Michigan regains lead in “Worst Legislature in the Country” Award….

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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279 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Nob, you just don’t understand the true meaning of freedom.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    This is stunning. Arizona had the top seed for a reason.Report

  3. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    I don’t want to excuse this heinous and possibly uncondtitutional law in any way, but in the interest of clarification, it looks to me like it applies only to plans offered through the American Health Benefit Exchange, so it doesn’t appear to apply to all plans. Text of bill.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

      James, this section 2 of the bill:

      (2) An expense-incurred hospital, medical, or surgical policy or certificate delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state and a health maintenance organization group or individual contract offered outside of an American health benefit exchange shall not provide coverage for elective abortions except by an optional rider for which an additional premium has been paid by the purchaser.

      The bolded part seems to indicate that the scope is wider than the exchanges. But I ain’t no lawyer and legalese is confusing.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        except by an optional rider for which an additional premium has been paid by the purchaser.

        It seems to me that this is quite a loophole, here.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        I not at all certain understand the bill, but what you’re calling a loophole is actually the purpose of the law, which is to make abortion coverage an intentional and explicit add-on to insurance plans and policies. basic plans will by default include no such coverage.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Stillwater says:

        Stillwater,

        OK, i may have misread that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        Oh, sorry. People were arguing that stuff was being “prohibited”.Report

      • Jaybird,

        I do wonder if the price of a premium would exceed the price of the abortion so that effectively, insuring the procedure in any meaningful way is prohibited. That’s just a guess on my part.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

        Stuff IS begin prohibited, @jaybird . Insurance companies are prohibited from offering basic plans which cover abortion. They are being required to charge an additional fee for that coverage.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        I suppose that I’m used to seeing “prohibited” used differently.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

        It’d be helpful if you explained how. Also, if you articulated what you actualky thought and felt instead of playing games.Report

      • Jaybird,

        To date insurers have been allowed to cover abortion as part of a basic policy. Now they will not be allowed to cover abortion as a basic policy.

        If they are not now “prohibited” from covering abortion in a basic policy, then perhaps you can explain to us what “prohibited” means in Jaybird’s world? Because I’m pretty sure that down here we’re using its normal meaning.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        I’m used to seeing “prohibited” in the sense of “use of marijuana is prohibited” which will result in stuff like jail time.

        Colorado, by contrast, allows the use of marijuana for medicinal reasons and, now, personal intoxication reasons if you grow it yourself. If someone said that marijuana was prohibited in Colorado and I gave a list of circumstances under which you could legally buy it and smoke it and be stoned by it and the answer came “well, it’s prohibited if you’re under 17”, I’d say that they originally used the word “prohibited” the way that I’d use the word “regulated”.

        As for my deeper point, it remains what it was above (er, below):

        If you agree that this is an area that not only falls under the jurisdiction of the law but is something that *OUGHT* to be legislated, you really shouldn’t be surprised when a law comes out using entirely different moral assumptions.Report

      • Jaybird,

        I’m allowed to drive 70 on the freeway, but not on city streets. If I said I was prohibited from driving 70 on city streets wound you be arguing my use of “prohibited”?

        A liquor store can sell liquor before 2 a.m., but not after that. Would you quibble with my claim that liquor stores are prohibited from selling liquor after 2 a.m.?

        Nobody here has argued that insurers in Michigan are prohibited from selling insurance that covers abortion. We’ve only said they’re prohibited from including abortion coverage in a basic plan.

        That’s why your analogy doesn’t work–you’re applying the term “prohibited” far more broadly than anyone has used it here. And since everyone here, I think, has been quite specific and narrow in their claim if prohibition, it’s on you go justify using it differently than we have, then critique that way if using it.

        Or are you actually going to argue that activities not allowed under certain conditions are not in fact prohibited under certain conditions? Because I have to admit that seems an incomprehensible position to me.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        If it turns out that someone in this thread said “You do realize this is a piece of legislation specifically prohibiting ALL health insurance plans from covering abortion even in cases of rape and incest, right?”, would that change anything? Anything at all?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        If it doesn’t (and why would it?), I suppose we get to go back to discussions of inclusion of certain procedures as part of basic insurance coverage versus having those procedures only available as part of supplemental insurance and the degree to which this is analogous to slavery.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        Haysus Buttfishing Crisco, Jaybird. You yourself read the text and figured out that a person could buy the optional rider. at which point you might have just said “The prohibition is limited to basic plans,” and you would have looked like the smart guy in the room making an important clarification. Instead you end up giving the impression you think there’s no prohibition at all, and with your marijuana example giving the impression that you can’t distinguish between a generalized prohibition and a case-specific prohibition, and, well, at that point you don’t look like the smart guy in the room.

        I guess if that’s the way you like to do things, that’s your value.Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Stillwater says:

        Y’know, on balance I think this is a bad law (at least on the understanding that it affects coverage that’s sold outside the exchanges and thus not subsidized), but I think that some folks are really over-reacting. Assuming this stays in place, I think you’ll find that health plans in Michigan will make it extremely easy to get that extra coverage, so much so that the only real effect of it will be that just the folks who want abortion coverage will be paying for abortion coverage. Is that really so bad?

        Note that I’m personally pro-choice and wouldn’t push for anything like this, but I do understand why people who find it to be a horrible moral wrong would want to do everything they could to avoid having their own money support it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        I suppose I have one more question:

        Did basic insurance plans cover abortion prior to this?

        If this is a law that is preventing something that had never happened prior to the law being passed, I think that that would give additional color to what is going on here. (It’d certainly make the comparison to slavery worth exploring further.)

        If basic plans did not, in fact, cover this, I find myself wondering about such things as measurable numbers and what percentage of abortions were in response to rape versus such things as sex selection or whathaveyou.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

        No one compared this law to slavery. I compared logic that says “If people want this, legislators are right to pursue it,” to other scenarios wherein majority rule would have been used to restrict other people’s freedoms. Like slavery. Do try to be a little intellectually honest, please.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        So you weren’t comparing it to slavery, but to the thought processes that lead to things like slavery?

        Well, for what it’s worth, I think that the thought processes that lead to things like slavery are bad and we need fewer of them.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

        Then I suggest you avoid employing it, especially if your primary focus is to snark.

        Yet again, we could waste far fewer words if you just clearly said what you actually thought. Your games are getting really tired.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot9 in reply to Stillwater says:

        Yeah JB, you have heard this a million times from a variety of people across the spectrum in a variety of debates. Maybe its finally time to reconsider your rhetorical and logical style a bit.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        I admit to finding this somewhat confounding.

        Are we in agreement that someone who says “slavery was really popular until the government started meddling” wasn’t necessarily trying to invoke a comparison to slavery and that it’d be dishonest to argue as if they were?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Are we in agreement that someone who says “slavery was really popular until the government started meddling” wasn’t necessarily trying to invoke a comparison to slavery and that it’d be dishonest to argue as if they were?

        The person who invoked slavery wasn’t saying “slavery was really popular until the government started meddling”. He was saying, by way of analogy, that popular support isn’t sufficient for good law.

        Also, to confuse the point kazzy was actually making, by way of mentioning slavery, reminds me of James H’s Buchanan joke that made a point about his fascism by way of analogy to Tia Tequila’s miniskirt. Lots of people missed that one too. It happens.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater says:

        Personally, I find this hilarious:
        I compared logic that says “If people want this, legislators are right to pursue it,” to other scenarios wherein majority rule would have been used to restrict other people’s freedoms. Like slavery. Do try to be a little intellectually honest, please.

        I could call that loaded language, an appeal to emotion . . .
        Or I could say that abortive riders in insurance contracts was a trans-Altantic trade carried on primarily by Dutch & Portuguese traders; that much of trade & estate for roughly half the United States was founded, directly or indirectly, on abortive riders in insurance contracts; etc.

        Not even remotely related to slavery. Never was.

        Take it from a guy that uses analogies a lot.
        Sometimes they are a lot more limited that you’d like them to be.Report

  4. Avatar Will H. says:

    The market can sort it out.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Will H. says:

      Explain.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Invisible hand of the market, etc.
        The insurance companies should be able to produce a profit, even with this latest instance of governmental interference in their self-determination.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Will, I’m not sure it’s the insurers’ profitibility that folks are worried about.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        I’m aware of that.
        And I’m aware the Left is likely upset that they missed out on an opportunity to violate someone’s religious principles.
        But I think this is a fantastic piece of problem resolution.
        There’s no specific exception for faith-based institutions like what caused all the hub-bub last year (or whenever it was), so I don’t see them as having much room to complain.
        Problem resolved. Nothing to look at here.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        How is a private insurer covering abortion as part of their basic package a violation of religious principles?Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Good question.
        And the answer is: It isn’t; at least, not until faith-based organizations are required to comply with this same regulation, in which case it falls within the law of agency.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        OK, you’re just leaving me all confused as to what you’re talking about, so I’m just going to back away slowly.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        So the invisible hand of the market can repeal bad laws too?

        It’s even better than I thought!Report

      • You do realize this is a piece of legislation specifically prohibiting ALL health insurance plans from covering abortion even in cases of rape and incest, right?

        It’s more faith based institutions pushing THEIR agenda onto everyone else, and forcing women to specifically buy an additional rider/insurance to cover cases of rape.

        Hence why it’s called “rape insurance”.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Why should women who aren’t going to be raped have to subsidize women who are?Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Terribly sorry for the confusion; and I mean that sincerely, because I understand that you & Jason approach this from a stance of robust negative liberties rather than the typical Leftist positive liberty stance.

        In law*, “agency” is to act on behalf of another.
        Say, were I to seek an injunction against you to keep you (either permanently or temporarily) from saying that you didn’t understand what I was referring to in the comments section of a blog, I would seek:

        . . . injunctive relief to enjoin and restrain Mr. Aitch, his agents, servants, and employees, from commenting, etc.

        Many of the inchoate, or preparatory, offenses (attempt, misprision, conspiracy, etc.) are grounded in the law of agency.
        Not wholly unrelated are concepts of capacity of suit. A person can be liable in official capacity as an agent where no individual liability attaches. Conversely, a person may be held individually liable where no agency attaches.
        Case in point: C.C. v. Roadrunner Trucking, Inc., 823 F.Supp. 913 (D. Utah 1993). The motor carrier was not responsible for the truck driver that raped the 15-yr old girl, because this did not fall within his ordinary job duties, and the company had an established policy, with a history of enforcement, against carrying unauthorized passengers, which the driver had signed. (Certain statutory provisions would have permitted liability against the carrier were the vehicles leased from another company, or if they were licensed for passenger transportation.)
        btw, this is a lot of the reason I believe David Eckert’s recent suit against the City of Deming for invasive cavity searches has a greater than 90% likelihood of dismissal at the summary judgment stage. As authority: Mills v. Rogers, 457 U.S. 291 (1982), and directly on point, Sherouse v. Ratchner, 573 F.3d 1055 (10th Cir. 2009).

        To return to the topic of the OP:
        Roe v. Wade itself states quite explicitly:

        The privacy right involved, therefore, cannot be said to be absolute.

        Anyone who would claim that this is solely a matter of the right of self-determination of the woman hasn’t read that case, and the extensive history that it steps through.

        The contours of the right of privacy are fairly narrow.
        I would point you to Oliverson v. West Valley City, a suit challenging Utah’s adultery statute, for a discussion of that one. (The case is actually about a West Valley City police officer who molested several of the scouts in his charge, then filed suit following termination of employment.)

        * No, I’m not a lawyer, I’m a paralegal student**; and were this work done for a client, I wouldn’t say two words about it.
        ** One very much looking forward to his internship in September.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        First you were talking about the market, then religuous freedom, now about abortion not being an absolute right. I don’t want to be an ass, but I’m no closer to understanding your original point.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @jason-kuznicki :
        So the invisible hand of the market can repeal bad laws too?
        I’ve never thought of it that way, but I suppose it can, though indirectly; provided elections are to be understood as a marketplace.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @jm3z-aitch :
        First… the market, then [religious] freedom, now about abortion not being an absolute right.
        A re-ordering of arguments may well be appropriate.
        First came Roe v. Wade, and the privacy interests on which that decision was grounded were determined not to be absolute. See also Whalen v. Roe*.

        Then the to-do about Sandra Fluke. The issue of whether faith-based organizations may be compelled through their agents to violate tenets of their faith was largely disregarded in favor of the big newsflash that Rush Limbaugh is, in fact, an ass. But that was what was at issue, without regard to any further commentary on the matter.

        Now, the market-based solution.

        I like it.
        I think it works.
        Problem solved.

        Supplementary insurance is permitted (perhaps even encouraged), where compulsory coverage is prohibited: which was my preference all along. Somewhat.
        I don’t think we ever had that long talk about what the basic minimum of coverage a person actually has a right to, testing the floor of the baseline.

        * This seems rather quaint in retrospect. From 1976:

        The constitutional question presented is whether the State of New York may record, in a centralized computer file, the names and addresses of all persons who have obtained, pursuant to a doctor’s prescription, certain drugs for which there is both a lawful and an unlawful market.

        What a laugh!Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Supplementary insurance is permitted (perhaps even encouraged), where compulsory coverage is prohibited:

        No, you’ve mis-stated it. It’s not just that the state is compelling coverage. It’s that it’s prohibiting coverage as part of a basic package.

        That is, an insurer cannot say, “et’s throw in abortion coverage as part of a basic package that we offer, because we think people will want it.” That’s against the law. That’s no more more market-based than mandating that they do include it in basic coverage.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Let’s put it this way. If government mandates anti-lock brakes on all cars, that’s not a market solution, but if they prohibit making anti-lock brakes standard equipment, and require that automakers only offer them as an option, that’s not a market solution, either.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        I know it.
        It’s the same as exempting flood insurance from homeowners’ plans except by specific provisions.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        In fact, if offering abortion coverage would save money (because it’s cheaper to cover than pregnancy and childbirth), the insurer is prohibited from minimizing their costs.

