Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The U.S. Senate defeated an amendment last week to restrict taxpayer funding of abortions under Obamacare. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., voted against the measure, arguing that it would require women to buy special riders to purchase abortion coverage.
In defending her no vote, Boxer argued that male senators were doing to women something they would never do to men. Quoth Boxer: "The men who have brought us this don't single out a procedure that's used by a man, or a drug that is used by a man that involves his reproductive health care, and say they have to get a special rider. There is nothing in this amendment that says if a man someday wants to buy Viagra, for example, that his pharmaceutical coverage cannot cover it, that he has to buy a rider. I wouldn't support that."
That quote illustrates why Washington cannot be trusted to overhaul health care.
For starters, Viagra does not involve reproductive health care, as Boxer suggested. A man who uses Viagra probably shouldn't be thinking about reproducing, unless he wants company for his grandkids.
What is more, abortion is not health care. It's a reproductive choice -- a legal choice that Congress, since 1977, has chosen not to subsidize.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid argues that in defeating the amendment by Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., the Senate did not authorize the use of taxpayer funds for abortions, but Nelson doesn't see it that way. Nelson thinks the Senate opened the door for government-subsidized abortion. That means Nelson's much-needed Democratic vote might not be there for the final bill for Obamacare.
Now, it's true that Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs are designed to remedy the symptoms of specific physiological disorders. But if you watch TV, you know that the pharmaceutical industry none too subtly has been peddling enhanced sexual performance for healthy men.
That is a choice, too -- and men can pay for it.
In fact, while Boxer may say she objects to making men find a plan that covers ED drugs, the folks at Medicare tell me that Medicare does not pay for Viagra or other drugs for erectile dysfunction. (Yes, Medicare used to pay for ED drugs, but no more.) If men want Viagra, they either have to pay for the prescription themselves or find a private plan that covers their ED drug of choice.
Which makes Boxer's Viagra/abortion analogy all that much more, well, limp.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $3.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.