I was reading this Michael Bérubé post from May and thinking of writing something about the falseness of the idea that there are hermetically sealed “economic” and “cultural” issues, when along comes an Institute of Medicine recommendation that Affordable Care Act plans ought to cover contraceptives:
The recommendations came in a report submitted to Ms. Sebelius by the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The new health care law says insurers must cover “preventive health services” and cannot charge for them. Ms. Sebelius will decide on a minimum package of essential health benefits, and her decision will not require further action by Congress.
The panel said insurers should be forbidden to charge co-payments for contraceptives and other preventive services because even small charges could deter their use. The recommendation would not help women without insurance.
Right on. And a nice, small example of why whatever disgruntlements people have with President Obama, they shouldn’t slight the Affordable Care Act too much. Free birth control for low income women is not nothing, and it’s not the only thing in the preventive services package either. Meanwhile, naturally “the Roman Catholic Church raised strenuous objections.” But you have a pretty seamless web here between social and cultural liberation and practical economic betterment. Taking human equality seriously requires that useful preventative treatments be broadly available, and taking human equality seriously also requires taking contraceptives seriously as a species of preventative medical treatment.