        Go, conservative belief in free markets!

        This is nothing new, of course. There was a ballot proposition here in 1996 to cap attorney’s contingency fees at 15%, and our local right-wing talk radio pundits had no problem with the government interfering with contracts between people they disapproved of.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @will-h

        So first you say it’s a pro-market solution, now you agree it’s not.

        Are you just yanking my chain today, or are you drinking heavily? Either one’s ok by me, but I’m just curious.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @mike-schilling,

        The two best cover stories conservatives ever came up with is that they’re pro-markets and pro-individual liberty.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        But we get no credit for the honesty we display when we say screw both of them.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @jm3z-aitch :
        are you drinking heavily?
        No, but that’s a good idea.
        You find some of that sometimes on the internet.

        I think your view of what constitutes a market-based solution is unduly narrow.
        This just carves out a separate market; that’s all.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        @mike-schilling :
        That’s actually a horrible idea; capping contingency fees.
        Plaintiff firms are set up differently than defense firms, to be able to incur costs over a period of time without repayment.
        There are certain types of cases that the attorneys who do take them only take two or three a year, and only at certain times of the year. Typically, those are the cases that drag on five years or more. If you’re not in it for at least two appeals, you’re not really in it.
        The practical effect is effective denial of access to the courts.
        Same as Lord Coke wrote about it over 400 years ago:
        In instances of effective denial of access to the courts, justice is to be rendered by any manner or means other than a court of law.
        That was his big argument for including commoners in the rights granted under the Magna Carta.
        Not a preferable situation.

        I’ve seen a lot of horrible miscarriages of justice in reading caselaw.
        Until we’re able to enforce what rights we have, those will continue.

        Most of our constitutional law isn’t decided by grand academics well-versed in constitutional law. It’s decided in the appellate courts, and the trench warfare of the district courts, by personal injury attorneys.
        Regardless of what you may hear about “ambulance chasers,” etc., those personal injury attorneys are probably the most devout protectors of our rights that we have.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        That’s actually a horrible idea; capping contingency fees.

        Unless you want to limit the ability of the poor to sue the wealthy. Then it’s a great idea.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Part of the problem with agreeing that an area falls under the jurisdiction of the government is the whole “what if representatives legislate a way I don’t like?” question.

    Wouldn’t we have been better off with something like “privacy”?Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      Well, maybe. But if I’m understaing you right, what you say is getting pretty close to what the Michigan legislature is doing: they’re (apparently) requiring abortion coverage to be elective, that is, a public act. Privacy prevails.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Stillwater says:

        I suspect you’re not understanding him right.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        I don’t think I am, actually. If the choice is between a law requiring insurance plans to include elective abortion coverage as part of the basic premium price, and a law that requires individuals to actually choosethat option (so that others aren’t subsidizing practices they disagree with), the second option is moving things in a more-private/less-government-intrusion direction.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        “Don’t think I’m not…”, or in other words, I am understanding him correctly.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Stillwater says:

        How about if the law just allows–i.e., doesn’t involve itself?

        Overall, and beyond just responding to your comment, I think Dragonfrog’s comment to me on immigration. Since you liberals accept economic regulation as a legitimate authority of government:

        You can disagree with the decision made, and petition your elected representatives to do better next time – but you can’t object on principle to the fact of a decision having been made.

        Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        The option of whether it’s appropriate for laws to tell insurance companies to cover abortion allows for it being appropriate for legislation to do what they did here, it seems to me.

        I mean, I’m deeply suspicious that a law that said “THIS MUST BE COVERED” would be a law that would be seen as appropriate by the champions of coverage, no? Am I mistaken on that?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Since you liberals…

        I always love that. And thanks for the heads-up re: Dragonfrog’s comment. I didn’t get the memo, but I’ll update my views accordingly!Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater says:

        That was actually addressed in Roe v. Wade.
        That’s the exact same reason that standing for the Does in the companion case of Doe v. Bolton was denied:

        We thus have as plaintiffs a married couple who have, as their asserted immediate and present injury, only an alleged “detrimental effect upon [their] marital happiness” because they are forced to “the choice of refraining from normal sexual relations or of endangering Mary Doe’s health through a possible pregnancy.” Their claim is that sometime in the future Mrs. Doe might become pregnant because of possible failure of contraceptive measures, and at that time in the future she might want an abortion that might then be illegal under the Texas statutes.
        This very phrasing of the Does’ position reveals its speculative character. Their alleged injury rests on possible future contraceptive failure, possible future pregnancy, possible future unpreparedness for parenthood, and possible future impairment of health. Any one or more of these several possibilities may not take place and all may not combine. In the Does’ estimation, these possibilities might have some real or imagined impact upon their marital happiness. But we are not prepared to say that the bare allegation of so indirect an injury is sufficient to present an actual case or controversy.

        It goes from there directly to the case citations, the first of which is Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971): what is known in federal practice as “the Younger abstention.”Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Stillwater says:

        Stillwater,

        My tongue was lodged so deep in my cheek I still haven’t suuceeded in pulling it out.

        Still, there’s a logic to Dragonfrog’s comment that’s not easily ignored.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        I mean, I’m deeply suspicious that a law that said “THIS MUST BE COVERED” would be a law that would be seen as appropriate by the champions of coverage, no? Am I mistaken on that?

        Appropriate? I dunno, you’d have to ask someone who thinks about it along those lines. Lots of people don’t share your view that these are matters of taste, and lots of people think these types of things (abortion coverage (especially in the case of rape or incest), contraceptives) are just basic health-maintenance issues that ought to fall into the “normal coverage” category. Other people disagree.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        James, I didn’t read Dragonfrog’s comment.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Stillwater says:

        Harumph. I did link to it.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        James, one other thing: you’ll notice that I haven’t actually expressed any view about the Michigan bill or the ACA provisions that this law is trying to circumvent. Just throwing that out there.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        Lots of people don’t share your view that these are matters of taste

        How’s it over there where it’s a matter of legislation?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        OK, I (probably too quickly) read the thread. You apparently want to highlight this sentence:

        but you can’t object on principle to the fact of a decision having been made.

        I actually agree with him, that is, that you cannot object in principle to a decision having been made, a decision that takes the force of law imposed by government. He’s making philosophical point here, one that he thinks (and I think too) applies to libertarians just as much as liberals, namely, that we all agree on the principle that there are legitimate functions of government. That’s a formal condition that everyone except radical anarchists (perhaps) accepts. Where we disagree is on the boundaries of that legitimacy. Hence, politics.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        How’s it over there where it’s a matter of legislation?

        Apparently lots of people think it’s better.

        Here are figures from Kaiser’s March 2013 poll:
        Tax credits for small businesses to buy insurance: 88% in favor.
        Closing the Medicare drug benefit doughnut hole: 81% in favor.
        Extension of dependent coverage to offspring up to age 26: 76% in favor.
        Expanding Medicaid: 71% in favor.
        Ban on exclusions for preexisting conditions: 66% in favor.
        Employer mandate: 57% in favor.
        Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Stillwater says:

        So we’re blaming this entirely on Obamacare, because it’s the first instance ever of a GOP legislature trying to make getting an abortion difficult?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        It’s not blaming as much as noting the unintended consequences.

        I imagine that there will be more in the coming months. The fault won’t be “Obamacare” as much as the tacit agreement that the areas in which Obamacare sticks its multiple noses are appropriate nose areas.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Stillwater says:

        @J@m3z Aitch:
        I think I can offer people grape jelly without imposing grape jelly on everyone.

        “Oh, you want grape jelly? You’ll need to go to the grape jelly counter. We’re not allowed to sell it at the regular registers. Not even if you’re about to go into insulin shock.”Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

        Well i’m sure we can agree that anti-abortion folks would stop trying to eliminate abortion if there was no regulation or interfering with insurance companies or Ocare in general.

        Or of course reality is that people against abortion will be trying to stop in no matter what kind of HC reform we ever have or whatever the deal with the market is. This is about people trying to stop abortion, the rest is just details.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      Privacy solves one problem but pretty much ignores the problem of how women, in this case women who want a certain type of medical care, pay for it. Privacy is nice and all, but paying for medical care is sort of big issue and pretty much only rich folk can do it all for themselves.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Out of curiosity, are the legislators doing a good job of representing the interests of their constituents here?

    I mean, how is this issue polling in Michigan?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      That’s a good question. I mean, slavery was really popular until the government started meddling. We don’t want a repeat of that.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’m not sure I follow.
        You’re saying that the voters of Michigan are . . . slave owners?
        Secessionists, maybe?

        Please clarify.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        I’m saying that appealing to majority rule, as Jaybird seems* to be doing here, isn’t necessarily right. And is a curious claim for a libertarian to stake out*.

        * Assuming this is actually what Jaybird thinks. As usual, it is entirely (and perhaps deliberately) unclear.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Well, if we want to get into how this is a moral issue where the government ought to intervene, I’d like to hammer out what the moral issues are. It involves abortion, after all. There is, to make an understatement, disagreement on which moral issues ought to take primacy in the debate.

        If we agree that abortion is as clear cut as slavery, I’m sure we would have no problem with the law making certain that people are acting morally in this case.

        When it comes to “majority rule”, I’m just wondering whether the group that holds these issues as prior to those issues is being well-represented or ill-represented or if it’s still something like 50-50 and the people who have the power are acting all “WE WON” or what.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

        If we agree that abortion is as clear cut as slavery,

        Small quibble: that wasn’t kazzy’s point in his comment. His argument was during the time of slavery polling of slave-states would have showed general support for the institution. He was not saying that abortion Now is as clear cut as slavery Now. He’s saying that maybe the abortion issue Now is just as murky the slavery issue was back Then.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        Actually, my point is simpler than that: some things ought not be left to majority rule. It strikes me as odd that a libertarian would argue otherwise.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Oh, I absolutely agree that there are a ton of areas that ought not be left up to majority rule. Would that we had many, many more!

        It seems to me that the alternative is “this, then, falls outside of the jurisdiction of the law” rather than “minority rule”, though. If it’s minority rule, I’d need “why” explained to me.Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Kazzy says:

        Wait, so you’re saying that it should’ve been up to each individual to decide whether to have slaves or not?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Or to be one? And to have that decision respected by everyone else as something beyond their own, personal, jurisdiction?

        At this point the analogy does tend to break down. Is someone being forced to buy (or prevented from buying) the most basic package that includes abortion coverage analogous to the slave here or the slave owner? Is paying extra for additional coverage similar to slavery? If so, how much extra?

        How much extra would the insurance in Michigan cost?

        Because if we’re discussing 3 bucks a month, I’d say that, as analogies to slavery go, I’ve seen better analogies to slavery.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

      Not polling well, but not terribly. About 47-41 against.

      But the GOP did an excellent job of gerrymandering the state legislative districts, so it would take a lot more opposition to make Republican legislators lose any sleep over this.

      But, hey, that’s democracy. The government is of the people, by the people, and for the people, so clearly this represents the people, the demos, the group, so any arguments about individual liberty are all beside the point, just an extremist view that ignores the interests of the group. Or so I’ve reliably been told by certain other folks here. So I guess this law is actually a wonderful thing we should all be celebrating.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to James Hanley says:

        I don’t think it’s really prohibiting the sale of insurance, Mr. Aitch, but prescribing the form under which insurance policies may be sold.
        That happens to fall within the means of the state to regulate, and there is a manner of redress for grievances.
        Really, it seems like a law that affects insurance agents more than anyone else.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        It’s a law that distorts markets based on some folks’ moral values.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        so any arguments about individual liberty are all beside the point,

        There is a group of people who take individual liberty as it pertains to abortion very seriously. They think it’s murder and given that the state has the right (we all agree this is the case, don’t we?) to prohibit murder, women who have abortions ought to be punished.

        THere is another group of people who take individual liberty re: abortion very seriously too: they think the full expression of individual liberty for women requires that they individual autonomy about decisions regarding their own bodies. They think abortion is a basic right, one that the state ought to defend.

        You’re view doesn’t take a stand on whether abortion is either murder or the expression of a woman’s basic rights, instead criticizing policy because it mandates something, which necessarily constitutes a restriction of liberty. This view focuses a bright light on the role government plays regarding the issue and how government action – at least the restrictions imposed by the Michigan bill, but presumably the requirement imposed by the ACA as well – “distorts markets based on some folks’ moral values.” But why think that markets would reveal anything about whether the choice to terminate a pregnancy is murder or the expression of a right?

        And if it’s either one of those things (or both!) then why think that market-choice matters in the slightest? It certainly won’t matter to the folks who think abortion is fundamentally about moral values. Which is, I think, just about everyone.Report

      • Avatar Johanna in reply to James Hanley says:

        Stillwater, you need to put new batteries in your snark-o-meter.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        And to add one thought, in the above comment I’m quite consciously defending Will H’s argument that the solution to the predicament the ACA requirements re: abortion and contraception coverage faith based institutions find themselves in are ameliorated, to a degree, by the Michigan bill. And also that *that* proposed solution – while not market based – is certainly market friendly given the alternative in the context of the moral values people in fact hold.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        James, You wrote

        Stillwater, you need to put new batteries in your snark-o-meter.

        That could certainly be true, but I’m having a hard time reconciling that comment with this other comment you made:

        How about if the law just allows–i.e., doesn’t involve itself?

        How is that possible given the moral values people – all of us! – in fact hold? I mean, if you think the government shouldn’t get involved, then you’re agreeing that women ought to be allowed to terminate pregnancies without any governmental restrictions. Isn’t that the expression of a “moral value”?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to James Hanley says:

        With a functioning snsrk-o-meter you’d be able to distinguish between which of my comments here are snark and which aren’t. No reconciliation between the two necessary.

