I’m trying to parse the Bishop’s statement on contraception and it sounds like they’re going to keep fighting, and it also looks like they just found the bold button in Word and decided to take it out for a spin:
These changes require careful moral analysis, and moreover, appear subject to some measure of change. But we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection for key stakeholders—for self-insured religious employers; for religious and secular for-profit employers; for secular non-profit employers; for religious insurers; and for individuals—is unacceptable and must be corrected. And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer’s plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.
On that payment part, reader J sent a link to this report [pdf] from the Guttmacher Institute that adds to the common sense notion that it’s cheaper to prevent pregnancy than pay for childbirth. Some highlights:
- “[E]very dollar invested by the government for contraception saves $3.74 in Medicaid expenditures for pregnancy-related care related to births from unintended pregnancies. In total, the services provided at publicly funded family planning clinics resulted in a net savings of $5.1 billion in 2008. Significantly, these savings do not account for any of the broader health, social or economic benefits to women and families from contraceptive services and supplies, and the ability to time, space and prepare for pregnancies.”
- “Some studies have looked at cost-savings for private insurers specifically. Notably, the federal government, the nation’s largest employer, reported that it experienced no increase in costs at all after Congress required coverage of contraceptives for federal employees in 1998. A 2000 study by the National Business Group on Health, a membership group for large private- and public-sector employers to address their health policy concerns, estimated that it costs employers 15–17% more to not provide contraceptive coverage in employee health plans than to provide such coverage, after accounting for both the direct medical costs of pregnancy and indirect costs such as employee absence and reduced productivity. Mercer, the employee benefits consulting firm, conducted a similar analysis that year and also concluded that contraceptive coverage should be cost-saving for employers.”
In other words, the worry about employee premiums going to finance contraception is ass-backwards. The real question for the Bishops is where they think the money is going to come from to finance the non-coverage of contraception. Are they going to sell some altar furniture or downsize their rectories? I have a serious financial concern here.