Publicly funded birth control saves public money

A public investment of $235 million in helping the poorest women in America access birth control would save the public $1.32 billion, according to the Brookings Institution.


    1. Give me a break. They have control all along. The issue is who pays for it.

      (ETA to avoid confusion – my statement below is to fill in the gaps for people that don’t have insurance, esp. if Obama-care fizzles out.)

      Let there be free birth control for all, so I have less people trying to steal my car in the future (I hope to have a nice one within 18 years). A state sponsored program would be fine. Condoms have been free from various places for years.

      1. “just don’t make churches pay for it if they don’t agree with it”

        I don’t believe anyone is trying to do that.

        What they’re trying to do is ensure that insurance companies /continue/ to pay for stuff that people are paying them to pay for.

        But, you know. Whatever. Just continue confuse the issue in your own mind if it makes you feel better.

        1.  Not confusing issues – just saying we can have both. I think there should be free gov. sponsored contraceptives to fill in the gaps that already exist in health insurance (and probably will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.) It’s one thing that saves lots of money down the road in many different areas.

          1. Um, except your church comment is 100% false, and a huge straw man.  So why bring it up except to ruffle feathers?

          2. They were up in arms about the whole thing. Remember? Then the compromised was just that the insurance company would cover everything.

            Anyway – that comment has been removed to make things simpler.

          3. No one was forcing CHURCHES to pay for birth control; they were trying to mandate that INSURANCE COMPANIES pay for birth control, including insurance programs for employees of Catholic hospitals (which are NOT churches, and many of their employees are NOT Catholic; a hospital is not a church).

            You keep using GOP talking points, and it’s clear you understand this particular part of the debate as well as they do (which is to say, not at all).

            I know you’re ‘on our side’, but this sort of thing is not helping.

          4.  Evidently I am confused what all the hub-bub was about as well as the compromise – thus I edited the original post and I’ll drop that  point entirely.

        2. Jon, yes, they’re very precisely trying to do that.  Obama first proposed requiring it directly, and when he got spanked in the public opinion for interfering with the Catholic Church’s own decisions (even though pretty much everybody disagrees with the Church’s position), he proposed a “compromise” of requiring the insurance companies that the Church buys insurance from to provide birth control for “free”, i.e. to build it in to their price structure so they can’t sell plans that don’t include it.

          The only reason he’s able to avoid blame for it now is that Santorum and his idiot backer said offensive things about it and Rush Limbaugh jumped in and went way over the top.  Obama probably could have predicted some politically useful reaction from Santorum, which is why he was doing this during the election season, but probably couldn’t have predicted how lucky he was going to get.  (After all, the contraception argument really is about women’s freedom to decide about having sex, which the patriarchists don’t like.) 

      2. What are you talking about?  The HHS mandate is about insurance policies providing contraceptives.  Women pay for their health insurance.  This is not a “free” government program that’s taking anyone’s tax money or whatever.

        1.  The HHS mandate is very specifically about the insurance companies that the Catholic Church uses for its employees, and about requiring them to provide “free” birth control because the Church doesn’t want to pay for it and because Obama got spanked for proposing to require that the church buy insurance that does provide birth control. 

          Any political disussion that only has two sides is pretty trivial; this one has many different layers to it.  I think the Church is deeply wrong here (and so do 98% of married American Catholics), but Obama’s interference in a religious institution’s decisions is also wrong and upset a lot of people, and his “make them provide it ‘free'” “compromise” was just disingenuous (because businesses don’t do things for free, they build it in to their price structure), Santorum’s reaction to it was offensive but unsurprising if you’ve been watching him, and Limbaugh’s abuse of Sandra Fluke was way over the top, even for him.  And while I’d say “bravo” to the advertisers dropping Limbaugh, he’s advocated enough radically offensive policies over the years, like wars and torture, that nobody should have been advertising with him anyway.

      3. Condoms are not 100% effective, and many women prefer the comfort of additional birth control.

        Not to mention that while they are “free from various places” you still need to know where those places are, and then have the transportation to get there regularly.

        Plus, some men refuse to wear condoms (it’d be nice if some women weren’t in abusive relationships, or rather, it’d be nice if men weren’t abusive, but the world isn’t nice).

        And, there are latex allergies (and non-latex condoms are expensive and hard to find); I have a mild one, myself, which makes sex very uncomfortable. I can use higher-end condoms, but it’s cheaper for me to just take the pill, since condoms break, or you have to use a new one every time the penis becomes flacid, or whatever. Condoms get expensive quickly, just as expensive as my monthly pill, if not more so.

        And, finally, hormonal birth control is used for other medical reasons.

