A minor political storm emerged over the ruling of the Department of HHS regarding the mandatory inclusion of certain reproductive services in health insurance. Obamacare has made the HHS Secretary the final arbiter of many things in health care including what health insurance plans must cover so this is likely the first of many such mini-storms.
Much of the ensuring public discussion has veered off on tangents which while being perhaps of interest and worthy of discourse per se miss the main point here.
Now to the main issue here .
Those in control of health insurance, which since Obamacare was passed is the HHS Department who answers to the President and is seeming beyond any appellate measure, are not really concerned with the arguments over the particulars of their latest dictum which is only one of very many to come .They do not care so long as those who disagree concede the legitimacy of the power of the central government to make those dictates in the first place.
In fact they may relish the furor over the details of this particular ruling as long the anger is not focused on the legitimacy of the governments authority in this regard. At least they relish it as long as the political fall out seem minor and controllable although it is not clear that is either at this juncture.
Much, if not most, of the outcry have focused on a "battle" between the administration and the Catholic church, or on an alleged great unfulfilled need of women to have access to birth control which they say should not be left to the caprice of employers .Folks who make that latter argument seems clueless as to the obvious caprice of the HHS decisions.
So the major issue is should the government have that power to decide what we must pay for in our health insurance . However, frighteningly, it may get worse that that. This idea is expressed in the following quote from Dr. Richard Fogoros's blog The Covert Rationing Blog .
DrRich has pointed out many times that the real battle we will face as Obamacare is being rolled out is the battle over whether American citizens will retain individual freedom sufficient to be permitted to spend their own money on their own healthcare. Indeed, DrRich has written a series of posts that spells all this out in painful detail. If you need to know why limiting individual prerogatives is so critically important to Progressives, and why Obamacare must be the vehicle for establishing these limitations, simply read the first post in that series.
I see it this way; Once we loose the battle over whether the government has the legitimate power and authority to dictate what health care must contain,it is a short jog down the road for a government with that power to determine what health care may not consist of even if paid for by the patient herself. Could that happen? It happened in Canada. Must it happen? It did not happen in Great Britain?
I hope DrRich's and my fears are wasted and individual freedom will persist in this regard. However, when I see some of the reaction to the latest Obamacare dictum and people are talking about things like whether the Catholic Church ought to modernize its archaic views or the sudden mysterious shortage of birth control methods which must be alleviated by the government while there is so little commentary on the fundamental issue (should the government have that power in the first place),my worry titer goes back up.