If it wasn’t for all those voters, we’d have won

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

Why did the administration include birth control?

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.

42 replies
  1. 1
    c u n d gulag says:

    “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…”

    Well, if you’re a 55 year-old male Conservative politician boffing the young female help in your office, then I’d say contraception is probably MORE important!

    After all, YOU’RE a respected Conservative politician, and a 21 year-old, is a 21 year-old – and probably never claimed any sort of great moral authority, like you have.

    I’m lookin’ at you, NEWT!!!

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    Kay, let them keep thinking this way.

    They are trying to win autocratic (or oligarchic) power in a democracy (or democratic republic).

    It just won’t work. You can’t base your appeal to govern on not-governing.

  3. 3
    MattF says:

    It’s hard to see how someone can write a sentence like that and then not read it over and think ‘Whoa, am I really that stupid?’

  4. 4
    Kay says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I’m so, so sick of the “free” birth control shit. How do they think women perceive that?

    They look at Sebelius and see a hippie? ? She’s the most boring, wonkish politician in the world, and I say that with a lot of respect.

  5. 5
    Short Bus Bully says:

    It all makes sense when you’re at a John Birch Society meeting. To anyone else? Not so much.

    This is what the Koch brothers have bought with their money, a reinvented GOP modeled on the vision their father created.

    Have fun with your new toy boys….

  6. 6
    Lurking Canadian says:

    This is of a piece with the 47% stuff. They genuinely think Obama cheated in the election by proposing policies the majority of the population supports. It gives him an unfair advantage.

  7. 7
    patroclus says:

    Rush Limbaugh set the standard for Republican positioning on this issue by calling Sandra Fluke a slut over and over again. Yeah, he backed off that word, but the Republicans are essentially arguing from the very same standpoint over a year later. Providing various birth control alternatives to women and condoms to guys is actually good public policy – it reduces unwanted pregnancies; thereby reducing abortions, children born-out-of-wedlock and all sorts of public expenditures that result from babies being born to parents who either didn’t really want them or can’t really take care of them.

    The Republicans haven’t changed at all on this issue; which most thought was largely settled decades ago.

  8. 8
    Ash Can says:

    Please proceed, GOP.

  9. 9
    David Hunt says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    After all, YOU’RE a respected Conservative politician, and a 21 year-old, is a 21 year-old – and probably never claimed any sort of great moral authority, like you have.

    Republicans don’t have to worry about this sort of problem. They just admit they were weak, invoke Jesus, and they’re forgiven. Democrats, all being commie atheists, don’t have that option.

    Or the short version: IOKIYAR

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    @Kay: I hear you. But if it’s that they don’t care and are happy to embrace their patriarchal identity with all the pre-historical thinking it entails, fine.

    We have to beat them in elections and drive them out of the political sphere. The best way to do that is not to lament the lack of a Bill Buckley to reign them in but to hope they go even more vocally crazy as fast as possible.

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Lurking Canadian:

    This is of a piece with the 47% stuff. They genuinely think Obama cheated in the election by proposing policies the majority of the population supports. It gives him an unfair advantage.

    Which is also of a piece with the Republican political strategy of the past 30 years, which is basically, “Distract people with shiny social issues so they don’t think about the real, genuine problems we need to deal with.”

    That’s why it’s so unfair for Obama to talk about the genuine problems we need to deal with — he’s changing the rules of the game! Teacher, make him stop!

  12. 12
    c u n d gulag says:

    @David Hunt:
    Yes, of course, you’re right.

    Just look at Newt and Vitter v. Spitzer and Weiner.

  13. 13
    Kay says:

    @BGinCHI:

    It’s all so silly. Here’s the woman “handing out free birth control” at …Woodstock or whatever:

    Born Kathleen Gilligan on May 15, 1948, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the daughter of former Ohio Governor John J. Gilligan. When Kathleen was elected Governor of Kansas, they became the first father-daughter governors in U.S. history.

  14. 14
    scav says:

    There’s a theme here, they’re (gooper elite) in a fine lather because those people aren’t behaving the way they have presupposed. and so the problem (to same gooper) clearly must be the people and not the presupposition or theory. quote from last night. “People aren’t repelled by the idea of limited government or balancing the budget or lowering taxes. Those Tea Party principles are incredibly popular with the public, even if they don’t know it.”. Media elite have been told so often they’re the gatekeepers, the shapers of public opinion that they get equally shocked when those people don’t conform to the media-defined shape. Detect obvious, I know, but They’ve got the math, the theories, the stats and, in their eyes, mere reality should conform to them. How long have they been going on about making reality?

  15. 15
    Percysowner says:

    As a 60 year old heterosexual woman, I have news for the GOP. I strongly support both gay marriage and no copays for birth control. I admit that I support no-copay birth control because I have a daughter and I want her and her female descendents to have the right to choose how many children they have. I know, I know the GOP believes that every person only cares for themselves and forget their children or grandchildren, but I DO care. And yes, I have a gay sister-in-law who I would like to be able to get married if that is what she wants.