        But as to your question, refusal to legislate an action does not logically require that one morally approve of that action. Indeed I know very few people who want laws banning all actions they think are immoral, except, perhaps, for those who have a very limited set of moral values; i.e., the immoral.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to James Hanley says:

        @stillwater :
        I appreciate that.
        There are a couple of distinct issues here.

        To be sure, my personal views differ significantly from the official doctrine of my faith. But I guard my faith closely nonetheless. There are still parts of the world where people are subjected to discrimination and even tortures from the authorities on the basis of their beliefs. The way I call it, on the other side of the doors to the temple stands the Kingdom of God, and it is proper that no earthly government should be recognized there. I extend this even to effecting an arrest within the church; the police should be required to wait outside.

        The other issue is one of a right to basic health care. I include some items traditionally seen as separate in this; dental and vision coverage.
        But I like the idea of basic coverage for all, with maybe a three-tiered supplemental plans as optional coverage.
        This could be heaven for everyone.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        refusal to legislate an action does not logically require that one morally approve of that action.

        Sure it does. At a minimum it means that you think the harm principle isn’t being violated, which constitutes a moral sanction of that action. Or that it’s consistent with a person’s rights, which can be a moral sanction as well. I know you like to think of yourself as Beyond Morality, but *rights* are moral properties, *harm* is a moral property, *utility* is a moral property.

        Maybe you’re using the term differently than I am.

        Indeed I know very few people who want laws banning all actions they think are immoral, except, perhaps, for those who have a very limited set of moral values; i.e., the immoral.

        I don’t even know what that statement means. Sorry.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Stillwater,

        I think adultery is morally wrong. I also think it harms the spouse who’s cheated on. But I don’t think it ought to be against the law.

        Do you think adultery is morally wrong? Do you think it harms the spouse who’s cheated on? Do you think it ought to be against the law? If your answers are yes, yes, and no, then either you’re as illogical as me, or your claim is wrong. If your answer to the first question is no, then I’ll just congratulate myself on my moral superiority.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        I know you like to think of yourself as Beyond Morality,

        I think you mean “know.”Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        @will-h

        Simply not requiring insurers to cover abortion in basic policies will resolve your concerns. Nothing in your concerns justifies taking the additional step of banning insurers from covering abortion in basic policies. You’ve gone beyond protection of your faith from others to an imposition of your faith on others.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        Hmmm. I’m just not following here. My point is that you – apparently*- have a moral calculus you adhere to when carving out justifications for governmental intervention and if that’s the case, then you admit that Morality Matters. Also, given that, it seems to me your beef with Liberals is that you view the moral calculus they adhere to as being overly large (and not that they merely have one). So when you talk about morality being A Problem, I’m legitimately confused. Every libertarian on this sight talks in moral terms all the time. You might be the exception, tho.

        *It’s possible that you don’t believe in the truth of any moral terms whatsoever, and if that’s the case, I apologize for attributing the view to you.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Do you think adultery is immoral?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        James, you’re speaking as if the meaning of the term “immoral” has been decided. I asked you about that upthread, for a clarification of whether you think the harm principle constitutes a moral property, or right, or utility. I could even add liberty into the mix. At this point, I think you and I are understanding the term in different ways.

        But to answer you’re question, in general no, I don’t think adultery as an action alone is immoral, tho if certain promises have been sincerely made (and I tend to think promises carry a certain moral weight – like a contract!), then it certainly could be.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        So if a person has made a promise of fidelity to his/her spouse, and then committed adultery, would you call that act of adultery and promise-breaking immoral?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        NO, but certainly I could see how other people could.

        Look, James, this is fun and all, but there’s a real disconnect in how you’re using the term “immoral” as a criticism of *other* people’s views and how you use it as a justification for *your own* advocacy. Your positive arguments supporting libertarian positions and your negative critiques of liberal and conservative views fundamentally rest on a conception of morality. That you can’t see that you’re using the term in two distinct ways – which are apparently opaque to you – makes communicating with you pretty damn hard.

        I mean, I really have no idea where you’re drawing the line between legislating against adultery and legislating against murder. And maybe it’s murky. But if that’s the case, then why criticize liberals for endorsing a type of morality that is so clearly *wrong* from your point of view that you feel you get to label it (scare quotes) “morality”? What makes it so wrong? Inconsistency with a priori first principles? Pragmatics? Reliance on the state? Fucked up cultural norms? Head injuries or other types of cognitive disabilities?

        What?Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to James Hanley says:

        @jm3z-aitch :
        I think I can offer people grape jelly without imposing grape jelly on everyone.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        That you think I’m using the term morality in two different ways makes it very hard to communicate with you.

        Since neither of us can communicate with the other, let’s call it a day, and have a drink (mine, this evening, is Smithwick’s Irish Ale).Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Will,

        I don’t think you’ve shown that you understand this law.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to James Hanley says:

        Compulsory non-inclusion of abortive procedures for insurance policies
        Permissive insurance policies for abortive procedures.

        Win-Win

        I don’t see what the problem is, other than no one’s ox was gored.Report

      • Your arguments on this are so off-base that I’m struggling to believe you’re serious, and not just pulling my leg. I don’t always agree with you, but I’m not accustomed to you engaging in such pure nonsense. If you support the law for religious reasons, just say do, but don’t pretend that nobody faces a downside from it. That’s either delusional or a good joke at my expense as I take you too seriously.Report

      • Well, I somehow cut off the substantive part of my argument that preceded the part that got posted. It went something like this.

        1. This law does not “offer” something; it constrains current offerings. To use your analogy, if a restaurant has traditionally offered jelly with its toast at one single price, but we now require them to charge an extra fee fir that jelly, saying we’re “offering” something, and not imposing on anyone, is a perverse use of language. Orwellian, almost.

        Catholics oppose birth control and vasectomies, while Jehovah’s Witnesses oppose blood transfusions. If we prohibit basic policies from covering these, and require extra policies for them, we’re really not imposing in anyone? That’s really “offering” something, rather than imposing a constraint on them?

        2. I’m bemused at your apparent belief that you get to d determine for others that this is a win for them, and none of them had had their ox gored. They seem to have a different view about how this affects them–who should I believe?

        You have consistently misrepresented the effect if this law. If you like it for religious reasons, just say so, but don’t make up clearly false claims that it’s win-win and nobody’s ox is gored. It’s not for you to tell others what is or is not their ox.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to James Hanley says:

        @stillwater
        There is a difference between personal and social morality. It is inevitable that any conception of justice is an account of social morality and hence in some way coercive laws impose social morality. But that is trivial. It is the imposition of personal morality which is illiberal.

        There is also a difference between claim rights and liberty rights. A claim right to phi refer to an obligation others to refrain from interfering with your phi-ing. A liberty right to phi just means that it is morally permissible to phi. Not only are the two logically distinct, one doesn’t follow necessarily from any other.

        Let me use Jason Brennan’s example:

        Consider: in a boxing ring, both boxers have liberty right to block punches, but no claim rights to block punches. Liberty rights don’t imply claim rights

        But in this particular case, claim rights don’t imply liberty rights either. Unless you are a hidebound extreme social conservative or an amoralist, there are some things which you believe are morally impermissible but which should be legally permissible.

        Adultery seems like one such case. If you’re religious, non-believers do impermissible things all the time but still those actions ought to be legally permissible.Report

  7. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    Yeah, that was me. Who let the woman near the IPad?Report

  8. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    It’s worth noting Michigan isn’t the only state that’s done this. Almost half the states have prohibited policies on the exchanges from covering abortion because some people who get them might be subsidized, but only a few have, like Michigan, gone beyond that to ban other basic insurance plans from covering abortion, and only a couple go as far as Michigan and don’t allow it even to cover abortion in case of rape or incest (although it does allow it to save the life of the mother).

    The great irony here is that conservatives have used the opportunity Obamacare has provided to go farther in limiting abortion coverage than they could before. From a political strategy perspective I’m grimly amused. From the perspective of a non-Christian and anti-moralist, I find myself rooting for the rapture to come and rid our politics of those people, the sooner the better.Report

    • conservatives have used the opportunity Obamacare has provided to go farther in limiting abortion coverage than they could before

      I don’t see the linkage. Here’re some actions on the accessibility to abortions front: requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, increasing requirements on clinics (like requiring them to meet ambulatory surgical center standards), and attempting to ban abortions after 6 weeks (North Dakota) or 20 weeks (Arizona).

      I don’t think Obamacare opened a door conservatives would’ve been reluctant pursue in any case given the broader context of recent aggressive attempts to further restrict abortion.Report

      • I don’t think Obamacare opened a door conservatives would’ve been reluctant pursue in any case given the broader context of recent aggressive attempts to further restrict abortion.

        Perhaps, though, the ACA in this case gives conservatives more cover. They might have supported banning abortion provision as part of whatever passed for basic, default packages before the ACA, but now that the ACA is (becoming) law, they have a fresh opportunity to do so.Report

      • It seems reasonable to say that:

        (a) Anti-abortion folks will try to find ways to try to curb abortions.

        (b) The existence of the exchanges created by PPACA gave anti-abortion folks the ability ot use the exchanges as a means to try to curb abortion.

        I don’t think Aitch’s pointing out of (b) is particularly controversial, as the connection seems obvious, even if (a) is also true.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Creon Critic says:

        It seems likely to me that this was inspired by the regulations requiring contraceptive coverage. Not saying that anti-abortion people wouldn’t still be trying to find ways to make it harder to get an abortion, but the particular form this restriction has taken on is perhaps not a coincidence.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Creon Critic says:

        (b) The existence of the exchanges created by PPACA gave anti-abortion folks the ability ot use the exchanges as a means to try to curb abortion.

        The Michigan bill includes insurance plans obtained outside of the exchanges, so the exchanges didn’t create any new avenues to pursue restrictive policies.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Creon Critic says:

        It’s probable that PPACA was the inspiration for this, just as the Democratic refusal to confirm Bork based on his writings and prior decisions was the inspiration for the GOP refusal to confirm anyone nominated by a Democrat. The rule seems to be “Don’t you dare do anything that might give the bastards any ideas.”Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Creon Critic says:

        Eh, security by obscurity never lasts anyway.

        However, that doesn’t mean you should be surprised when the bastards get ideas.Report

      • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Creon Critic says:

        Stillwater, my bad. I read James’s comment, but didn’t see your clarification. So, at most, PPACA gives a modicum of justification to the sphere of the law (if the government can demand coverage here, it can prohibit coverage there)… to a bunch of people who likely didn’t require the justification anyway.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Creon Critic says:

        @stillwater
        The Michigan bill includes insurance plans obtained outside of the exchanges, so the exchanges didn’t create any new avenues to pursue restrictive policies.

        It gave them a lever, or wedge, that they didn’t have before. If they’d just gone after private basic insurance plans before, they never would have succeeded, and noticeably, they never tried that route before. But the exchanges, with the existence of subsidies for the poor, brought “Taxpayer Funded Abortions!” into play as an issue and a justification.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Creon Critic says:

        One weird thing about all this is that Michigan permits the use of Medicaid funds for abortion in the cases of life endangerment, incest or rape, yet the current bill would prohibit those inclusions for private (meaning, even unsubsidized) insurance coverage.Report

  9. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    This is a bad law, of course.

    But still…Kip’s Law. Kip’s Law.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Had to look up Kip’s Law…

      I’m not sure I agree with you about this. I think people who believe in certain principles (or values, or goals, or pictures of how life should go, whatever) want to realize those principles or pictures, and one mechanism available to them is to access the power of the state to achieve that end. But that reverses the psychological ordering of things, it seems to me. People don’t desire central planningbecause they think they’ll be “the decider”, they want to see their values realized – we all do, in our own ways – and they recognize that the state is one way to accomplish that. So it seems to me the more appropriate criticism of these types of people is the normative goals they’re pursuing rather than the mechanisms being employed.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        To use an example: the desire of people to ensure that abortion-rates are minimized (down to zero, perhaps) is justified by a belief that abortion is wrong. One of the means to accomplish this – legitimately, it seems to me, from the perspective of anti-choicers – is to pass laws protecting the unborn. What these folks aren’t doing, it seems to me, is advocating for central planning because they believe they’ll be the ones in power. IF anything, they advocate central planning as an antidote to what they view as a pervasive moral wrong.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Stillwater says:

        It’s not that people necessarily literally want to be the planners themselves. It’s that they imagine that people like them, with their values, will be doing the planning. In this case, people who just months ago were arguing that the government must have the authority to micromanage the terms of private health insurance contracts are now appalled to find that that authority is being used in the service of the wrong values.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        I don’t disagree with the second part of what you wrote, I just think it misplaces the role central planning plays in the decision-processes and resulting judgments people are actually making. Some people think that elective abortion ought to be a protected right and covered by basic health insurance. Other people think that elective abortion is the equivalent of murder. Both of those issues – ostensibly involving individual rights – are squarely in the provenance of federal authority and jurisdiction to protect/prohibit.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

        If these people are so zealously opposed to abortion, why do they oppose the sorts of measures that will make a real dent in abortion rates, e.g., contraception access, comprehensive sexual education, and improvements to impoverished public schools?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        And on a little off topic: notice too that passage of the Michigan bill goes a long ways to furthering liberal goals re: continued access to insurance coverage for abortion. From one pov, the bill entrenches the basic right to obtain that type of insurance, which is a tacit concession to the underlying right to elective abortion. Liberals can be upset about what the Michigan legislature is doing, but I’m not sure the bill – if passed – doesn’t actually serve liberal goals.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        kazzy, I have a theory about that – well, it’s not my theory – which hasn’t really gained much traction here at OT. Cleek’s Law: Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.

