One of Mitt Romney’s over-paid hacks weighs in on the politics of health care for women:
I don’t think it’s very controversial to suggest that a candidate who favors gay marriage and free contraception might have more appeal to a younger demographic. Does anyone want to argue that free contraception is seen as a more pressing issue to your average 21-year-old than to a 55-year-old voter…
Conservatives and media have successfully framed the preventive care provisions in the health care law as wholly about “free contraception” which is both inaccurate and insulting to the people who supported the health care law. I get that birth control makes these these super-savvy professionals snicker, but let’s review the facts, what actually happened.
Birth control is one of a long list of preventive care provisions that are covered without additional out-of-pocket costs in the health care law. That was a policy decision. It’s bigger than birth control. It comes from an idea about health care, an approach to health care. Here’s just part of that long list. I chose these randomly:
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm one-time screening for men of specified ages who have ever smoked
Alcohol Misuse screening and counseling
Colorectal Cancer screening for adults over 50
Depression screening for adults
Type 2 Diabetes screening for adults with high blood pressure
Tobacco Use screening for all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users
Anemia screening on a routine basis for pregnant women
BRCA counseling about genetic testing for women at higher risk
Breast Cancer Mammography screenings every 1 to 2 years for women over 40
Breast Cancer Chemoprevention counseling for women at higher risk
Breastfeeding comprehensive support and counseling from trained providers, as well as access to breastfeeding supplies, for pregnant and nursing women*
Contraception: Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, not including abortifacient drugs*
Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60 depending on risk factors
Tobacco Use screening and interventions for all women, and expanded counseling for pregnant tobacco users
Hearing screening for all newborns
Height, Weight and Body Mass Index measurements for children
Immunization vaccines for children from birth to age 18
Oral Health risk assessment for young children
Previously, preventive services for women had been recommended one-by-one or as part of guidelines targeted at men as well. As such, the HHS directed the independent Institute of Medicine to, for the first time ever, conduct a scientific review and provide recommendations on specific preventive measures that meet women’s unique health needs and help keep women healthy. HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) used the IOM report issued July 19, when developing the guidelines that are being issued today. The IOM’s report relied on independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts to make these determinations based on scientific evidence.
It was only after this policy decision that media and conservatives went batshit crazy and started babbling senselessly about sluts and aspirin. You’ll also recall that the conventional wisdom was that the policy decision on birth control would harm Obama politically. They took what was a sensible, physician-recommended policy decision and turned it into a political disaster… for Republicans. Obama didn’t do that, and the people who support the health care law didn’t do that. Media and conservatives did that. We all sat here and watched, first in horror and then with a kind of wonder.
Incredibly, they’re still doing it, with this wholly gratuitous smirking about young women voting for “free contraception.” Look at that long list of covered services. If young women were voting on “free” birth control, were older women voting on “free” osteoporosis screening and mammograms or were some other women voting on a “free” breast milk pump? There’s really no reason to treat this issue, or these voters, with so much disdain. I said this over and again in response to the conservative attempts to stop (some) people from voting, but it still continues to amaze me that there is a US political Party who firmly believe hectoring voters is a viable path to success.