        “They have control all along.”

        Have you been following all the anti-choice legislation across the states over the last couple years?  That control is dwindling, and fast, especially for those who are poor.

        Insurance should cover birth control, just like they do other needed medication. To not do so is an attempt to control reproductive choice.

        1. I hear a lot of  “if this – if that”.  You won’t find any solution to cover every scenario.  The pill is much less effective than condoms for birth control, especially when you factor in how often women do not properly use the pill.  Condoms prevent disease and are cheap. They are a great tool.

          And for the record – I am all for the pill being supplied by both public assistance for the poor and via health care insurance.

          re: “They have control all along.”

          Thus far no one is preventing women from getting the pill – though there may not be cheap/easy ways for them to get it. (If I am wrong on that, let me know.) Nothing is preventing them from using condoms or offering a BJ. Thus my statement is they have had control all along.

          1. “You won’t find any solution to cover every scenario.”

            Uh, no shit, but I made some very valid points, and you can’t really respond except to say “er, you made some points!  Everyone makes points!”  Really?

            Regarding the effectiveness of condoms vs. the pill, the pill is actually more effective, but it depends on how accurately it is being used.  It’s STILL more effective than condoms, though:

            Plus, many women “double up” — using condoms and the pill.  This is a great way to make sure you are protected.

            “Condoms prevent disease and are cheap.”Please.  I was spending at least $30/month on condoms before my bf and I stopped using them and I got on the pill instead.  We had to use the higher-end condoms, and order them online, because of my allergy.

            And, once again, not all men will use condoms.

            “Thus far no one is preventing women from getting the pill”

            If a woman cannot afford to pay for the prescription, ALONG WITH the exams that go with it, then they are prevented from getting the pill. That’s how it works.

            “Nothing is preventing them from using condoms or offering a BJ.”

            As I’ve already gone through, condoms are not always the best option. And really, BJ’s? REALLY? Wow. I can’t believe you essentially pulled the, “Well! Just don’t have sex argument!” which is basically what that boils down to. Fucking ridiculous.

            My points are valid, even if you aren’t willing to listen to them.

            Again, I know you’re “on our side”, but you’re not helping.

          2. “Nothing is preventing them from using condoms or offering a BJ.”

            And REALLY?  I already outlined why condoms aren’t necessarily the best option for all women, but you chose to ignore those points.

            And, seriously?  BJ’s?  This basically boils down to, “Keep your legs closed, you whores!”  Abstinence and blow jobs are not the best option for the majority of adults in relationships.  Sex is very important to most people.  And humans are fucking horny animals.

            You keep using GOP talking points.  Stop it.

            Apparently my other comment got flagged for review, probably due to a link I provided.  So make sure to check for that, as it includes some important information regarding the effectiveness of various birth control options (yes, the pill is more effective than condoms).

          3. re: “This basically boils down to,”

            Yeesh – you’re taking one route and really extrapolating it to “keep your legs closed.” You list several scenarios where a condom isn’t realistic. I am just saying some times something other than intercourse is the most realistic (like no protection at all at the time.) Condoms are more realistic in some cases than pills and vise versa (like a hook up vs relationship).

            And I just saw/read something that if the pill is used perfectly it edges out the condom (IIRC), but that so many women skip a pill or don’t take it at a consistent time that they aren’t as protected. I believe it was in an article about the new IUDs (which sound like a pretty great thing, really).  If I’m utterly wrong on this, fine, but I think both provide good contraception.

          4. You’re not wrong, but my point is:  NONE OF THAT MATTERS.  Women should have the ability to choose what birth control works best for them, and health insurance should cover it.  Not to mention that many women use birth control for other reasons.  I use it for contraception, but it also evens out my periods, which is one reason (among many) that I prefer it over condoms while in a monogamous relationship (if I wasn’t in one, I’d still use both).

            Your points are (mostly) correct, but irrelevant.
            That said, telling women (and men) to “just not have sex!” is NEVER the answer.  It never, ever, ever, ever works. Ever.

      4. Condoms are contraception for men. But thanks for also making a case for sex education in schools.

      5.  Who’s trying to steal your car? Crime rates are low and the war on drugs was fabricated by the racist Goldwater in the 60s, then continued through in the 70s. See the Southern Strategy for more information.

  1. Did anybody else immediately flash back to the trial scene in THX 1138?

    “Economics must not dictate situations which are obviously religious.”

    This would be one of those times when I suspect that no degree of efficiency would be good enough, just as no level of cost overrun is sufficient to make a foreign policy of homicidal adventurism a bad plan…

      1. Bruce, those particular religi0us rules are only being forced on you if you or your spouse are working for the Catholic Church and want them to pay for your birth control. 