        {{{I realize saying this undermines the entirety of my earlier argument…. Dammit.}}}Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

        Still, I don’t see how this furthers liberal goals. Separating abortion out of general coverage makes it more expensive (point to pro-lifers), more exposed (point to pro-lifers) and easier for future legislatures to target even more (point to pro-lifers). Michigan law was silent on banning abortions before and now it affirmatively states insurers can insure for abortions (point to pro-choicers) but only in a way more onerous to pro-lifers than it was prior to this legislation. Looks like a landslide pro-life victory to me.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Stillwater says:

        It’s that they imagine that people like them, with their values, will be doing the planning. In this case, people who just months ago were arguing that the government must have the authority to micromanage the terms of private health insurance contracts are now appalled to find that that authority is being used in the service of the wrong values.

        Slight quibble: they would argue that they were never intending to micromanage private health insurance contracts, they were macromanaging them, providing a framework to ensure that the insurance marketplace would have the coverage that they wanted it to have.

        And now they’re seeing attempts to micromanage the process to further political goals that are really quite utterly unrelated to the original goal that required macromanagement.

        This is not really surprising, but it’s also not really unusual for someone to think this is broken. If you work for a private organization, you’re fine with your boss’s boss providing macromanagment; you expect it, that’s how the company survives and thrives. Almost universally, though, you get pissed when your boss then uses that as a framework to micromanage you, especially if they’re micromanaging you in a way that has nothing to do with the macro goal of the company.

        This is the political equivalent of TPS reports.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        And now they’re seeing attempts to micromanage the process to further political goals that are really quite utterly unrelated to the original goal that required macromanagement.

        Hanley’s second law of public policy: Don’t focus on the goal you want to achieve; focus on the incentives you’re actually creating. (That goes for micromanaging bosses, too.)Report

      • Avatar Trumwill in reply to Stillwater says:

        Kazzy, it’s not entirely clear that comprehensive sex education (which I support) and condom availability (which I support) would actually make a significant dent in the abortion rate. It stands to reason that it would, but given that abortion rates tend to be higher in red states than blue states, that suggests to some degree that red state methodology is more effective than blue state methodology at reducing the abortion rates. Of course, it’s hard to tell with any certainty. Many confounding factors (which applies to cases of needles pointing in either direction).Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        given that abortion rates tend to be higher in red states than blue states, that suggests to some degree that red state methodology is more effective than blue state methodology at reducing the abortion rates.

        Unless the coffee’s not working for me today, that can’t be what you really meant to write.Report

      • Higher in blue states, I meant to say.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

        Will,

        Isn’t that likely to be an access issue? There are many red states where it is damn near impossible to get an abortion.

        And when I say contraception, I mean a whole lot more than condoms.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        North,

        Still, I don’t see how this furthers liberal goals. … Looks like a landslide pro-life victory to me.

        By “furthering liberals goals” I meant that this legislation could change the field on which the debate usually plays out. The tacit recognition by the conservative legislature that women have a right to purchase insurance for abortion coverage constitutes an admission (of sorts) that obtaining the procedure is justified and justifiable.

        I mean, I certainly wouldn’t say that a bill reversing liberal gains constitutes a liberal victory. That’s be silly. I just think that buried in the legislation is a shift in the general dynamics this dispute has traditionally relied on.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Also, Jaybird asked a question upthread that I no one answered which is relevant, at least to my judgment about all this: do insurance policies cover elective abortion as part of the basic plan? Do they cover by default abortion in the cases of rape or incest (I assume life endangernment would be covered)?

        One argument North made is that this bill will drive up the cost of abortion procedures (I’m not clear on how it would) and that “exposure” will have a negative effect on women being able to obtain insurance in any event. But if the insurance plans have traditionally only included life endangerment, incest and rape as the only types of abortion covered, then it seems to me (could be wrong, this is just a guess) that business insurance plans will opt to include that coverage as matter of course (except perhaps religious institutions).

        If insurance covered “elective” abortions, then things will change radically.Report

      • Kazzy, the Guttmacher statistics are from 2008, prior to the most recent spate of anti-abortion laws being passed. But many were obviously already on the books. it’s some combination of culture, law, and circumstance. Debates ensue as to how much of which. Complicated by the fact that there is overlap.

        But even to the extent that we attribute it to “laws” it suggests that making access harder is more effective than attempts at pregnancy prevention. Would Texas, for instance, have lower abortion rates if it combined legal restrictions with contraception coverage and sex-ed? Maybe. As it stands, though, its rate is dramatically lower than California (as well as most blue states).Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Kazzy, that’s interesting. Utah prohibits insurance companies from offering “abortion coverage”, but requires insurance plans to cover life endangerment, incest, rape, fetal impairity. Oklahoma (by my reading) includes rape and incest under normal coverage. The other states only include life endangerment, and some prohibit the purchase of insurance to cover “elective” abortions. This goes way back, no? 1983-ish.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

        Stillwater, per my googling it seems that Michigan joins 8 other states in having rules against insurance coverage on abortion this draconian.

        As I understand it, prior to this policies came in a variety of forms. Some of them covered abortion; some of them didn’t so by making none of the policies cover abortion without a specific rider this is a significant increase in the cost of abortions.

        I also don’t see any tacit acknowledgements of rights here by conservatives. They had previously successfully barred any form of government assistance from covering abortions and they have now steeply restricted private organizations from covering abortions. It seems a natural progress towards taking aim directly at individuals. INAL but I don’t see this legislation have any pro-choice judicial force nor setting the stage for any pro-choice policy or judicial decisions to be set. I’d say pro-choicers are correct to view it as lacking any silver lining and being furious.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        and they have now steeply restricted private organizations from covering abortions.

        Isn’t there a constitutional problem here? If abortion-rights are the Law of the Land, how can state legislatures restrict the exercise of rights accompanying that decision?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

        INAL but I don’t think the constitution can be invoked on this since it’s a state legislature first and second it’s targeting not abortions themselves but merely a payment method for abortion.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        I was suspecting the issue would derive from, for example, Utah’s blanket prohibition against the private (non-state-based) provision of abortion insurance (rather than just on the payment method). So the constitutional issue would concern the right of individuals (insurance companies) to offer insurance for procedures which are legal at the federal level. I’m sure there are counterexample to that claim, tho. Criminy, there are counterexamples to just about everything in US federal and state law.Report

      • @north

        I see where you’re going with the distinction between payment methods and prohibitions on abortion. But I don’t believe the fact (by itself) that it’s a state legislature really shields it from federal constitutional oversight. I would speculate that most (almost all?) of the federal court cases on abortion are reviews of actions by state legislatures or lawmaking bodies that get their authority from the state. Certainly the more famous ones, like Roe, are.

        @james-hanley

        “Hanley’s second law of public policy:….” What’s the first law?

        @kazzy

        I think one answer to your question about support for contraception and better sex ed often lacking among the most vocal opponents to abortion is Will Truman’s comment on the apparently weaker than to be expected link between access to contraception and decrease in abortions.

        A second answer is that perhaps opposition to contraception is not as closely tied with opposition to abortion as it might appear. Certainly some of the most vocal pro-life politicians and religious wags tend to also be against ensuring widespread access to and education about contraception, but I suspect that many (a majority?…..I’m guessing here….I don’t have cite) of people very uncomfortable about or in opposition to abortion otherwise indeed *would* support more contraception as a way to obviate the need for abortion.

        A third answer is that perhaps opponents of contraception, e.g., have objections to it that in essence are independent of their objections to abortion. For example, I understand the Catholic opposition to contraceptive use has something to do about what the Church conceives of as the nature of sex and not, for example, the preservation of an already existing life. I also understand that the Catholic position does not admit of ranking what the Church sees as “evils,” at least in this case: there’s not, in this case at least, the ethical opportunity for permitting one evil in order to forestall a greater evil. (If someone here knows more about the Catholic position, they’re free to correct me. I’m riffing off stuff Kyle has written about the Church considering some things as intrinsically evil, but I hope I’m not misrepresenting what he has said.)Report

      • @stillwater
        Because abortion rights are not absolute, states can make reasonable regulations of it. And “reasonable” is whatever Justice Kennedy thinks (formerly, whatever Justice O’Connor thought). Although my initial feeling was that this might be conatitutionally problematic, upon reflection I suspect that because it makes no direct restrictions on abortion itself, and still allows insurance to cover it, just at an additional fee, I doubt the Supremes would rule that it interfered too substantially with the basic right to an abortion.

        @pierre-corneille
        Hanley’s first rule of public policy is that you should make policy for the humans you have, not the humans you wish you had (I.e., not for what you wish people were really like).Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Stillwater says:

        I’m thinking this is the part where it all ties in to illegal immigration.
        Because right out of the gate, you can guarantee that someone’s going to file for an injunction in a federal court to prevent this law from going into effect.
        And unless Hades arises from the Underworld to nab the state’s attorney at some time prior to oral argument, the odds of the federal court setting the statute aside are infinitesimal.
        And I’m thinking that opposing counsel in that injunction hearing is very likely one of those “jobs that no American would want.”
        So, I’m thinking this is where it all comes around to tie in with illegal immigration.

        Stop at Home Depot, pick up an attorney, and file the injunction.
        I don’t see it happening.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

        I’m sorry Will H, I don’t think I understand. Are you saying that you think the law won’t stand up in court or that it would? That opposing the law would be a job no one wants to do thus illegal immigration is involved somehow? I have ta admit I’ve not been able to grasp your points on this subject by and large.Report

    • @brandon-berg

      Like @stillwater , I had to look up Kip’s Law, too. I think it applies, but perhaps not as neatly as one would think.

      For starters, I think it’s undeniable that many of the supporters of Obamacare were confident that someone sympathetic to their values would be managing it, but their confidence didn’t include a recognition of the role state legislatures might play or the fact that sometime in the future, it’s possible that in the future a person not sympathetic to Obamacare would end up managing the HHS department.

      However, much of the support for Obamacare comes from a perception that the government guidelines and guarantees for coverage, as well as what was to be covered, was an improvement on the apparently (to them) arbitrary and unjust decisions and administrative policies of health insurance companies. In this vein, pre-Obamacare, there was something with some of the perversions we’d expect in centralized planning, but this type of planning, executed by rent-enjoying companies (the rents coming, e.g., from antitrust exemptions and bans on interstate commerce) that priced-out a painfully visible number of very sick people, was less directly accountable to the public.

      Looked at in this way, Obamacare is not a new centralized planning regime with all the ambition of a Harvard-educated poli-sci major fresh off a stint with the Peace Corps, but a new centralized planning regime that replaces and modifies (and leaves in place much of the rent-granting) with new guarantees.Report

  10. Avatar North says:

    Oi what a mess.

    So if I’m reading it correctly what this law basically does is it requires that every potential insurance purchaser affirmatively plan to have a need for an abortion in advance (buying a specific abortion rider on their insurance) otherwise be forced to pay for any needed abortion out of pocket.

    Since abortion is broken out of the general coverage that means that the additional cost of the abortion rider can be carried only by those who have opted into that rider. This will effectively force the cost of abortions up significantly.

    It seems pretty unambiguous that this is a significant victory for pro-lifers albeit also a massive display of hypocrisy from self professed free market conservatives and another thumb in the eye to the GOP’s libertarian contingent; but when, if ever, is anything the GOP does not*?

    Over all I must admit I’m impressed, I did not expect the WLC trophy to land in the Midwest this year. So kudos to Michigan eh? It’ll be interesting to see what the political impact is, though it’s ambiguous enough, I suspect, to shield the GOP tolerably well and it’s not like they were contending for the women vote much anyhow.

    *They’re against certain regulations I guess.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    But to continue down here without any comparisons to slavery, I’ll instead try to pick at what I see the issue as being:

    It seems to me that most people don’t like the idea of bad actors escaping the consequences of their bad action. Exhibit A: The Bank Bailout. (For the record, I wouldn’t mind future questions exploring the comparison between banking and abortion politics.) There are other examples that I could give, of course. I’m sure you’re thinking of a couple right now.

    Anyway. There are quite a few people who make distinctions between the types of pregnancies out there and say that abortion is less problematic for some than for others. While it may seem hypocritical (or whatever) to make moral distinctions between a fetus that showed up as the result of a rape and a fetus that showed up as the result of skipping a pill for a few days because “I’m on vacation”, I’m sure that you’ve seen what accusations are made against people who refuse to make that distinction (and, indeed, I’m sure that even if you, yourself, have not asked “but what about rapeincestmotherslifeindanger”, I’m sure you’ve seen someone else ask the question).

    Which, when we start talking about insurance, we immediately start bringing in cold and dispassionate numbers to a topic where empathy would really, really help in the first place. But you argue with the measurables you have, not the measurables you want. In any case, if we’re talking about abortion and we’re willing to make distinctions between the termination of a pregnancy that falls under the category of rapeincestmotherslifeindanger and a pregnancy on the other end of the “butwhatabout” scale… oh, let’s say “sex selection”… is it fair to ask whether the behaviors at the other end of the scale qualify as some kind of risk-taking analogous to rock climbing or smoking? (For the record: 100% cool with questions exploring the relationships between smoking, rock-climbing, and sex.)

    I’m pretty sure that we’d be able to get most folks to at least admit that they understand making smokers play more for insurance, even if they are single-payer champions or whatnot. In that same vein, wouldn’t having abortion in the case of unwanted pregnancy following behaviors likely to result in pregnancy be covered by supplementary insurance be something that makes similar sense?Report

    • To answer your last question, maybe. But the legislature in this case, if I understand the bill correctly, is requiring supplementary insurance not only for unwanted pregnancies following behaviors likely to result in pregnancy, but also in unwanted pregnancies following rape or other coercion.Report

      • Well, here’s where the discussion moves from merely unpleasant to downright gross. As such, I need to give the usual disclaimers about how these positions are not mine but representations of what I imagine the positions are of the folks who passed this law, etc.

