4 thoughts on “Tirrell on Limbaugh

  1. Limbaugh’s apology had more to do with stemming the exodus of sponsors.
    Tirrell is correct… he is a misogynist. The Fluke remarks aren’t exactly out of character.

  2. Yes, this is just Limbaugh playing at par. I don’t find it all that meaningful, and much as I love Lynne Tirrell’s work and person, I think it best that we, on the whole, not give him the attention for which he begs. He’s a shock jock, and treating him as more than a shock jock accords him too much worth.

    I remain depressed, though, that most of my fellow Americans simply do not see what’s odd about employers’ insurance companies covering Viagra and yet having “conscientious” objections to women’s contraception. Why didn’t all those clergymen have equally horrified things to say about how Viagra might be use for non-reproductive sex? They should be horrified at the possibilities, right? Right.

  3. Does anyone understand what Tirrell means by “[Limbaugh’s remarks call] forth a cultural NIMBY phenomenon. Pay for contraception? Not in my backyard!”

    On a side note, I don’t think that “[t]he issue is women’s control over our own bodies”, is a very strong way of putting it. The issue is whether insurance companies ought to cover birth control. Since birth control is a (relatively) low-cost and high-frequency, predictable treatment, it’s not immediately clear that it falls under the usual scope of insurance, which aims to cover high-cost, low-frequency, unforeseeable treatments. As many health care analysts have noted elsewhere, the effect of covering birth control is basically a cross-subsidy to people who use birth control. The question isn’t “should women be allowed to control their own bodies”; it’s “how should we pay for birth control”? There are markets where going through an insurer could actually make things worse (no one, for example, wants their insurance to cover sock purchases, even though socks improve quality of life) so it’s at least conceptually feasible to ask whether we are better off with birth control as an insured treatment.

    Now, as it happens, I think we are better off because the cross-subsidy is a fine and good thing! I think a cross-subsidy is basically an efficient thing to do since it prevents unwanted pregnancies, which rack up all kinds of other costs, at the margin. The National Business Group on Health, itself hardly a radical feminist outfit, agrees. (PDF</a<).

    But I don't really see what "women’s control over our own bodies" has to do with it except inasmuch as there are people out there with insincere motives (like Limbaugh) who want to turn a sleepy health care policy detail into Kulturkampf. The actual issue is a pretty wonky debate on which feminists and progressives basically have the right answer.

  4. I agree with profbigk and synapseandsyntax and add that we do well to remember that this is an election year, and both right and left are benefited by a firing up of the base. More tempests in more teapots means more dollars for TV ads.

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