While the smartest move, politically speaking, would be for conservatives to throw Mike Huckabee under the bus after his recent remarks (he implied that believing a woman has contraception needs is the exact same thing as believing she is sexually incontinent), it appears conservative pundits are choosing to try to defend him instead. So it was that Sean Hannity found himself getting aggressive with a woman who called into his show to support the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring insurance plans to cover contraception as preventive care.
Hannity griped, “Why are people accused of waging a war on women if they don’t want to pay for their birth control, which is inexpensive?” When his caller tried to point out that not everyone has that kind of money, he started to holler, “But why don’t women like yourself, then, maybe then have an ‘adopt-a-woman’ birth control program? In other words, why should the government be doing it?”
You may think I’m going to try to argue Sean Hannity down, but in fact, I think he’s onto something here. Perhaps there could be a program where everyone who needs health care, including contraception, pays into a common pool that we can draw out of. You could pay monthly into it—let’s call that payment a “premium”—and when you need things like drugs or doctor’s visits, you could show a membership card instead of writing a check. Some employers might elect to save money by buying group plans instead of having their employees buy individually. We’d need some anti-discrimination rules to make it fair, so things like contraception should be covered regardless of your personal hang-ups about female sexuality. You can call it an “adopt-a-woman” program, I guess, but I think a simpler term that would both be more comprehensive and male-inclusive would be “health insurance.”
Oh wait. That would actually be the very program called “Obamacare” that Hannity hates so much. Maybe he should reconsider this brilliant plan of his.
All jokes aside, Hannity’s boo-boo here was the result of a larger lie, perpetuated by Mike Huckabee and the folks at Fox News and other right wing media outlets: That the contraception mandate is about the “government” or “Uncle Sugar” buying women’s birth control. In reality, the contraception mandate is closer to a consumer protection law. It’s really part of a larger program in the Affordable Care Act to set minimum standards about what your insurance plan must cover. It’s really no different than a law requiring a car to have four wheels and two headlights to be considered a street legal vehicle. It’s telling that Sean Hannity, Mike Huckabee, Bill O’Reilly, and company feel the need to simply lie about this and claim that there’s some kind of taxpayer program directly providing free birth control to women (ironically, they largely ignore actual, long-standing, politically popular programs that do this), because objecting to the real program—women buy insurance, that insurance covers contraception—sounds an awful lot like you are unduly obsessed with what other people get up to in bed.