        Imagine if a smoker could easily claim to not be a smoker. What would that do in a system where smokers were expected to pay higher rates/premiums, etc?

        Ugh. That’s about as far as I want to go with that.Report

      • @jaybird

        I was going to say you didn’t answer my question, but then I re-read my comment and realized I didn’t ask a question. Still, I don’t see how you addressed my point. The bill at issue here forbids insurers from offering basic plans for any abortion, if I understand it right.

        Or….I don’t understand what you’re saying.Report

      • Okay.

        Let’s say that there are two plans. Plan A is cheaper and covers rapeincestmotherslifeindanger but not other. Plan B is more expensive and also covers other.

        Do you think that there will be more rapes reported to doctors without having been reported to law enforcement following these two plans hitting the market?Report

      • @jaybird

        I’m really not sure. I supposed I’m lost in the maze of “suppose this, and then what’d happen if we suppose that, and by the way, what’s the name of the bus driver?”

        To be clear, I’m not disagreeing with you. Disagreeing would imply I understand what you’re saying. If I even knew the answer to your question, I’m not sure it would help because I don’t understand the question. And I don’t understand in service to what argument you’re asking it.

        I, as much as and probably more than the next guy, have my moments of unclarity, so I’m not really in a position to judge.Report

      • Well, my point is that the legislature probably feels that by requiring supplementary insurance not only for unwanted pregnancies following behaviors likely to result in pregnancy, but also in unwanted pregnancies following rape or other coercion, they will prevent any perverse incentives to lie about the cause of a pregnancy (and, of course, that the cost of doing this is lower than, say, a plan that allows for rapeincestmotherslifeindanger).Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        I need to give the usual disclaimers about how these positions are not mine but representations of what I imagine the positions are of the folks who passed this law, etc.

        So, are you defending a position you don’t agree with by imagining the arguments they might make, or are you defending a position you agree with by imaging arguments they might make?

        More importantly, why don’t you just make your own argument?

        I mean, it’s pretty easy to ascribe some values to the people who passed the Michigan bill. First, we view them as acting sincerely and ascribe a desire to prevent individuals who are opposed to abortion from subsidizing those procedures in others. Second, we attribute to them a desire to minimize the total number of abortions because they think that practice is morally wrong. Third, we ascribe to them some mad-hop strategery at the political level. Fourth, we cynically view their actions as furthering their own political careers because they’re keeping Tried and Try Single Issue Vote alive and well. The list goes on.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        The legislature has passed a bill written privately and brought to them via petition by anti-abortion activists. There’s no evidence I’ve seen that either the legislature or the bill’s author(s) were thinking that sophisticated thoughts about the cost or about incentives rather than just looking for any opportunity they can find to restrict abortions. It’s not that they want to restrict false claims of pregnancy, but that they want to restrict abortion even in cases of rape and incest. How often do anti-abortion folks need to say so publicly before you’ll take them at their word, instead of assuming they really mean something more subtle?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        (and, of course, that the cost of doing this is lower than, say, a plan that allows for rapeincestmotherslifeindanger).

        I just can’t help myself….

        If what you say was one of their motivations, then why isn’t that an essential part of the Conservative defense of the bill? Why do you feel justified in attributing this thought process to individuals who have TEAMS of people orchestrating policy rollouts when that consideration hasn’t even seen the pop-media light of day?

        (Also, insurance for a cracked windshield is like 3 bucks a month, I think, with a comparable cost. Cost considerations, I don’t think, are driving this bill.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        Sorry, three bucks a year.

        And what James said.

        One of the odd things about this bill is that it was voted on in ’11 (maybe last year?) and didn’t have enough votes for veto-proofness. This year it did. And I find that strange, cuz Michigan has never struck me as a radically conservative place. Granted, I lived on the western side near the Lake, but still.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        @stillwater
        If what you say was one of their motivations, then why isn’t that an essential part of the Conservative defense of the bill?

        Exactly.

        No Senate Republicans stood to argue in favor of the initiative. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, said his opposition to abortion is widely known through his 14-year legislative record.

        “I don’t think I needed to get up and tell anybody that,” Richardville told reporters.

        (sorce)

        One of the odd things about this bill is that it was voted on in ’11 (maybe last year?) and didn’t have enough votes for veto-proofness. This year it did.

        No, it’s that this weird process–the legislature voting on a bill brought to them via a petition of 3% of the state’s voters–doesn’t allow the governor to veto. The legislature could have allowed it to go to a vote of the public, but with polls showing more people opposing it than supporting it, the GOP apparently didn’t want to take the chance. It’s possible, though, that oponents of the bill could gather the signatures to put a repeal on the ballot.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        Thanks for the clarification James. I read some stuff about the Initiative, and something about a previous attempt to pass the bill, and … well, I was obviously confused. I did remember there being some weirdness involved.

        So, is Michigan law is that if a citizen petition makes it to the floor it can’t be vetoed? I remember reading that the votes were overwhelmingly in favor of the bill too. Are those distinct issues?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        Yes, distinct issues. The vote was almost perfectly party-line with one Senate and I think two House Democrats voting for, but zero Republicans voting against.

        I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of the no-veto-power rule before this. I don’t really follow state politics here. (Or local, either, yet tonight I was at the beginning of our city council meeting as my daughter’s high school swim team was given an official proclamation commending their conference championship. I had to sit through a prayer and the pledge of allegiance first, reminding me once again why I so rarely attend.)Report

      • The list goes on.

        It seems to me that assuming their good faith is one of those things that is lacking in these comments. Should I see that as something that we all would automatically assume and move from there?Report

      • @jaybird

        Thanks for clarifying your argument, although I probably agree much more with James’s assessment of what the motivations likely were. At the same time, I can’t discount that the bill might create certain incentives, and perhaps creating those incentives would be a bone to throw at the Akin wannabes among the Republicans in Michigan who are distressed at the “epidemic” of women lying about their “illegitimate” claims of rape?

        As for this:

        It seems to me that assuming their good faith is one of those things that is lacking in these comments.

        I don’t think repeated requests for clarity and for finally stating what one’s position is is necessarily a venture in assuming the bad faith of someone making a comment. For the record, I don’t think you argue in bad faith, but I do think you tend to assume we already know what you intend by the comments you make, and for a lot of people here, that seems to look like an attempt to bait people into saying something and then jumping on them for saying it. I suppose if that’s done repeatedly, and if it’s called out often enough, it either looks like, or approaches the same thing as, accusations of bad faith.

        But as I’ve said, I’m not sure I don’t always do the same thing. I tend to be very nitpicky about others’ tone and tend to adopt positions that I might partially disagree with, but that I find in some ways compelling. In a recent thread, for example, I offered a defense for the proposition that demands for funding of the arts could be a “tiny bit” selfish–and I believe that’s true, as long as we keep the “tiny bit” qualifier–but I don’t believe that it’s selfishness run amok, just something that’s useful for supporters to keep in mind.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        “Do you think that there will be more rapes reported to doctors without having been reported to law enforcement following these two plans hitting the market?”

        So? What is the actual harm done by this? A patient lies to his/her doctor. This happens all the damn time. With little-to-no-cost.

        As a general rule, health insurance doesn’t consider HOW you came to require a medical procedure, only that you DO require a medical procedure. I suppose a counter argument could be made about how “required” an abortion is. But that should be a discussion between patient and doctor, not legislators and uninvolved citizens with petitions.Report

      • What is the actual harm done by this?

        Well, I suppose the answer to that question depends on one’s interpretation of the moral status of the fetus.

        If it’s just a skin tag to be removed, the harm is equivalent to the harm done by the removal of a skin tag.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        @jaybird
        “The list goes on.”
        It seems to me that assuming their good faith is one of those things that is lacking in these comments.

        But they didn’t use cost-savings as a justifucation, you invented that. So you’re accusing us of assuming bad faith because we take them at their word, it seems.

        I don’t think that makes any sense at all.Report

      • It’s not cost savings as much as refusal to be a participant in the pooling of costs for a proceedure that they’d be morally opposed to providing funding for.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        @jaybird

        Then isn’t the onus on those individuals to find another insurer OR petition their insurer to adjust their offerings?

        Instead, they petitioned the government.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

      I don’t think it works Jay, firstly what are these behaviors* that are analogous to smoking? How do you track for them, are they actually measurable? I submit they’re not. Secondly the legislatures are requiring separate supplementary insurance for all women who wish to have abortion coverage regardless of behavior. So the whole argument is moot; we’re not discussing something that pertains to the matter at hand.

      *Also I reject the parallel between women’s sexual freedom and smoking. The former is objectively an unalloyed good and the latter objectively harmful.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        Well, when it comes to such things as sex-selective abortions, I think we agree that the participants were deliberately engaging in an act that they knew was likely to result in pregnancy, no? Or is that a leap too far?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        What, in vitro treatments or copulating?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        Whichever makes the example more difficult to deal with.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

        Whichever makes the example more difficult to deal with.

        Awesome.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        I guess neither one makes it more difficult to deal with for me.
        So yes, the people who’re hypothetically seeking a sex selective abortion either got it on or did the test tube tango. So what? I don’t see the parallel with this abortion punching bill. It’s not like its advocates have peddled elaborate obscure justifications, they’ve made it pretty clear no? They don’t like abortions, they don’t like anyone having abortions, they’d ban abortions if they could (or rather relegate it to back alleys so the women who got them would at least suffer for daring to harm their fetuses) but since they can’t ban abortions they’re passing whatever they can to obstruct abortions and penalize those who attempt to provide or obtain them.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        So what?

        Well, I guess my example was intended to provide a type of abortion that even most “abortion ought to be covered by insurance” advocates might say “okay, this particular type of abortion should be covered by the individual”.

        If there is none, that seems to me to be an interesting dynamic of the argument.

        On the one side, we’ve got people who are opposed to abortion even in cases of rapeincestmotherslifeindanger, on the other, people who cannot even in theory come up with a category of abortion (sex selection being the most common odious form that I can easily think of) that shouldn’t be covered by insurance.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to North says:

        Saying something should be covered by insurance is not saying that something is right.

        Should my insurance cover the myriad of injuries I’ve acquired while black out drunk? Why or why not?

        Insurance is an agreement between two parties — the insured and the insurer. What should be covered ought to be determined by those two parties. Do you disagree with this, @jaybird ?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to North says:

        What Kazzy said. Jaybird seems to be assuming there should be a moral line drawn somewhere on insurance coverage, or that it’s “interesting” if others don’t draw a moral line on it. I don’t even find it interesting. It’s a market transaction between an individual and a corporation that should be able to figure out its exposure.

        You’re asking your question as though the moral element maybe matters here, but you haven’t given any indication of why the moral element ought to prevent a private party from agreeing to pay for something that is perfectly legal in and of itself for some other private party.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        Insurance is an agreement between two parties — the insured and the insurer. What should be covered ought to be determined by those two parties. Do you disagree with this,@Jaybird?

        Hurray! A return to first principles! Yes, absolutely!

        Now, if only that horse had not only been stolen but transferred across state lines without a permit before being beaten to death, we could talk about the best types of locks for the barn door.

        But, yes. Now, my question: are the issues involving first principles going to be abandoned for issues involving pragmatic or empathy if first principles take us to strange and exotic conclusions such as “supplemental insurance for all kinds of things, based on the various habits of the individual insured”?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to North says:

        Well, are we making space inside the barn for “the government” to be one of the parties (specifically, the insurer)? Because that would allow us to avoid all sorts of messes, it would seem.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to North says:

        When was the horse stolen Jay? 1871? Regulations on insurance stretch back at least to then.
        To your question, I’m still not getting it. The law is forbidding insurance from covering abortion without a supplemental extra charge that’s bought in advance. How on earth do libertarian first principles ever contort around to supporting such a thing>?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to North says:

        Now, if only that horse had not only been stolen but transferred across state lines without a permit before being beaten to death, we could talk about the best types of locks for the barn door.

        There you go again. Do you do that purposefully, or can you just not help yourself?

        Now, my question: are the issues involving first principles going to be abandoned for issues involving pragmatic or empathy if first principles take us to strange and exotic conclusions such as “supplemental insurance for all kinds of things, based on the various habits of the individual insured”?

        Now my questions: Why should they? What is your reason for thinking they might? Can you come up with real world examples that might be plausible, or do you want everyone else to do all the work?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to North says:

        How on earth do libertarian first principles ever contort around to supporting such a thin

        They don’t, and it’s not ckear that Jaybird thinks they do. He’s being obscurantist again, and assholishly expecting people to answer clearly questions he’s either unwilling to or incapable of asking clearly. I recommend not answering any more if his questions until he’s answered our questions or made himself clear.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        why the moral element ought to prevent a private party from agreeing to pay for something that is perfectly legal in and of itself for some other private party.

        Oh, it absolutely shouldn’t. There should be all kinds of insurances and some could be insurance for Christian Scientists (subsidized bottled water) and some could be gold plated insurance for Mormons (gold plates not pictured) and some could be somewhere in the middle.

        If, however, we’re in a post-legislation position, do we need to argue that we should return to first principles for a while?

        Well, okay. The government needs to get out of meddling with insurance, if you ask me. It will only lead to stuff like this.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to North says:

        Jaybird,

        So you seem to agree with Kazzy, North and me. So what exactly is it you’re asking? Who, exactly, are the people you’re asking about? Because it sounds like you’re asking about the type of people who aren’t bothered by abortion insurance, but you’ve given no reason to think they might care about insurance for other legal activities (ones that you refuse to specify). So the point of talking about them isn’t clear.

        So you haven’t clarified 1) who you’re talking about, 2) why they might react in the way you’re talking about (e.g., why your question is meaningful), and 3) what types of activities they might object to insuring.

