Wednesday, April 11, 2012

further discussion of the "birth control" debate

Ultimately, I wish that issues regarding our sexuality were never politicized.  Unfortunately we live in a world where everything is politicized, including behaviors and beliefs that are essential to our humanness, spirituality and sex.  Because we live in a political world, and because this is an issue that ultimately deals with our sexuality, I do believe that the overtly political discussion of the ongoing debate about birth control and insurance coverage is appropriate for this blog.

It seems to me that this is an ugly debate, as it touches issues that are deeply felt by everyone.  When discussing issues like economics and morality, we are inherently on unstable footing, all of us.  Despite our personal assurance that many individuals feel, that their faith is the one true faith, that sad truth is that nobody really knows what's on ther "other side", or even if there is an "other side".

Any debate that sets people up for desperate opposition based upon their personal sense of money & morality is a debate that can rupture friendships. So what am I doing, but telling both sides they are wrong.  It's an uncomfortable position to be in, were it not for the fact that some close friends who truly understand my reasons and motivations for entering this debate telling me that these things need to be said.

Here's an excerpt from correspondence with a dear friend, who is both a wonderful woman and very much a progressive, posted here with her permission:
 I work in a hospital, and provide a service that is self pay- I've noticed a glimmer of burgeoning interest of the concept of preventative health care- which the insurance companies don't like, because they want everyone in America tethered to some form of exspensive ongoing test, treatment, pill...I've had clients on the verge of having back, neck or shoulder surgery who have recovered and been able to manage their pain with lifestyle changes like exercises and diet- many people who have had joint replacement who otherwise would have suffered from diabetes or heart disease because of their limited mobility are living vital active lives. Based on my experience, trying to fund our current health care system is untenable- for instance let's say you have pretty good insurance- go to your GP because you have a stiff neck and shoulder pain and headaches...a few vicoden scripts, some harrowing trips to a orthopedist, maybe a neurologist, and several MRI's and thousands of dollars later you're on a cornucopia of drugs that further inhibit your ability to function, and there is no answer or diagnoses... our best customers in the Physical Therapy clinic are Europeans who swear by "physio therapy" because in Europe they treat the causes of structural imbalance before they turn into chronic issues only marginally treatable by surgery or drugs. It seems like the whole system is geared to allowing the un or underinsured to suffer sub-par care, while turning the insured into immobilised zombies. Part of the reason I love my job so much, is that I get to offer people affordable, sustainable relief that is outside the current paradigm of out neurotic approach to health care. So yeah, that's what everyone should be thinking about, not the paper tiger of the free birth control issue- you are totally right that it all obscures the real challenges of health care reform. 
That's so very well said I simply had to bring the perspective to this debate.

Also, because I'm less than completely enamored with the way comments are navigated around and shown by blogger, I'm going to include a comment made in regard to my last post on this topic, as well as my response, which I've further embellished . . .
I think that the problem is that Viagra has been covered by insurances for awhile and birth control is not always covered. I don't think any of it should be free but if one is going to be covered the other definitely needs to be. Seems just a little sexist. Also the cost of no birth control coverage is awfully high for everyone involved. Respectfully, DJ
Thanks for the comment DJ! :)

The state I live in long ago mandated that birth control be covered, and I've have no quarrel with such a mandate. I should have been more clear about that in my essay. If there is a medical necessity for birth control, then I see no problem with insurance covering it.

My big problem is the demand that birth control be available free, which is the strident position of the liberals. The thing is - a fair co-pay for birth control would be similar to the co-pay senior citizens pay under Medicare Part D for their blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes drugs - $15 to $45 dollars - and that's already the average cost of birth control pills according to Planned Parenthood . . .

Involving insurance in the equation simply adds an extra middle man and more cost for everybody!!!

As for the cost of no birth control coverage being too high, I think that is a false argument. For starters, condoms are cheap and effective, and they also come with the side benefit of preventing the spread of many sexual diseases. Seriously, it's not that hard to "wrap that rascal"!

More focus on condoms (as opposed to hormone based drugs) is cost effective and also is a public health boon - so once again the birth control debate is the wrong discussion at the wrong time . . .

