The never-ending debate on Obamacare

After Mass on Sunday, some friends were chatting about the political news of the day, and of course, Obamacare came up. (What else?)

Most of us support Obamacare, or, more correctly, the Affordable Care Act. But one person asked in a disapproving tone, "Why should a man or a woman after menopause pay for maternity care? They will never use it, and they don't need it." (For those who may not know, maternity care must be covered in health plans offered on the Obamacare exchanges.)

I found my back arching and my ire rising. "I would pay it gladly," I replied, "because we are all in this together, and that's the way we need to look at health care."

Even if I weren't in a religious community, I am well past childbearing age. In fact, I enjoy the benefits of that wonderful single-payer system we call Medicare. But if I were younger and on the exchanges, I'd be glad for the comprehensive coverage that could help a lot of women.

Then I happened to read E.J. Dionne Jr.'s column in The Washington Post on Monday only to discover that this very point has been talked up on Fox News (where else?) this past week. When it comes to any philosophy that involves "bearing one another's burdens," I think it's fair to say that Fox News does not get it.

But E.J. took it further. Many of those, especially in the political arena, who object to covering maternity care are also strong opponents of abortion. This does not make sense. Wouldn't coverage of maternity care and assurance that the child's health care will be covered after birth be a deterrent to abortion? You would think so.

But ideological contradictions never stopped a politician. I wonder if the U.S. bishops will have anything to say about maternity coverage this week. I'm not holding my breath.

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