        In short, it’s clear that none of us three pretty bright guys understands what you’re asking. Why do you resist trying to be clear? Do you want an answer? You’ll get a better one, and have a better discussion, if you drop the obscurantist schtik. Or if you want to keep it up, I hope you’re content with the responses you get.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to North says:

        “…“suck it up, lifers”…”

        Suck what up? How are lifers harmed by allowing insurance companies to decide how to cover abortion?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to North says:

        @jaybird
        It seems to me that moral offense is one of those motivators that, if it is going to be dismissed, needs to be dismissed very carefully… lest we find that our standards be held against us when we are out of power.

        Good Christ, yes! That’s a feature, not a bug. I’ll horsewhip you (figuratively) to stop you from legislating purely on the basis of moral offense, and if I were to slip into that same kind of error you damned well better horsewhip me, too!

        Harm remains a good principle, but offense opens the door to society being constrained to what’s acceptable to the most morally sensitive.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to North says:

        Well, that should have been way down below. Fishin’ IPhone.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Jaybird says:

      It seems to me that most people don’t like the idea of bad actors escaping the consequences of their bad action.

      I think we need to break that down a little more, right?

      Did your bad actions hurt innocent others? You should not escape the consequences.

      Did tour bad action hurt no one but yourself? Then you’re on your own for escaping the consequences.

      Different things, no?

      If you screw around and get an STD, are we talking anout banning insurance coverage for pennicillin? No? Then I think ensuring people suffer the consequences of their bad sexual actions isn’t really what’s driving this.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        James- i’ll disagree a bit. I think there is a segment of the SoCon group who feel if you get pregnant, or an STD or some other bad effect then they think you should suffer the consequences. If you aren’t a “good” person and don’t have health care then it sucks to be you. I actually saw a bumper sticker a few days ago that something along the lines of Health Insurance Should be Earned. No work, No Health Care.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        James- i’ll disagree a bit.

        How dare you?! Sabers at dawn, my friend!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Did your bad actions hurt innocent others? You should not escape the consequences.

        Did tour bad action hurt no one but yourself? Then you’re on your own for escaping the consequences.

        How would we make that distinction wrt insurance coverage?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Jaybird,

        That’s up to the insurer, and the type of policy they’re willing to write, isn’t it? You seem to be looking for a policy issue in what is a market transaction, but it’s not clear why?

        So far you’ve been doing all the asking and expecting others to do the intellectual leg work for you. Now I’m asking, and I hope you’ll be fair enough to guve as much as you’ve been asking for. Why do you think anyone would be expected to think the market transaction of insurance for legal abortions should be banned?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Why do you think anyone would be expected to think the market transaction of insurance for legal abortions should be banned?

        I imagine it would deal with the moral issues involved with abortion and the “forcing” of people morally opposed to the procedure to pay for it and the “right” to not be forced to do so.

        A perfect world would offer a dozen policies, one of which would be right for you, that would allow people to pick and choose between policies (and, presumably, pools) that cover medical proceedures that they don’t find abominable.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        So instead of answering the question, you stayed vague and evasive.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        That’s vague and elusive?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Yes, because you refuse to specify just what you’re talking about.

        1. Which people are you talking about?
        2. What moral issues are you talking about?

        If all you’re saying us that some unspecified set of people might have an objection to private party insurance for some unspecified activity, you’re not saying anything meaningful.*

        If you’re saying people who do not object to private party insurance for even sex-selective abortions might object to private party insurance for some other act, then you should give some examples for us to work with instead of expecting us to come up with them. Effectively you’re asking people to prove an unknown negative.

        So, yes, that was vague and elusive. You put minimal effort into clarifying yourself.
        _________________
        * I’m reminded of my college’s student newspaper, which has a knack for uninformative headlines, such as, “Professor Presents,” and “Session Held” (I’m not making those up), or as my colleague likes to joke, “students do stuff.” Your response said no more than “someone might object to something.” It gives the reader no meaningful information.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        1. Which people are you talking about?

        Pro-lifers and pro-choice people who are not yet “abortion on demand” folks who see abortion as somewhere on the spectrum between “morally wrong” and “morally uncomfortable”.

        2. What moral issues are you talking about?

        The moral issue of abortion (there are those who see it as “murder”, if you can believe that), as well as the moral issue of being “forced” to subsidize abortion through default coverage.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        “2. What moral issues are you talking about?”
        The moral issue of abortion (there are those who see it as “murder”, if you can believe that), as well as the moral issue of being “forced” to subsidize abortion through default coverage.

        Huh. See, I thought you were asking if, for those who didn’t object to insurance covering abortion whether there was some other issue where they would draw the line on insurance coverage. But OK, let’s keep this limited to just insurance covering abortion, distinguishing between different justifications for abortion (rape, health of mother, deformity, sex selection, birth control, etc.) There are no other, non-abortion related, issues at stake. Am I correct?

        “1. Which people are you talking about?”
        Pro-lifers and pro-choice people who are not yet “abortion on demand” folks who see abortion as somewhere on the spectrum between “morally wrong” and “morally uncomfortable”.

        This is truly puzzling. Are you implying that these two groups can be lumped together under a single answer applicable to both groups?” If not, what’s the justification for lumping them together in your question?

        For that matter, what’s the point of even asking this question about pro-lifers? They’ve already demonstrated they disapprove of insurance for abortions, so the question of whether there’s some point at which they’d disapprove, that’s already been answered, right? (You can make a point about how they allow it, through a special rider, but that’s likely to be more of an indication of political and/or legal limits, as well as confidence that few such policies will be bought.)

        As to the second group, they’re strung out along a broad range, as your own characterization indicates. Are you suggesting that this varied group should have a unified answer? I’m in that group and I would not ban insurance coverage for abortion, period. Others might draw a line at sex-selection. Others might draw the line at coverage only for RU486. Who knows? People differ when they–as you yourself specified–differ.

        So I’m still left struggling to comprehend what your real question is. Because all the above feels like answers to non-questions, or attempts to dig into an issue where the questioner us still trying to figure out what his question is (which is a position I’m sure we’ve all been in–lord knows I have, often enough).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        So I’m still left struggling to comprehend what your real question is.

        Why should we hold the pro-abortion-on-demand position wrt insurance coverage rather than a position that would see, for example, sex-selection abortions as on par with cosmetic surgery?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        “Why should we hold the pro-abortion-on-demand position wrt insurance coverage rather than a position that would see, for example, sex-selection abortions as on par with cosmetic surgery?”

        Because in the former, intent has to be inferred; in the latter, intent is obvious.

        A doctor can review a patients file and determine whether a breast enlargement is being done for medical or cosmetic reasons. No one can look at a patient’s file and determine whether she is seeking an abortion because of the circumstances under which she became pregnant (e.g., raped), because of gender selection, or because she just plum doesn’t like condoms.

        More importantly, the law of the land makes no distinction between these intents; abortion is legal. Therefore, it seems to me to be very problematic to seek to create a law (not an internal policy of the insurer, but a law) which attempts to circumvent that woman’s right to an abortion because of her intent. I recognize the courts have already upheld that restrictions can be put in place for all sorts of reasons. But I don’t like any of those restrictions, nor do I like this one.

        If an insurer, who a patient has (presumably*) opted to do business with wants to stand between a woman and her abortion, so be it. But if the government or citizens otherwise uninvolved in her health care (and, no, I don’t consider the fact that fungible tax dollars may help pay for the procedure to be “involved”) want to stand in her way? Hell fishin’ no.

        * The extent to which people choose their insurers is a tricky one, which is why I’m okay with mandating certain basic provisions. Please note that mandating =! restricting.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        But I don’t like any of those restrictions, nor do I like this one.

        Why should we hold your “I don’t like” as more important than their “I don’t like”?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Well, let’s see…

        They are A) attempting to restrict people’s B) constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

        I thought Republicans were all about keeping the government out of health care?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        And I’m still unclear as to what your argument is. Poking holes in other people’s arguments is not, itself, an argument. Why don’t you make an assertive statement about what you think of this law. Not one that talks about “some people” but which explains what you, Jaybird, think about it.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @jaybird
        Why should we hold the pro-abortion-on-demand position wrt insurance coverage rather than a position that would see, for example, sex-selection abortions as on par with cosmetic surgery?

        Really? I’m afraid I still don’t follow. Is anyone arguing for banning basic insurance from covering cosmetic surgery? If not, and if the law–as I understand–does not forbid insurers from covering cosmetic surgery in a basic insurance policy, then it seems as though opponents of the Michigan law are holding sex-selection abortions on par with cosmetic surgery, no?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @kazzy
        More importantly, the law of the land makes no distinction between these intents; abortion is legal. Therefore, it seems to me to be very problematic to seek to create a law (not an internal policy of the insurer, but a law) which attempts to circumvent that woman’s right to an abortion because of her intent.

        Very well said. It may be the third time or so it’s been said here, but it still seems to need to be said.

        @jaybird,
        Why should we hold your “I don’t like” as more important than their “I don’t like”?

        This may be the first time I’ve heard a self-proclaimed libertarian ask why we should respect “I don’t want to intrude on your private choices” over “I do want to intrude on your private choices.” If you really need us to answer that for you, please turn over your small-l libertarian anti-membership card and swallow the orange pill that will erase your memory of how to do the secret handshake.

        (More succinctly; fer chrissake, what the hell kind of statist are you now?)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Perhaps you could see it as “why should we choose this intrusion into private choices over that intrusion into private choices?”

        Lasik eye surgery is perfectly legal in the US… and yet it is not covered by basic insurance. Is this a violation, at all?

        Why is arguing that abortion, if it is to be covered, should be covered by supplemental insurance a particularly egregious violation?

        I thought Republicans were all about keeping the government out of health care?

        And now that the government is in it, why are you surprised that Republicans are making themselves at home?

        If not, and if the law–as I understand–does not forbid insurers from covering cosmetic surgery in a basic insurance policy, then it seems as though opponents of the Michigan law are holding sex-selection abortions on par with cosmetic surgery, no?

        True enough. Instead of “cosmetic surgery”, I wish I could have come up with an example of elective surgery that has about half of the population morally opposed to it. If you’ve got an example, I’d love to hear it. If you don’t, I think that that establishes that abortion is a category that doesn’t compare well to other elective surgeries. (So Lasik is an inadequate comparison too.)Report

      • @jaybird
        “Lasik eye surgery is perfectly legal in the US… and yet it is not covered by basic insurance. Is this a violation, at all?

        Why is arguing that abortion, if it is to be covered, should be covered by supplemental insurance a particularly egregious violation?”

        These aren’t remotely the same issue as the govt isn’t mandating anything at all about Lasik ey surgery. I imagine, deep down, you understand this, but have just chased yourself down a rabbit hole.

        “True enough. Instead of “cosmetic surgery”, I wish I could have come up with an example of elective surgery that has about half of the population morally opposed to it. If you’ve got an example, I’d love to hear it. If you don’t, I think that that establishes that abortion is a category that doesn’t compare well to other elective surgeries.”

        Well, “elective” is doing a lot of work here, but, regardless, your last sentence seems like a cop out. I get where you were coming from at first, but you’re the one who started this whole line of comparisons, so it’s odd that you’re the one now suggesting that they’re not applicable.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        The folks over at Lawyers, Guns, and Money have talked in their somewhat stilted way about the root of conservative opposition to health care reform really being a basic opposition to the concept of health insurance. Mostly, I’ve considered that an exaggeration. But when it comes to being opposed to having one’s own covered health expenses mixed in with covered expenses for health procedures you have a personal moral objection to, the charge starts to seem more reasonable. The whole concept is that people throw in their expenses with those of others in an effort to flatten out uneven health spending over a lifetime and manage risk. When you start wanting to pick out procedures you don’t want to be responsible for helping cover one by one, or especially mandate that insurance contracts have to allow for that, the entire concept of insurance immediately starts to unravel. And it does seem to be conservatives who are looking to do that wrt to coverage for abortions.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @michael-drew

        Great point. Further segmentation of health insurance will lead to everyone paying increased rates. If MI plans suddenly are forced to put adoption on a supplemental plan, people who want the coverage will pay more. However, I find it highly unlikely that they will drop the cost of basic plans to compensate for this lost coverage.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        If Lasik ever becomes cheaper than glasses, it will be covered by vision insurance, because profitability. I thought libertarians favored that.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Perhaps you could see it as “why should we choose this intrusion into private choices over that intrusion into private choices?”

        Why should we see it that way? Who’s arguing for an either this intrusion or that intrusion approach? Aren’t you just shifting grounds again without yet becoming clear?

        Lasik eye surgery is perfectly legal in the US… and yet it is not covered by basic insurance. Is this a violation, at all?

        The issue is not whether something is or is not covered by basic insurance, but whether we’re going to ban, as a matter of law, something from being covered. And nobody’s arguing for banning Lasik. As long as your examples don’t match up with the “somebody’s arguing for banning basic coverage of it” situation of abortion, they have no place in the discussion.

        Are you sure you have any better idea what you’re really asking than we do? The way the question keeps mutating, but never arriving at a meaningful query, tends to suggest not..Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I think that that establishes that abortion is a category that doesn’t compare well to other elective surgeries.”

        But what does that mean? You seem to think it means something significant for the issue of whether we should allow private market arrangements for insuring it, but you haven’t even attempted to actually make an argument.

        Go big or go home, Jaybird. Time to quit playing small ball and put your ass on the line by making an actual argument instead of just hinting at one and challenging others to refute whatever the hell it is you’re hinting at without ever specifying.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Let me ask this…

        Whose rights are violated by allowing insurers to decide for themselves whether to include abortion in basic plans?

        Whose rights are violated by banning insurers from deciding for themselves whether to include abortion in basic plans?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        The moral opposition to abortion is one of those things that I don’t know how to weigh when it comes to insurance coverage.

