the fiasco in prosecuting the racist Arizona ID laws, he should be fired.
    More info on the above:
    http://xpostfactoid.blogspot.com/2012/04/attention-alito-roberts-scalia-aca-has.html

  3. Great article, I agree with all of it. I live in the UK and after our country got practically destroyed in the 2nd world war, our government gave us all free health care. The NHS is excellent, because it saves lives, we also have private health care plans that many companies give us, as part of our packages with them. The poor all get a doctor and have access to free medication. the quality of living in the UK is superb. All thanks to the NHS (National Health Service). http://www.TearMatt.com

  4. Shlomo

    The paragraph you quote at the end does not make sense to me. To prove that insurance is “catastrophic” you want to show that it does NOT cover common needs. The phrase “all kinds of things a 30-year old would never need” would make much more sense in context if the word “never” were omitted. Besides the grammatical improvement, that change would also remove the factual problem you mentioned involving contraceptives…

    • I think he said what he meant, so let me rephrase for him:

      The bronze plan is not catastrophic coverage because it must cover wellness, preventive and contraceptive medical care.

      That might very well be true – I have no idea – but what I’m commenting on is his assertion that these are things a 30 year old woman would never need.

      • Shlomo

        That’s my point – catastrophic coverage by definition only covers things a person is unlikely to need. He says that the plan covers contraception, and *therefore* it’s not catastrophic. All that makes sense. The phrase about 30 year olds contradicts everything that came before it, *and* it contradicts the facts. Since the phrase as it appears causes *two* big difficulties, both of which can be fixed with *one* small wording change, I prefer to believe that it was misquoted (or that the speaker messed up what he intended to say).

      • I read all of his statements as consistent. He is arguing that because the bronze plan must cover things 30 year old women do not need – such as contraceptives – it does not qualify as catastrophic.

        And he’s right: 30 year old women don’t need wellness, preventive, and contraceptive – they could always keep themselves healthy, check themselves, and abstain, which is why including coverage for those items in the bronze plan makes it comprehensive rather than catastrophic coverage.

        This is precisely the point he’s making. The article is pointing out that the bronze plan’s enormous deductibles (upwards of $3000) qualify it as catastrophic coverage. The attorney counters with disinterest in the size of the deductible, but instead wants to talk about what that deductible could theoretically be applied for: unnecessary items, such as contraceptives. Again, arguing that these items are not ‘necessary’ might be correct – but what I’m pointing out is his claim no 30 year old woman would ever need them.

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