Why Mr. Kyl Needs Maternity Coverage

Just before the Senate Finance Committee wrapped up for the long weekend, members debated one of Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-AZ) amendments, which would strike language defining which benefits employers are required to cover.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) argued that insurers must be required to cover basic maternity care. (In several states there are no such requirements.)

“I don’t need maternity care,” Kyl said. “So requiring that on my insurance policy is something that I don’t need and will make the policy more expensive.”

Stabenow interrupted: “I think your mom probably did.”

This little slice of Senate life goes right to the heart of America’s healthcare crisis.

Extensive maternity care for all — from family planning through delivery — is an essential proponent of any sensible healthcare system. Nations with universal coverage typically include generous maternity leave prior to and after birth, providing the new parents with several layers of support.

The benefits to the parents are obvious: they receive all the care they need and they are able to spend time with their new baby, away from work, and without having to worry about money.

The benefits to society are just as important: expectant mothers who do not receive essential care have poorer outcomes, in part because of the missing care, and in part because of the disabling force of financial stress. A society peopled by a significant percentage of “poorer outcomes” suffers a range of ill effects, including unhealthy citizens who need far more medical care/spending than was “saved” by scrimping on maternity care.

Most everywhere but America they’ve figured this out and have better medical outcomes while spending less money.

Mr. Kyl and his buddies call this socialized medicine, a pronouncement that can stop all rational thought and serious discussion in America. They prefer instead the practice of Anti-Social Medicine, where everybody is on their own, where nobody should have to care about anyone beyond their own family, and where sickness profiteers make everything so expensive that only the rich get decent care.

Senator Stabenow’s reply did not go far enough: we shouldn’t insist on full and generous maternity benefits in all coverage plans because our mothers, wives, and daughters might need it, but because when we do not extend equal care to every newborn we violate the principles that inspired America — all are created equal and are equally endowed….

Michael Sky | Thinking Peace