        About 2/3rds of the population thinks that abortion should be legal in the first trimester (therefore we’re a pro-choice country!), but I don’t know if that translates to 2/3rds thinking that abortion should be covered by insurance, especially for the more voluntary versions of it… especially that given that about 2/3rds of the population thinks that abortion should be illegal in the third trimester.

        And given that supplemental insurance allows for the insurance to be purchased and, presumably, used to cover the procedure if it came to that, I don’t see how that is any more egregious a violation as any other number of violations that insurance in general tends to involve and, specifically, the violation that would be felt by the not-insignificant number of people who are morally opposed to the procedure for whatever reasons.

        Supplemental insurance seems a better solution than “suck it up, lifers”. I don’t understand why the converse would be the case.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        (Argh… this should have gone down here…)

        “…“suck it up, lifers”…”
        Suck what up? How are lifers harmed by allowing insurance companies to decide how to cover abortion?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Kazzy, it seems weird to talk about the rights of insurance companies in a post-Obamacare environment.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Yet here we are.

        So I ask again… exactly what must lifers “suck up” if insurer companies are not restricted from offering abortion in basic plans?Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Why should the post-Ocare enviro change anything about the rights of insurance companies. Before ocare insurance was a tax deductible expense so that effected the market and they also had other regulations. Inc Comp’s have had a variety of regulations for many years so this is just a different kind of reg. And to be really clear Inc Comps had significant influence on shaping Ocare so they haven’t been denied any voice.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Jay, if I were uninformed on the subject and was reading your arguments in this thread I think that (if they were detatched from the OP and any specific descriptions of the law in question were removed) I would assume you were arguing, very obliquely, against a law that compelled insurers to include abortion coverage in their basic coverage. If the law did that I think I -might- be picking up your wave length but in this case the law does the opposite of that; it forbids insurers from including abortion in basic coverage so I remain perplexed.

        Is your enigmatic point that you’re trying in some Socratic way to blame this new law on the reforms that the Obamacare ushered in*? Or are you trying to fill the in for the League’s mostly (and lamentably in my mind) absent red meat conservative wing? Or something else?

        *If it’s this you probably would need to lay it out in greater detail and back it up with some more direct assertions.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        You haven’t given any reason why opposition to abortion would justify banning basic insurance coverage for it. You’re coming from the position of trying to understand why it should be allowed if lots of people oppose it, but you haven’t explained why their opposition is relevant when we’re talking about a market transaction covering a legal activity.

        And given that supplemental insurance allows for the insurance to be purchased and, presumably, used to cover the procedure if it came to that, I don’t see how that is any more egregious a violation as any other number of violations that insurance in general tends to involve

        Nice of you to just wave your hands at the arguments that women are more likely togind themselves caught out or priced out of abortion indurance. No skin off your nose, no violation to worry about, eh? I think this is one of those cases where unexamined privilege might be a relevant issue.

        and, specifically, the violation that would be felt by the not-insignificant number of people who are morally opposed to the procedure for whatever reasons.

        Being morally offended by what others do means being violated? Have you pondered the implications of that standard? You’re making some big assumptions, but I don’t see you making much attempt to justify them. And you’re really talking to the wrong audience, I think, if you’re expecting to find much sympathy for that approach here.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        The moral opposition to abortion is one of those things that I don’t know how to weigh when it comes to insurance coverage.

        The moral opposition to drinking is one of those things that I don’t how know how to weigh when it comes to Sunday liquor sales.

        The moral opposition to same-sex marriage is one of those things that I don’t know how to weigh when it comes to selling figurines for wedding cakes.

        The moral opposition to drugs is one of those things that I don’t know how to measure when it comes to allowing medical marijuana sales.

        The moral opposition to gas guzzling SUVs is one of those things that I don’t know how to measure when it comes to auto insurance coverage.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I think I follow what Jay is saying. How do you enter strong moral oppositions into a cost-benefit analysis? With abortion, this is particularly problematic because, at least to the pro-lifers, one set of agents involved has no say, so someone else has to speak for them, and that is an inherently moral stance (not moral in the sense of an evaluation, but moral in the sense that it concerns morality). The question for them is not whether they are harmed, but whether someone who cannot speak for themselves is harmed. How do you weigh that, when the purported agent in question is incapable of speaking? Even more, when its agency is the question itself, as weighed against the agency of the mother?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Of course, whether abortions are covered by basic or supplemental insurance doesn’t speak directly to those questions. It raises subsidiary questions about shared costs and increased access.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        For as much as you are correct Chris, and i think you are to a great degree, that lays out what this entire issue is about. It’s not about insurance; it’s all about abortion. Insurance is just the current venue. if we had single payer then it would be an issue; if there was no HCR then clinics would be the issue or funding for PP or some other thing.

        There is a question that often gets asked, but never answered as far as i’ve seen, regarding people having there money pooled into a giant pot to provide a service where they might disapprove of something that is done (ie: insurance) , how far does the ability of people who disapprove of something go to prevent anyone else from benefiting from that service. Can blood transfusions be prevented, or smokers or obese people denied treatment. Can any religious belief prevent any sort of government or government linked service?Report

      • How it gets entered is subsidiary to the question of whether its legitimately entered. Jaybird has yet to suggest a principle other than mere moral offense. That’s not a libertarian vector, of course, so maybe that’s why he’s struggling here. From a soc con perspective it’s sufficient, but not for a libertarian.

        You, Chris, bring in the possible harmed party, that can’t speak for itself. That’s a more legitimate route, but Jaybird hasn’t taken that route. And while it’s a good route to challenge the legality if abortion, it can’t justify distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate methods of paying for the immoral act, as though murder becomes less immoral if properly funded.

        Which brings war to mind, but I’ll stop there for now.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Yeah, from the pro-life perspective, these questions speak indirectly to the ultimate moral one — the harm of an agent that can’t speak for itself — through the question of access (making it more difficult to access abortion should, theoretically, decrease the number of abortions) as well as the question of pooled costs. They don’t want to pay for abortions, even indirectly. This is why the very concept of tax-funded medical insurance paying for abortion is so offensive to them. I imagine it plays a role in why any basic insurance coverage of abortion is offensive to them. But the real issue, the real reason they want to restrict how abortion gets funded, is because they want to restrict access. You’ll notice that virtually all of the anti-abortion laws passed for some time now are aimed at limiting access: increasing the standards for providers so that many will have to close, adding waiting times, requiring parental notification, requiring invasive medical tests, etc. The insurance laws are just another route they’re taking to limit access.

        The only reasons for doing so are moral. There are no extra-moral reasons for limiting access legislatively. It’s not a medical issue (save as an issue as medical ethics, which brings us back to it being a moral issue), it’s not an issue of harm to any other mutually agreed upon agents (obviously the fetus’ status is not mutually agreed upon). It’s only a question of the morality of the procedure. And the moral justification for limiting access rests entirely on beliefs about the status of the fetus, which means that the only moral justification for limiting access legislatively has to do with that status. I think that, if you believe that the fetus is a moral agent, a person, to which all of the basic rights of persons apply, then that’s a valid position to take, it seems to me. To such people, limited access is a compromise necessitated by the current state of Constitutional law, which says that you cannot outlaw abortion outright, at least in the first trimester.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Can blood transfusions be prevented, or smokers or obese people denied treatment.

        For what it’s worth, I’ve seen it argued very seriously that smokers or obese people ought to pay more. Indeed, if you go on the individual health insurance route (as Maribou and I have done early in our marriage), you will find yourself standing on a scale in your insurance agent’s office.

        Jaybird has yet to suggest a principle other than mere moral offense.

        It seems to me that moral offense is one of those motivators that, if it is going to be dismissed, needs to be dismissed very carefully… lest we find that our standards be held against us when we are out of power.

        Or are you trying to fill the in for the League’s mostly (and lamentably in my mind) absent red meat conservative wing?

        I suppose that that is kinda it. I, personally, see the law as yet another attempt of the Republicans to shoot themselves in the foot when given a state like Michigan on a silver platter… but I do find abortion to be a minefield even today and, unlike gay marriage, I find that the conservative intuition deserves to be treated a little better than it tends to be.

        As it is, my intuition towards most of the folks who want abortions for the “other” reasons is “given the decision you’ve made, I couldn’t dream of disagreeing with you about how awful a parent you’d make”.

        I wish there were a real pro-lifer here.Report

      • from the pro-life perspective, these questions speak indirectly to the ultimate moral one — the harm of an agent that can’t speak for itself

        Right, and as you say it’s a valid position. But when it’s essentially reduced to just moral offensiveness–and I’d argue Jaybird has done so–it loses any meaningful “bite.”

        But the real issue, the real reason they want to restrict how abortion gets funded, is because they want to restrict access.

        I argued this above, and I think someone else did, too. Jsybird’s response was to accuse them of bad faith (when I was arguing that they were being honest about that!), so apparently for him there is more to the issue than that. Or was. Anyway, given that, I think you’re no longer explaining his meaning, if that’s what you were intending to be doing.

        notice that virtually all of the anti-abortion laws passed for some time now are aimed at limiting access

        To be fair, they don’t have much choice. Head-on attacks have been legal and political dead ends for going on two generations now.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        You are absolutely correct Jay that if you are obese or a smoker private HI plans will make you pay more. Their numbers people will, correctly, say that people with those problems cost more so they want to charge more to cover them. In fact some people with smoking or obesity related conditions USED to be denied care. I say they used to be denied care because HI companies would say they had a pre-exsisiting condition and refuse to insure them. That is a strictly market based decision, absolutely nothing moral about it at all depending on how you looked at it. Now with Ocare people can’t be denied care based on pre-exsisting conditions. This does put people with a strong moral/religious belief that people should suffer the consequences of their actions and that good upstanding people shouldn’t’ have to pay for them in a moral quandary. It seems like some people’s moral beliefs are being trounced on here.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I don’t really want to try to speak for Jaybird. I just thought that I had some sense of what he was trying to say. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I’ve never been very good at figuring out what any y’all crazy people are trying to say anyway ;).

        However, looking back through the thread at where Jay explicitly suggested that some were assuming the pro-life side to be acting in bad faith, it was in response to Still listing both possible ways in which they were acting in good faith, of which limiting access was one, and possible ways in which they were acting in bad faith. Jay, as I read it, was suggesting that people weren’t generally assuming the good faith reasons (of which, again, reducing access was one), but the bad faith ones (political self-interest, e.g.).

        I don’t think suggesting that they are trying to limit access can be reasonably attributed to their acting in bad faith. Now, they sometimes try to justify limiting access through irrelevant reasons, like the health of the woman, and in such cases they are clearly acting in bad faith, but that’s the sort of bad faith that is part and parcel of our political process. Hell, look at how we name our laws (the “Patriot Act”!!!). But limiting access is clearly their goal, and it’s a goal that fits with their basic moral position, given the barriers they have been forced to navigate. So there’s no assumption of bad faith in saying so, and I don’t think Jaybird was saying there is.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        It seems like some people’s moral beliefs are being trounced on here.

        I’m sure that with a little effort, employers will find a way to drop insurance altogether if they find they’re paying too much due to smokers and/or obese workers.

        I hear stories about people being asked if they smoke before they’re hired. I wasn’t asked this so I can’t confirm but I think it’s an interesting question… and certainly raises an interesting issue if, in fact, insurance costs are part of the inspiration for asking it.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Jaybird, you wrote

        It seems to me that moral offense is one of those motivators that, if it is going to be dismissed, needs to be dismissed very carefully… lest we find that our standards be held against us when we are out of power.

        which makes no sense to me at all given a) your whole argument to this point is based on “moral offense” and b) unless you’re identifying with Michigan Conservatives, your “team” is not in power. It’s also puzzling given the concluding paragraph of your comment, where you write

        As it is, my intuition towards most of the folks who want abortions for the “other” reasons is “given the decision you’ve made, I couldn’t dream of disagreeing with you about how awful a parent you’d make”.

        which rather demonstrates that you find elective abortion morally offensive, no?

        So why not just come out and admit that you’re pro-life and become the person you wish would show up here? I mean, this thread reads like an intervention.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        So why not just come out and admit that you’re pro-life and become the person you wish would show up here? I mean, this thread reads like an intervention.

        I know you’re being snarky, but I think that’s a dangerous path to go down. If someone says they’re pro-choice, but arguing a position because the position is not represented here, I see no reason not to take them at their word. What’s more, if someone doesn’t want to be saddled with a label, because that label carries with it all sorts of inferences that are irrelevant to the discussion at hand, then even if they would, under other circumstances, apply that label to themselves, I see no reason to go against their wishes and do so unless it would actually further the discussion (which it rarely would).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        So why not just come out and admit that you’re pro-life and become the person you wish would show up here?

        Because I believe that my jurisdiction has limits.

        On top of that, I believe that it would be more wrong for me to prevent abortion than would be caused by the abortion itself.

        And, if Freakanomics is even mostly right about the decrease of crime in the 90’s, I’d rather pay the low, low price of abortion than the higher one of crime and incarceration.

        But none of those things make certain optional forms of abortion less morally ugly.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        but arguing a position because the position is not represented here

        After having lots of discussions with Jaybird about abortion, I’m pretty sure he leans pro-life. But actually being pro-life means using state power to limit the types of procedures women can engage in. And that’s inconsistent with libertarianism, as James very succinctly pointed out upthread.