When it comes down to insurance coverage for Viagra, I don't personally agree that it should be covered by insurance, but dragging erectile dysfunctional pills into the debate is false logic. If you have a problem with Viagra being covered by insurance, fight that, don't use it as justification for other drugs to be covered.

Furthermore . . .

My ex lied about back pain (counselled by doctor) to get her breast reduction surgery - all paid for by insurance. I'm not upset that breast reduction surgery is covered for women but not for men . . . men get saggy breasts too ya know - but if I went to my doc and asked for a surgical solution - I'd be laughed out of the office!

"Tit for tat" arguments are false logic, it's apples and oranges in a way, and it forwards the agenda of people who wish to stress the differences between sexes, who have a stake in the so called "battle of the sexes".

I've got news for folks there too, smart people, real progressives, now realize that the gender wars were also a distraction forwarded by individuals with real agendas against the so called opposite sex. Gender isn't a polarity, it's a spectrum. There aren't two genders, as there are varied forms of gender expression, and people can change their so called "gender" today.

If you are a member of Fetlife, for instance, you already know that there are more than two available choices for gender . . .

So, for my way of thinking, any argument that's men vs women is inherently archaic, not to mention elitist. It assumes that there are only two gender roles that are available and/or appropriate. People who are progressive and educated in terms of gender roles know that limiting ourselves to only two choices for sex expression leaves huge numbers out of the conversation.

Rather than focusing on the difference between women and men, I believe we should embrace our own unique sexual individuality, just as some Eastern belief systems stress that dual nature within each of us, the yin and the yang.  We are all human, and what we share is the human experience, not the male or female experience . . .


  1. oh my! there is certainly a debate raging in the US. I don't pretend to understand all the shades of the health system in the US, however let me say just one thing..the obvious. Health Care insurers are business'. "They" are not in it for health care, for making people better. NOOOO they are in it for MAKING MONEY. Just as the private hospital and insurance system can bet your bottom dollar that short sharp and shiney surgeries are covered, but try and gain admission for an ongoing, protracted, chronic condition (eg Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and you will be discouraged from private hospital addmission in a variety of ways.

    Please! Viagra covered-interesting to see the stats on the population usage for that one..hmmm wealthier older men? Stats on the usage of birth control...hmm women..young, middle and all the way up to menopause?..THAT would cost the insurance companies a bomb.

    It's economics that drives the health care debate not the touchy feely stuff about health and the moral rights of 'health for all' and the Ottawa charter. Debates about healthy populations are driven in this country by the fact that by 2020 the health dollar will not cover health costs. ALL public monies will be eaten by healthcare by 2020. There is therefore a massive shift in focus from reactive health care (mending the back and diabetes) to preventative strategies and hospital avoidence systems.

    A final thought, by 2025 there will be 300 million Type 2 diabetes sufferers in the world. So! Start right, Eat right! Walk and decrease fats and sugar intake and portion sizes..hmm I wonder what area of work I am anchored in.

    Apologies Michael for the lengthy comment and many thanks for the opportunity to make it.


    1. "Debates about healthy populations are driven in this country by the fact that by 2020 the health dollar will not cover health costs. ALL public monies will be eaten by healthcare by 2020. There is therefore a massive shift in focus from reactive health care (mending the back and diabetes) to preventative strategies and hospital avoidence system"

      Good point!. . In Canada the health care insurance passes out a hand-book on staying health or getting healthy. It includes a lot of information from first aid to tips for dealing with common minor illnesses like colds, and flues. The focus is in staying out of doctor offices and hospitals.

      The hospitals were then freed to become more specialized in specific areas. Walk-in clinics were established so there are ready to serve anyone. You will see these walk-in clinics everywhere; some in strip malls, others in any building of choice and inside of mega-malls. No appointments needed, they take up a lot of people who would otherwise be taking time and space in the emergency room. This way the emergency responders have better access as well.

  2. Thank you for the wonderful comment little one!

    No apologies necessary for the length of your comment, you are always welcome to speak your mind here!