        What surprises me here is that birth control is expensive enough for it to matter – most of it’s just different doses of the same two hormones that have been off-patent for decades, so why isn’t it a $4/month generic like a hundred other drugs you can get at Walmart?  Ms.Fluke’s friend who had ovarian cysts is a different case – she obviously needed something a lot more specialized than the versions of the pill that were around when I was 20, but there’s no reason for the basic pill not to be cheap.

  2. A modest proposal: As there will always be those who believe that public money should not be spent on birth control, they have the option of paying for an equal percentage of the expenses.

    So, based on roughly 69 million tax-paying Americans, $3.50 of their tax bill goes to public birth control programs. A conscientious objector can choose to add $20 to their tax bill, which goes directly to public health services and reduces the public birth control budget by $3.50.

  3. The article and the reference do a really bad job at explaining what kinds of savings are expected for taxpayers. And it doesn’t account for qualitative effects which cannot simply be reduced to dollars.

    Anyways, this is yet another of intervention begetting more intervention. The solution is not to patch with more statism and control, but  to repeal the original bad measures.

    For instance, you socialize healthcare, then it is natural to promote healthy habits to citizens (whatever that means and regardless of individual preferences), you end up with food regulation, numerous prohibitions (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, relatively dangerous activities, and so on), and can logically end with forced exercise and diet. The solution is not to pile on further interventions, but fix the root of the problem (socialized healthcare created the dilemma) and return to voluntary association (as opposed to political coercion).

  4. A “public investment”, you say? Public investment comes from public funds. I am forced, on penalty of whatever awful consequence the IRS can dream up, to provide public funds. Therefore, I am forced to pay my small part of any public investment. Although in this case that investment might be beneficial by most people’s standards, it remains true that it would be forcing me, again on pain of the IRS’s ire, to buy birth control. A fairly significant part of the population objects to buying birth control, and although I don’t, I do object to being forced to do things, even if they’re obviously beneficial by most people’s standards.

    1. Do you pay your taxes?  You do?  Then guess what!  You pay for shit you don’t necessarily want to pay for ALL THE TIME.  And so does everyone else.  This isn’t anything new.

      You only hear people start to bitch when it has to do with OMG! SEX!

    2. Oh no, you pay taxes. Quick, go protest with the Tea Party and cry about the government.

      What’s the alternative? Taxes and public services are part of a well functioning society. We’ve known this centuries ago, literally. If you don’t like it, you can always check out countries in Africa.

  5. I’m shocked, Shocked I tell you, that prevention is better than cure. The GOP are big believers in old-time values, what about “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Benjamin Franklin put that in Poor Richard’s almanac.

    I get worried when basic math/public health concepts get swept aside by emotional philosophical positions.

  6. That would mean allowing people to enjoy themselves for free. THAT is the real reason behind restricting birth control, drugs on prescription and all the other programmes right-wingers object to.

  7. Okay. Let me start by saying I HATE Disqus and I can’t log in from work because of its stuid reliance on various fucked up scripts and things that our firewall doesn’t want.

    Having said that…

    If there was a 100% effective tasteless, odorless, hormone-free form of woman-controlled birth control that also stopped all STDs and cost pennies per use, the anti-woman forces in this country would do everything possible to make sure that it never saw the light of day.

    They hate women.
    They hate sex.
    They hate the idea of women having recreational sex.
    They hate the idea of recreational sex, period.

    Got it?

    I want to see a well-reasoned, properly-logically reduced argument that can refute the above.  But I won’t wait around too long for it as it’s not coming.

  8. It seems like this analysis from the Brookings Institution assumes that all people are equal at producing wealth and consuming resources.  To use an example close to the hearts of those who roam the internet, what if Steve Jobs had been preempted (prevented?)  by contraception?  Wouldn’t that have “cost” more than letting him be born?  I guess to be fair I should cite an example of someone who consumes disproportionately – can’t think of one off the top of my head.

    1. I’m not sure that’s correct. Steve Jobs was exceptional in many ways, but if you look at the history of science and technology, near-simultaneous invention is very common. Someone else would have had ideas that were comparable or better, probably within a few years or a decade. For example, consider that physicists around WWI admitted someone else would have come up with relativity within 10 or 20 more years. In fact, quantum field theorists accidentally re-discovered general relativity in the 1950’s.

      Yes, some people are more productive and inventive than others, by both nature and nurture. It does not follow that preventing unwanted births reduces invention. For one thing, someone whose 2 children are born after they are financially and emotionally stable will be more likely to see those kids succeed, than someone whose 5 children were born starting at age 16.

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