        Further, I find no utility at all in arguing for absent individuals except insofar as doing so keeps the hordes on a clear argumentative track and to prevent strawmanning. But that’s not what Jaybird is doing in this thread: he’s crawling into people’s heads to offer what they’re justifications might be for supporting the Michigan bill. Again, as James said upthread, there’s nothing mysterious or non-obvious about pro-life positions, arguments and goals. We all know them, so imagining some new set of arguments that haven’t been articulated isn’t defending anyone. In fact, it seems to me an expression of dishonesty.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Jaybird, then I really wonder why you’ve wasted so much time arguing for a view you don’t endorse and wasting lots of other people’s time by challenging them to accept a view that you don’t in fact hold (a view that I’m entirely unclear on, btw, but I’ve refrained from engaging too much since I know that arguing with you is like trying to catch the wind with may hands.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Jaybird, maybe I’m being unfair to you. Maybe I’m just confused about what you’re arguing. For example, maybe I’m just confused about how these two sentences square up:

        a) Because I believe that my jurisdiction has limits.

        and

        b)It seems to me that moral offense is one of those motivators that, if it is going to be dismissed, needs to be dismissed very carefully…

        I mean, I can square them up – and I have – but perhaps I’m wrong. how do you square em?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I really wonder why you’ve wasted so much time arguing for a view you don’t endorse and wasting lots of other people’s time by challenging them to accept a view that you don’t in fact hold

        I’m not trying to get them to accept it, Stillwater. I’m not trying to convert people to a pro-life point of view, here.

        And, to be honest, I probably measure the value of time differently than most insofar as I don’t find the time spent on this today time wasted except insofar as I’ve failed to communicate any of my points… but that’s on me.

        how do you square em?

        I do my best to square them by using the Silver Rule and by measuring the various amounts of harm done/prevented by the various first order effects (and, to some degree, the second order effects insofar as they seem measurable)… but doing that relies a lot on moral intuitions and those can be downright qualitative.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Eh, I see a bunch of reasons for playing devil’s advocate, in a sense, in a thread like this. The OP calls Michigan’s legislature the worst in the country because it has passed a law the justification for which no one here accepts, or at least no one here who accepts it is willing to speak up (which could be a problem in itself). I actually agree that it is a bad law. I don’t think it’s the worst, because even if we limit ourselves to abortion, Texas’ recent legislation does more harm, but that’s another discussion.

        For this one, there is a risk greater than merely creating straw man versions of the people who do support laws like this, and that’s vilifying them. If you’ve spent any time on partisan blogs, you’ve probably seen this happen more than once. The process is pretty simple and straightforward: no one here agrees with this law, which we find morally atrocious, so who would agree with this law? Morally atrocious people, that’s who! And if one or two people happens to show up and try to argue for the law, they’re quickly shouted down as morally atrocious trolls. The very possibility of dialogue becomes nil.

        Now, I don’t think that happened here, but there’s something to be said for keeping a place from becoming an echo chamber, because that will happen in echo chambers. It’s inevitable. I can’t think of one liberal blog that I read where I haven’t seen it become the norm over the years, when discussing conservatives. And liberal echo chambers are not, generally, as bad as conservative ones in this regard.

        Since this blog doesn’t have many social conservatives, or at least it doesn’t have many vocal ones, keeping it from becoming an echo chamber is basically up to those who actually agree with each other.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @chris,

        I have to disagree with you. I don’t think you’ve gotyen Jaybird’s position right. As much as anything, though, that’s because I don’t think he actually has one with any clarity in his own mind. At every iteration he’s shifted and reframed, as he–I think–has tried to figure out himself what on earth he’s trying to say.

        There’s a common theme at this thread that we should try to read charitably. I’d argue the corollary is that we should also write charitably, try to help others understand what we’re saying. And when we don’t, recognize that we have no claim on others’ charity in reading (and who knows, maybe Jaybird does recognize that).

        And as to trying to present another position than our own, there are effective and ineffective ways to do that. Granted that everyone still seems unsure what Jaybird’s real point was, I think it’s safe to say he did it ineffectively, due in part to his refusal/inability to write charitably. And that invites, practically sits up and begs, people to put labels on you, as they struggle to create some kind of context by which to make sense of what one’s saying.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Chris, fair enough. We’ve all got cards on the table at this point, and I’m certainly willing to let the whole thing go even tho I don’t agree with your take on what Jaybird is doing in this thread. Nor do I find Jaybird’s most recent response a compelling answer to the question I asked, given his arguments in this thread.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        If I’m wrong about what he’s saying, I’m wrong about what he’s saying. Like I said, y’all crazy people are always speakin’ Greek to me anyway. (I don’t actually think you’re crazy, and I don’t mean to insult the Greeks.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        James., I don’t mean to pat myself on the back too hard here (I’d hate to strain anything, I have to work tomorrow) but I think I have presented the conservative view on the Michigan bill quite a few times, quite charitably, and quite clearly. It’s not that hard to do!!!

        If the argument is about the “moral offensiveness” of elective abortion, then that’s also a view that could be articulated quite clearly. And without attributing that view to a proxy.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @stillwater

        After having lots of discussions with Jaybird about abortion, I’m pretty sure he leans pro-life. But actually being pro-life means using state power to limit the types of procedures women can engage in. And that’s inconsistent with libertarianism, as James very succinctly pointed out upthread.

        Not exactly. I said legislation based on moral offense is inconsistent with libertarianism. But legislation based on harm isn’t, so to the extent a libertarian identifies the fetus as a person, one who obviously is harmed by abortion, a libertarian can consistently argue for laws against it, just as they can consistently argue for laws against theft, rape, kidnapping, murder, etc.

        That’s why I say Jaybird lost his argument by avoiding the harm claim and staking his claiim on moral offense. I mean, if real live babies are being killed, the objection is just that it offends some people? How bizarre is that? (Not that I accord feti person status myself, but from my own experience I fully understand why others do.)

        Again, as James said upthread, there’s nothing mysterious or non-obvious about pro-life positions, arguments and goals. We all know them, so imagining some new set of arguments that haven’t been articulated isn’t defending anyone. In fact, it seems to me an expression of dishonesty.
        Yeah, this I agree with. The pro-life position is, if nothing else, a position of great moral clarity. It’s simple, which is a great part of its strength. If in fact Jaybird was trying to prsesent that view–and I’m unpersuaded there is any clear answer to what he was trying to do–the wonder is that he did it so very badly, losing the moral clarity in a befuddled search for non-persuasive subtleties.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        @stillwater

        Yes, you have.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        The position I took Jaybird to be taking was not merely that there is a moral position opposed to abortion, but that it is a position that should be considered in any discussion of laws like this one, and not merely dismissed as a strictly moral position. I, personally, think it’s valid to make moral arguments for and against policy, and I don’t think “harm,” which is, absent specific moral positions, a rather vague term, can do all of the work for them. Therefore, I agree with him that we dismiss moral arguments from the game at our own peril.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Let me put it this way, Chris. Moral claims that invoke only offense, not harm, have an uphill climb to legitimacy that brings to mind the Cliffs of Despair.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Therefore, I agree with him that we dismiss moral arguments from the game at our own peril.

        Man, I wish you did all his interpreting for him. It’s so … clear. Succinct. Understandable.

        (I don’t think that’s what he was arguing.)

        If his (limited) jurisdiction includes the “moral offense” other people take, then his jurisdiction includes their moral offense, no? Isn’t that a … pragmatist?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        wasting lots of other people’s time

        As much as I’m persuaded Jaybird’s earned about all the kicks he’s gotten and maybe more, it’s only fair to point out that he hasn’t forced us into arguing with him. If our time’s been wasted, it’s no one’s fault but our own.Report

      • Avatar trumwill in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Over the years, Jaybird has been pretty clear and consistent on his views of abortion: He is against it, but is really strongly against its criminalization.

        (He also doesn’t seem genuinely supportive of backdoor ways of the state throwing up roadblocks to prevent it.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        If our time’s been wasted, it’s no one’s fault but our own.

        True. And in my case, it’s not all that much since I’m enjoying the interactions with you and Chris quite a bit. I agree with you’re clarification about libertarian support of abortion restrictions and the harm principle. That was a very good addition to the discussion, one that I’d glossed over but is actually very relevant in this discussion.

        And I hope this doesn’t sound negative, since I mean it in the best possible way, but I’m really enjoying Chris’ heroic attempts to make sense of jaybird’s comments, not only because I appreciate his interest in trying to make them cohere, but because he’s presenting views that are pretty subtle and very interesting regarding the whole discussion. But for all his efforts, he’s making Jaybird sound like a bit of a statist.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        (He also doesn’t seem genuinely supportive of backdoor ways of the state throwing up roadblocks to prevent it.)

        Except for his defense of the Michigan bill, right?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        (Found the comment I can click reply to.)

        If I’m making Jaybird sound like a statist, I’m sure that’s entirely on me.Report

      • Avatar trumwill in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Does he actually support it, or is he just defending it? I’d assumed the latter. If so, it would be a counterexample. Not one that constitutes him leaning pro-life, though, in the political sense.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I don’t think so, Chris. 🙂Report

      • Avatar trumwill in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        “If so” meaning “if the former.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Does he actually support it, or is he just defending it?

        I do not support the law. If asked about it for polling purposes, I’d say I was against it. If this law were on a public ballot, I’d vote against it. If I were a politician asked to vote on it, I’d vote against it.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        If this law were on a public ballot, I’d vote against it. If I were a politician asked to vote on it, I’d vote against it.

        But would you understand why you opposed it? Or be able to articulate it?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I’d probably talk about the Republican War On Women and how they want a government small enough to fit in your bedroom. If feeling feisty, I might say that the people who passed this law were awful people and just leave it at that.Report

  12. Avatar Chris says:

    Moving this down here because I can’t find the last comment I can reply to:

    I can’t think of any definition of moral offense that doesn’t also involve harm. That is, when one is morally offended it’s because one believes that a harm has been done. If one does not believe that a harm has been done, but one is still morally offended, I’m not sure what that would mean.Report

    • Avatar trumwill in reply to Chris says:

      This seems right to me. The sticking point often seems to be the validity of believing something immoral when it only harms the actor(s). When people talk about “harm” it seems to me that they are often referring specifically to harm to others. Which is why we often couch cases where we are concerned about the harm that an actor is doing to himself or herself as actually doing harm to someone else in a very, very indirect way (“Their obesity is costing me money!”), or else removing agency from the actor(s) (“They don’t realize how unhealthy that is” or “They are only eating that because they have been suckered by Big Food.”).Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

      Usually, at least on my understanding, the Harm Principle conceptually depends on a concept of rights where a Harm is defined as a violation of a right.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Chris says:

      Same-sex marriage.

      It’s really simple, I think. A harm, from a libertarian perspective, is something that is done to someone against their will that makes them worse off than they were before. So if you think I am harming myself by getting me some gay loving, you’re wrong; it’s not a harm regardless of how strongly you believe it is or how morally offended you are by it.

      Having a drink, or smoking a joint (and assuming you don’t get drunk and fight, or drive under the influence)–my great grandfather the prohibitionist was mighty morally offended by that, and believed people were harming themselves by the sin of having a beer at lunch then walking a block back to their office. He was wrong.

      Masturbation.

      Tattoos and piercings.

      Oral sex.

      Bikinis.

      Rockenroll music.

      Sex outside marriage.

      Sex within marriage for non-procreative purposes.

      All these are perceived by some people as moral offenses. But the claim of harm is either absent (and irrelevant in their minds, as the immorality itself is sufficient) or is present but not persuasive from a libertarian perspective.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        James, I agree with you on every one of those, but not based on an individualist conception of harm. To be honest, I’m not sure you can get to that level of individualism in a conception of harm without first starting with a broader, non-individualist level of harm, at least not in a basic social theory, but that’s a broader discussion (one that would take place not just as libertarians vs statists, but at a higher level of abstraction). For now, I think it’s sufficient to note that the people who are opposed to the things you mentioned aren’t, in general, operating under the same individualist principles that you are. For them, there are issues of social or collective moral harm that can trump individual rights. We can argue all day about the validity of those, and the ways in which they can be dangerous (though note that they’ve been the way we’ve conceived morality for pretty much the whole of human history, are are probably deeply ingrained in our brains), but again, that’s a separate, more basic discussion.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Argh, I meant to include a link to this at the end of that comment.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        For now, I think it’s sufficient to note that the people who are opposed to the things you mentioned aren’t, in general, operating under the same individualist principles that you are. For them, there are issues of social or collective moral harm that can trump individual rights.

        Well, yes, they’re the ones I’m claiming are wrong. I’m not unaware of them; I’m in battle against them.

        Understand, I’m not arguing for radical individualism. I know humans are innately social animals–ostracism is literally dehumanization. But I believe only voluntary societies can be fully justified. The smaller scale a group or society, the more fully voluntary it can–potentially–be, and the larger it is the less voluntary it has the potential to be. The more fully voluntary a group/society, the more constraints on the indivudual it can legitimately employ, because we can be reasonably sure–by definition–of consent.

        My objection to people who focus on groups is that they glorify groups that are much less voluntary. And that level, to focus on the group is not to humanize the individual by placing them in the context of a group, as it is at a lower, more intimate level, a level predicted, one might say, by Dunbar’s rule, but to dehumanize them by making them just an irrelevant unit within a group so large as to make them anonymous, stripped of individuality.

        All that’s just a long winded way of warning not to think of a focus on individual harm as radically individualistic or anti-social. I don’t know that you’re taking it that way, but many do.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Just so we’re clear, I don’t think radical individualism, or individualism generally, is necessarily anti-social. I think it’s even possible to justify individualism on social grounds (some of the consequentialists around here do that regularly).Report

      • All these are perceived by some people as moral offenses. But the claim of harm is either absent (and irrelevant in their minds, as the immorality itself is sufficient) or is present but not persuasive from a libertarian perspective.

        The last clause for me is the key. Almost anyone can find some “present” harm in almost any activity they find “immoral,” but the question is at what point that harm is present enough to justify the state’s intervention? I’m not sure of the answer, although on all your examples I agree with you.Report

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