  3. Howdy! I know you and My girl have been conversing of late, and she told me I should come read your latest I did. I usually try to keep my politics on facebook and save everywhere else from the insanity, but I guess I can make an exception this one time. :)

    Let me begin by saying I identify myself as an independent, but I have no choice but to lean far left because of the raving lunacy of the current republican party. I happen to be very progressive in certain areas and conservative in others, you know, like a sane, rational person who doesn't join one party or the other and subscribe to every single rant they hear like it's Jesus himself, shouting glorious revelations from a mountain top. My wife always tells everyone that I'm disliked by many because I'm terribly misunderstood. She's probably spot on. I have a yearning, nay a lust for justice and fairness. Naturally, it's my version of what those things are, but I like to think I have pretty good judgment. Like everyone though, I have my agenda and it surely clouds my melon from time to time. I could probably write 40 pages here on my thoughts about the subject at hand, but I'm hoping one day we'll meet you folks in person and we can talk instead. It would be much easier on my keyboard, especially if you piss me off! :P My poor keyboard has been through a lot... (They're not manufactured anymore, but the Keytronic KT-2000 is a beast. I wholeheartedly recommend it.) I usual.

    All I really want to say here is that while I agree with most of what you've said, to me, the real issue behind this and a vast majority of other issues, either real or perceived, is unfettered greed, hiding behind and protected by one evil word...capitalism. As long as our government is owned and run by corporations, we'll continue to be polarized and argue about everything, whether it's a real issue or not. I appreciate that you're an organizer and have worked in politics, and I respect that a lot, but it also tells me that you believe in the system. I'm far too cynical to believe in anything about this country anymore. The American way having turned into nothing but a lust for money makes me sick. Listening to people, especially politicians, openly declare that America is the best country in the world for no other reason than it's where they live makes me nauseous. Worshiping dirt like Jesus himself took a dump on it, just because a person is born there, is about as rational as thinking your language is the one true world language because it's the only one you care to learn. The term "American exceptionalism" makes me wanna puke. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate America, I just don't think it's better than a lot of other countries "just because".


  4. Like I said, I agree with most of what you have to say (which is a nice change of pace for me), but as long as idiots in DC are arguing about birth control, at least they're not arguing about which country to bomb next and how to reap the most profit from it without conscience, like the health insurance industry has been doing from day one. The birth control issue is not the issue at all, it's the entire "health insurance" industry, allowed, nay encouraged to take people's hard earned money and then kill them in the name of shareholder profits...and capitalism. Sickening.

    I will be voting for Obama again, like I did four years ago, because he's 1000 times better than the other option, but I just can't get enthused about it anymore. Get someone like Bernie Sanders or Al Franken on the ticket and they might be able to lie enough to light a spark under me again, but I have no doubt that it would be gone within a matter of months of their inauguration.

    P.S. Despite this rambling, long-winded comment, I'm actually a pretty happy-go-lucky dude!

    P.P.S. My wife just said perhaps it was a mistake sending me here. Hahaha, it's all good. Tell me I'm wrong and I suck if you like, I can take it. :)

  5. For starters assure, your wife it was no mistake sending you here, you and I will get along just fine. I'm opinionated myself, so I happen to enjoy opinionated people.

    And . .

    I don't think you are wrong Master Dream, in fact we are in agreement about most things. I had a promising future ahead of me in politics if I would have been willing to be a good boy and go along to get along, but I can't stomach the corporatocracy, I couldn't bear to go off to Springfield or Des Moines and just be a party yes man.

    Like you, I'll vote for Obama, but it won't be with any enthusiasm. The first time I met Barack was 1997, I met him at a news conference in Chicago I'd helped organize about universal health care.

    I've watched a lot of men change under the pressures of holding public office. he's changed less than some but more than others. No man gets elected in these days of big monied campaigns without selling at least a little of their soul . . .

    I actually greatly appreciate your comments, and would like to thank you for the time you took in making them, as well as your willingness to break your personal rule about venues for political discussion. I believe that both my readers and myself will benefit from the added perspective!


  6. The best part of my comment was, it really had very little to do with the topic at hand! That's what happens when I ramble on and get fired up over politics. I should prolly stick to writing know, like republican speeches. :)


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