What if one is faced with the introduction or more succinctly the mandated introduction of the notion: “free” contraceptive. Why “free”, at what cost “free”, and does “free” mean transfer, and does “free” change outcomes?
Appearing in US Today 02/09/2012 was a story Birth control mandate stirs debate . The authors of the story refer to "free" contraceptives no less than three times in the essay and not once examine the fact that nothing is "free". Not once is there a reference that all economic propositions have an associated cost and an associated opportunity cost. Hence the authors proudly carry the politico dupery banner of "free". (1)
“What I tell you three times is true.” - The Hunting of the Snark.
“Free" contraceptives morphed today, in that, the religious employer e.g. catholic hospital can opt out of the coverage but the insurer must supply "free" contraceptives at the employee-insured’s request. Who is paying for the free lunch? In this case the cost of "free" is borne directly or indirectly by the employer and other premium payers. Hence nothing changed. Same exact song, different beat. (2)
Further, the concept mentioned above is being framed as, no, the employer doesn't pay directly or indirectly nor are other premium payers paying for the "free" contraceptive because (fasten your seat belt) the insurance company is paying for the “free” contraceptives. Hmmmmm.
Upon further review, Catholic hospital C opts out of the contraceptive provision, however insurer Y must offer the “free” item directly to the employee-insured. One knows for a fact that “free” cannot exist hence the cost associated with “free” contraceptive is passed onto all parties [the catholic hospital being one of those parties] by insurer Y.
Moreover, Catholic hospital worker E pays for the “free” contraceptive as C experiences a premium increase from Y associated with furnishing “free” and E’s potential total compensation is effected either by a reduction in compensation, an increase in employee health-care contributions, or lower benefits in the form of higher deductibles or co-insurance. Even if C attempts to pass on the cost to health-care consumer X then X’s health-care bills increase and insurer Y has to raise premiums to compensate for additional expense and keep reserve requirements healthy hence back to E we go with Y’s increase in cost.
“The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else.” - Frederic Bastiat, French economist, 1850
Assume for a moment that one agrees with the logic that "the insurance company" pays and hence the contraceptives are free. Then why stop at contraceptives? Shouldn't every last health-care item be furnished “free” as we merely have "the insurance company" furnish the items for free?
“The fact the compromise had not been proposed earlier angered the president, who felt let down by his staff, officials said. Obama waded into the details of the dispute himself this week and personally crafted the solution, according to a Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.” (2)
Ah, the political dupery was challenged and hence political nitwitery was introduced! Very nice.
“Under the new plan, administration officials believe insurers will comply for free because the coverage may not actually cost them anything. Evidence suggests that providing birth control coverage reduces overall costs for health plans because birth control is much cheaper than pregnancy, according to administration officials and some health industry analysts.” (3)
Hence “free” really does exist because politicos tell you so.
If one where to ponder the notional proposition that “…administration officials believe insurers will comply for free because the coverage may not actually cost them anything. Evidence suggests that providing birth control coverage reduces overall costs for health plans because birth control is much cheaper than pregnancy…” one would need to consider present circumstances and known-knowns, unknown-knowns, and unknown-unknowns:
(1) The cost of “free” is a known cost,
(2) Contraceptives are widely available at modest cost yet unwanted pregnancies occur,
(3) The assumption is that the cost of “free” substituted for the cost of widely available at modest cost, the transfer of cost thereof causes a different outcome,
(4) The different outcome is an assumption that unwanted pregnancy is reduced although the same cost exists, the same population exists, the same wants and needs exist, yet a transfer of cost causes outcomes to change.
However, if offering “free” contraceptive causes free to be free via the proposition of “…administration officials believe insurers will comply for free because the coverage may not actually cost them anything. Evidence suggests that providing birth control coverage reduces overall costs for health plans because birth control is much cheaper than pregnancy…” then should not all health-care be free as the cost to produce X is offset by Y hence no cost exists and hence all is “free”. In other words why is anyone paying a premium of any sort as every last health-care item should be free as cost X is offset by the cost savings of outcome Y?
Therefore, a known cost is transferred and “transfer” is a magically, mystically procedure that creates outcomes of a much better variety which cancels out the cost. Hence we arrive at “free”.
We end as we began: Politico Dupery, Under Politico Nitwitery, and in Government Mysticism We Trust.
(2) http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/newsworldnation/949794-227/obama-accommodates- religious-groups-changes-birth-control.html