Sunday, November 03, 2013

"Obamacare": Is the individual mandate "fair" to LGBT people?

Here we go again.  Do the minimum requirements for individual policies in Obamacare force some individuals to “sacrifice” to pay for the problems of others?  Isn’t that a sore point and something a lot of us have a bone to pick with? The New York Times weighs in on Sunday morning November 3, 2013 with an editorial (p. 10, Review), on the problems of policies not being renewed after Dec. 31, “Policies not worth keeping: Planes with inadequate coverage will be canceled, but consumers won’t be left out in the cold”, link here.
OK, a relatively young single adult might face some issues.  Suppose I “imagine myself naked” at age 30 or so (much more pleasant than now at 70).  I could, as a gay male, resent paying for a woman’s maternity or pregnancy.  If I were a married man, I would feel it’s in my interest to share coverage. Although I escaped exposure to HIV (apparently), I certainly welcome coverage for it.  I don’t mind paying property taxes that largely go toward supporting public school systems, but after all, I got a public education myself and the school system was my major employer in the previous decade, so paying for someone else’s childbearing expenses might not seem so out of line by comparison.  And it probably doesn’t add much.

What about paying for mental health and substance abuse problems>  I do resent the drug addiction problem coverage.   On the mental health, I had a spate of psychiatric intervention myself as a young adult.  It arguably was the result of other people’s wrongdoing, but that is partly what insurance is for – to pay for harm done to you by others.  Auto insurance, for example, is often like that.

An interesting question arises if I had to pay for even more extended family benefits, which happens in Europe with mandatory paid family leave for parents (most of all in Sweden).  Population demographics and low birth rates in some populations helps explain the practice.  Yet, it’s not seen as that controversial over there.  It’s true that recognition of gay marriage and gay parents makes this more equitable now, and also sends a message that participation in raising the next generation ought to be expected.

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