Our representative in Congress, John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15), is in the news, having questioned whether prenatal care should be part of the cost of men’s health insurance. After all, men don’t have babies. That’s like a totally female thing.
Here, from Consumer Reports, is a helpful explanation of why men should have to pay for prenatal care. An excerpt:
Health insurance, like all insurance, works by pooling risks. The healthy subsidize the sick, who could be somebody else this year and you next year. Those risks include any kind of health care a person might need from birth to death—prenatal care through hospice. No individual is likely to need all of it, but we will all need some of it eventually.Notice though that Consumer Reports has limited the question to childless men. Shimkus was speaking of all men.
So, as a middle-aged childless man you resent having to pay for maternity care or kids’ dental care. Shouldn’t turnabout be fair play? Shouldn’t pregnant women and kids be able to say, “Fine, but in that case why should we have to pay for your Viagra, or prostate cancer tests, or the heart attack and high blood pressure you are many times more likely to suffer from than we are?” Once you start down that road, it’s hard to know where to stop. If you slice and dice risks, eventually you don't have a risk pool at all, and the whole idea of insurance falls apart. [My emphasis.]
Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune offers offers further reasons why men should have to pay for prenatal care:
Because lots of men have sex with women.Another Tribune item sums up matters in its headline: “U.S. Rep. John Shimkus’s foot finds warm welcome in mouth.” But Shimkus’s suggestion about prenatal care is not a mere gaffe, an “unfortunate choice of words,” as they say. His words reveal a fundamentally ungenerous regard for those who are not in his own comfortable shoes. It’s the same narrow, selfish thinking that underwrites, say, an older voter’s choice not to approve a bond issue for schools or libraries: “I don’t have children in school.” “I don’t use the library.” “Why should I,” &c.
Because a lot of that sex produces babies.
Because men and women have an equal stake in those babies being born healthy.
Because all of us, even when we’re not the parents of those babies, have a stake in those babies being born healthy.
Because healthy babies, ideally, turn into healthy children.
March 11: Shimkus is standing by his remarks.
Three more posts with John Shimkus
Shimkus and the NRA : : Shimkus says that Bruce Rauner can make the trains run on time : Waiting for