In the law, what is left unsaid is as important as what is said. Nowhere is this more true than in the thousands of pages of the joyless actuarial jargon, bureaucratic alphabet soup, and onslaught of new taxes that make up the so-called “Affordable Care Act,” more commonly known as ObamaCare. In particular, the omissions of ObamaCare have resulted in a silent and hidden tax on pregnancy—indeed, on life itself. The liberal welfare state prides itself on caring for people from cradle to grave, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make it as difficult as possible to get to the cradle in the first place.
Contrary to the President’s assurances, if you are lucky enough to still have a full-time job and insurance after the last four and a half years you may have noticed that your health coverage has been changing lately. Like the faded and peeling Obama 2012 bumper stickers that were once ubiquitous, insurance plans that cover 100% of costs have all but vanished. Instead, only preventative care is required by law to be fully covered. Of course, what qualifies as preventative care is open to interpretation.
“Qualified expenses” is a term you are sure to hear a lot in the coming months. The same crack squad of friendly tax lawyers that has been harassing private citizens and spying on Obama’s political enemies now has the power to decide if, say, prenatal vitamins are a qualified expense (hint: they aren’t, unless you have a prescription and buy the generic brand). Same goes for visits to your OB-GYN. All insurance plans are required to cover maternity care, but crucially, the law doesn’t say how much has to be covered.
As a result, Sandra Fluke has her 100% taxpayer funded contraception—by law—for what good it will do her, but if she ever decides to have a child she will have a to pony up a serious chunk of change. Instead of paying a $25 copay, she can look forward to spending a hundred dollars in coinsurance per visit (obstetricians are specialists after all) and then the mother of all deductibles when she arrives at the labor and delivery ward. Under ObamaCare, pregnancy is to be treated like any other illness, fertility is a chronic disease, and birth control is the means of preventing it.
The liberal view is that the world would be a better place if there were fewer people in it (starting with those evil conservatives who insist on having more than two children, one suspects). Now liberals ensconced in the Leviathan of the federal bureaucracy have an invasive and powerful law which aims to accomplish exactly that. Ironically, for a law which is rightly derided for its ponderous and incomprehensible massiveness, all this terrifying and tyrannical power is granted by what the law doesn’t say.
ObamaCare has fundamentally changed the relationship of government towards the people. Instead of serving the public good, bureaucrats in Washington now view citizens as an expense to be minimized but, pace Howard Dean, Sarah Palin was wrong about the death panels. It’s much cheaper for the government to simply prevent people from being born at all. China has the one-child policy. In America, we’re not quite that bad–yet. Instead, we have the ObamaCare pregnancy tax.