Thursday, May 26, 2011

Republicans support deregulation until they really, really don't

I thought Republicans were supposed to be big believers in the free market. They want to deregulate industry and let the market take care of itself. Right?

Unless we're talking about abortion, of course. The Republican goal when it comes to abortion is to regulate the hell out of it. Really, they're trying to regulate abortion right out of existence. This is why we have laws now regulating how much time must pass between an initial consultation and the actual procedure, that doctors must at least offer ultrasounds, that doctors must read specific scripts that have no medical or scientific basis, that patients must go to "pregnancy crisis centers" that are nothing more than pro-life centers with no actual medical training.

And now in Kansas, we have this: a law that prohibits insurance companies from covering elective abortions in their basic plans. Individuals and employers who want insurance to cover elective abortions must buy separate riders. This is said to make sure that individuals and employers who object to abortion won't have any of their money paying for abortion. When people understandably questioned the requirement that women should have to buy separate insurance policies, one state representative responded that people should plan ahead. We keep spare tires in our cars in case of flat tires, don't we? Which then set lots of folks off because that seemed to compare a flat tire to being raped. Women should just plan ahead in case they're raped, eh?

Here's my thing, though. It doesn't seem very consistent with the Republican ideal of deregulation and market reliance to pass laws prohibiting health insurance from covering legal procedures. If lots and lots of consumers object to having their health plans cover elective abortion, well shouldn't the free market take care of that? Those consumers could band together and demand such plans from their prospective insurers. Whereas consumers who do want health plans to cover abortions could likewise band together and find insurers who will supply that demand. Apparently Republicans don't trust the market to work itself out this way.  It would be nice, then, if Republicans could understand why folks on my side of the aisle don't really trust the market to work itself out in other areas.


Transplanted Lawyer said...

You're conflating "Republicans" with "politically active religiuos conservatives." Not all members of the first and larger set fall into the second set. Not all Democrats are civil liberties activists, for instance; nor are all Democrats labor union advocates.

If you're a politically active religious conservative person, you have no particular objection to the government doing all sorts of activist and intrusive things, so long as it does so for the purpose of protecting and advancing morality.

It's easy to conflate the GOP with its loudest and most obnoxious wing, precisely because of the volume and shrillness with which that group articulates itself and the zeal those sorts put in to their political activity. But to borrow an idea from one of my favorite ex-bloggers, I'd paint for you a picture of the GOP that divides its principal interest groups into four main blocs: Jesus! Guns! Money! and Moats!

The Jesus! bloc you know. The Guns! bloc includes both second amendment-obsessed NRA types and pro-military-spending war hawks. The Money! bloc represents the sort-of libertarian, sort-of big business Herbert Hoover types. The Moats! bloc are those who attribute every problem in the U.S.A. to the proliferation of illegal immigrants and who adopt relatively isolationist foreign policy stances.

S said...

I'm not conflating anything. Not one person with an R after his/her name has spoken up in Kansas in opposition to this legislation. Not once has any Republican in the statehouse or in the press complained that this kind of regulation is inconsistent with Republican ideals. I also don't recall hearing any Republican opposition to stringent anti-abortion regulations in Oklahoma or South Dakota, though admittedly I have followed those less.

If people claiming membership in the Republican party don't want to be held responsible for these regulations, they need to speak up. It's a little tiresome to keep hearing that we can't hold all Republicans responsible for the legislation passed by the people the Republican party nominates and then elects.

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