    But aside from that, covering birth control and allowing people who love each other to get married is JUST PLAIN RIGHT. And strangely, I care about that as well.

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:

    Republicans hate abortion, single parenthood, and birth control. And most of all they hate the idea that other people get to decide about all three without consulting them.

  17. 17
    Cacti says:

    Where GOPers continue to miss the boat is…

    Unless you’re rich enough to belong to Mitt’s country club, family planning is an economic issue.

    Even planned pregnancies require significant time and expense, and the end result is the birth of a child who has to be fed, clothed, nurtured, and educated.

  18. 18
    Flying Squirrel Girl says:

    …it still continues to amaze me that there is a US political Party who firmly believe hectoring voters is a viable path to success.

    This tactic nets them no new voters, for the same reason that hectoring liberals nets no new voters. But they just can’t help themselves.

  19. 19
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Lurking Canadian:

    They genuinely think Obama cheated in the election by proposing policies the majority of the population supports. It gives him an unfair advantage.

    Well of course it gives him an unfair advantage…

    He APPEALED to a majority of the voters…

    How could that possibly be fair to Repubilicans?

  20. 20
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “it still continues to amaze me that there is a US political Party who firmly believe hectoring voters is a viable path to success.”

    But it’s not successful. Just reinforces that one political party is living in a reality bubble. May they continue to do so.

  21. 21
    Flying Squirrel Girl says:

    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?

    Likewise, weren’t rich people voting on the freebies Mitt and the other Republican candidates were promising them, like reduced taxes, no estate tax, repealing Obamacare, and zero corporate taxes?

    BTW, it still tickles me absolutely pink that the R’s thought they could make the PPACA unpalatable by attaching O’s name to it, inthe same way they did with “Hilarycare.” All they did was ensure that future generations will know exactly who to thank!

  22. 22
    kindness says:

    I might be an outlier but I don’t think conservatives have successfully framed the preventive care provisions in the health care law as wholly about “free contraception”. I mean, they scream bloody murder about it but I think only fellow teahaddists believe that as accurate. I think most people have no issue with birth control being part of ones medical care.

  23. 23
    Cacti says:

    I also got a chuckle from him listing 60-year old Bush family scion, Jeb as a GOP up and comer.

  24. 24
    IowaOldLady says:

    This just infuriates me. Among other things, it’s not “free.” It’s covered without co-pay by health insurance that the woman earns as part of her benefits package or buys on her own. No one is handing it out on the street corners.

  25. 25
    Kay says:

    @Percysowner:

    It’s funny because what was appealing to me was not that birth control coverage is so radical or progressive, not a big “statement”, but the opposite, the matter-of-fact way they approached it. “Here are these preventive services, and we’re including this one because we got it with all the others.” For once women weren’t cordoned off and then hijacked into taking sides in some big, abstract battle. The practical concerns came first, prior to the Seating of the Wise Men Roundtables.

  26. 26
    gene108 says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Weiner’s a Jew and won’t abandon his Jew god to seek forgiveness in Christ. Not sure Spitzer’s religion, but it is not a double standard.

    Christians can be redeemed and foregiven, the Jews can’t.

  27. 27
    gene108 says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Weiner’s a Jew and won’t abandon his Jew god to seek forgiveness in Christ. Not sure Spitzer’s religion, but it is not a double standard.

    Christians can be redeemed and foregiven, the Jews can’t.

  28. 28
    quannlace says:

    If it wasn’t for all those voters, we’d have won

    All those slutty voters

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @quannlace: That wasn’t in any of the Scooby-do episodes that I remember.

  30. 30
    RedKitten says:

    It really makes me think that unconsciously (or not), right wingers want poor people to die. They don’t want them to get free birth control, don’t want them having kids if they can’t afford them, and don’t want them to have inexpensive healthcare, don’t want social programs. What do they think is going to HAPPEN to these kids if they get their way? Do they genuinely think that poor people are going to just collectively stop breeding and die out, because some right-wing scolds told them to stop having babies if they don’t have tens of thousands of dollars lying around for medical bills?

  31. 31
    Paul in KY says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I can only think that they assume their sheeple or useful idiots will breed enough kids (who they will have indoctrinated well) who will then overcome (at the ballot box, aided by cheating when possible) us effette, liberal gaywads & our brown minions.

    That’s the only way to logically look at their strategery, IMO.

  32. 32
    Paul in KY says:

    @RedKitten: They think they will turn to a life of crime, will be caught & thrown into a prison (which the Repubs will have stock in) for good.

  33. 33
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RedKitten:

    It really makes me think that unconsciously (or not), right wingers want poor people to die.

    You might be going a step too far. I think it is more that the are indifferent to what happens to poor people than the that they actually wish them harm. But then I am a charitable sort of guy.

