Friday, March 10, 2017

John Shimkus in the news

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.

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.]
Notice though that Consumer Reports has limited the question to childless men. Shimkus was speaking of all men.

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.

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.
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.


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 Godot Shimkus

comments: 6

The Arthurian said...

Consumer Reports has the economic story, I'd say, while the Chicago Tribune covers the social, biological, cultural and moral.

“I don’t have children in school” can be broadened to include all objections to paying taxes which arise from policy that taxpayers find objectionable.

This reminds me of something Arnold J. Toynbee wrote (in Somervell's abridged A Study of History. In the quote, taken from my old notes, I use XXX to represent the ancient Greek word used in the book:

"The XXX, in fifth-century Greek usage, was a superior personality who committed the social offense of living by and for himself instead of putting his gifts at the service of the common weal; and the light in which such behaviour was regarded in Periclean Athens is illustrated by the fact that, in our modern vernaculars, the derivative of this Greek word (idiot) has come to mean an imbecile."

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for reminding me, and anyone reading, about the origins of idiot. When I saw the Xs, I suspected that was where you were headed. I have no problem applying that ancient meaning to Shimkus.

P.S.: I almost used the wordpolis in my post, but I thought I might be overdoing it. I’m glad that you brought the Greeks in.

Slywy said...

You have to wear some pretty thick blinders not to understand how a thing benefits you as a member of society if not you personally. I don't have to have children to understand that it's important that children be educated, have inoculations, etc. I don't have to drive to support road maintenance. I don't have to be mentally ill to want support services for the mentally ill. Why adults struggle with this concept (or, more likely, choose to struggle with it) escapes me.

Michael Leddy said...

Difficult too to fathom how a self-styled defender of the sanctity of life like Shimkus can take this position.

Daughter Number Three said...

Well, here's the silver lining: unlike the rest of us, you can say "I am your constituent" when you call him to tell him how wrong he is.

Michael Leddy said...

Which I did. I got the answering machine.