Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Birth Control Mess

True or false: an ounce of prevention is worth about 7 lbs. 6 oz. of cure. Somewhere buried in the dust-up over contraception as a health benefit is the the claim that it pays for itself in economic terms. As a result, insurance companies "forced" to give it away will be like Br'er Rabbit hurled mercilessly into the briar patch. As will those Catholic institutions which, their hands clean of actually endorsing contraception, will have lower health insurance bills on account of the preventive benefits that the insurance companies with which they deal are compelled by Big Brother to provide.

So, in effect, The Church is willing to pay for its employees to eschew contraception; indeed, it will help them do so by not paying for contraception. But if an employee chooses to get it on her own, the Church will, presumably, receive the savings as the preventive benefits reduce the cost of the employer's insurance. Moreover, because using contraception saves money, the employee can get it at no charge from the insurance company - which will provide it at no charge only because it is also providing coverage to the employer. In a logical universe, that "only," not to mention the cash benefit, would somehow implicate the institution in the provision of the services. But, fortunately, we're not in a logical universe. We're in church.