  34. 34
    Capri says:

    One very odd thing about how the birth control debate is framed, is that if you listened to Republicans talk about it, you’d think that only young, single, co-eds use birth control. 90% of the families with less than 4 kids use birth control – literally for decades. Your average soccer mom isn’t supporting some feminist ideal when she backs treating birth control like every other medical issue. She’s ON IT herself. She can’t be “peeled off” or “wedged away” on this one. It’s a huge part of her life.

  35. 35
    Jay C says:

    It’s no surprise conservatives (and their media enablers) would keep on harping on the contraception issue as part of their ongoing jihad against “Obamacare” – they’re desperate to find something to dump on, and most of the preventative-care stuff is pretty uncontroversial. Sex always sells, though, and, lame/wrong as it may be, “Slutty sluts getting free birth-control on YOUR dime!!” is a lot catchier as an outrage-generator than, say, osteoporosis testing. And The Outrage is always the prime motivator…

  36. 36
    chrome agnomen says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    i dunno. it think a lot of them do want the poor to die. but that’s ok; i want those rich to live the rest of their lives as the poor, but, barring that, i’m fine with them dying ASAP

  37. 37
    'Niques says:

    Not to mention, GOPers really, really hate the thought of women controlling their own bodies. They want to go back to the days of sex whenever, with whomever, they choose. That’s why they keep mucking with the definition of rape. Women aren’t supposed to HAVE sex lives. We’re supposed to give in to their manly desires.

  38. 38
    cckids says:

    @Cacti:

    Unless you’re rich enough to belong to Mitt’s country club, family planning is an economic issue.

    For the vast majority of the country, it is THE economic issue, whether people acknowledge the reality of that or not. Having an unplanned pregnancy is the single biggest financial decision most people make.

  39. 39
    Tlazolteotl says:

    Well, something that is also of interest to the over 50s, the law also covers colon cancer screening with no copay. Also covered is if they remove some polyps during the exam – that used to get charged separately and was not covered as “routine screening.” Now it is.

  40. 40
    Michele C says:

    Maybe they don’t know that women *are* voters? And, they can’t imagine any man not agreeing with their weird women bashing, so they end up not knowing they’re alienating voters?

  41. 41
    Phoenix_rising says:

    Busy day at work, but I’m going to throw this onto the fire:

    All your examples of things that insurance policies must cover are on a list of tests and medications that insurance companies must cover, and why do we need such a list?

    Because in the absence of requirements, some states would allow JesusCare, sold through your church, covering only prayer meeting and anti-venom for snake-handling accidents, to be called ‘health coverage’. Because health insurance is a racket and regulatory capture in the sector is all but complete.

    So why isn’t the lead story the fact that insurance companies are such weasels that you have to tell them to cover basic preventive care, or else?

  42. 42
    fuckwit says:

    It’s amazing that the gender aspets of this issue don’t get more attention.

    Sure, attacking medical care is attacking not just women but children and the elderly and anyone with a disability. But many of the attacks on health care are attacks on women– not just the contraception stuff, but in general.

    First of all, um, pregnancy is a preexisting condition. It also requires a good deal of medical care, and carries with it the potential of complications, some of which can be fatal. So, right there’s a good reason why women care a lot about medical coverage.

    Then of course, women outlive men. So when the repthugs attack the elderly, they are attacking elderly women disproportionately, because women make up greater than 50% portion of the elderly. Also, some common diseases of aging, such as osteoporsis, tend to affect women more, genetically.

    Oh, and breast cancer is among the most (alarmingly!) common forms of cancer, and, with good medical care, is among the most survivable, too. Men don’t have to worry about that, but women do.

    Women still do a disproportionate amount of the childcare in this country still, so attacks on medical care for children are attacks on women as well.

    So all this anti-healthcare bullshit is so much Big-Dicked Rich White Galtian Macho Men pretending they are immortal and don’t give a shit about anyone who isn’t as macho and self-bootstrappy as them.

    There’s another, more sinister aspect to this too, one that I find most disturbing about almost all of the right-wing mindset.

    If the State isn’t going to take care of people who need it, then who is?

    Hmm?

    Who’s going to do it?

    Why… the Big Dicked Galtian Macho Men, of course! And their churches! For a price, or rather should I say, a Devil’s Bargain. Just put on a burka and they’ll be happy to take care of all your needs. The Church will be there to embrace you… and to touch you inappropriately, because you have no other choice but to pretend it isn’t happening. That’s what I see lurking behind so much of the anti-government, anti-healthcare, right-wing propaganda.

    Maybe not every one of these guys is coming from that kind of sinister angle– maybe they’re just oblivious to their own level of privilege–, but it’s worth bringing the implications out into the light.

    In every case where libtards and glibertarians and galtians and teabaggers and Very Serious People all agree that the size of the “state” needs to be shrunk, please, please consider who fills that vacuum, and how much dictatorial power they can claim as a result of it.

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