Image from Politico
In her latest column at TIME Ideas, Shannon Brownlee takes on the controversy over the Obama administration's birth control rule, and links it to some of the other purportedly moral debates over the extent of health insurance coverage. The core point is that, while each person is entitled to his own opinion, we're not entitled to our own facts. In cases where the facts line up solidly against a treatment, as with some kinds of back surgery, PSA testing for prostate cancer, and other elective procedures, it makes sense to limit the extent to which taxpayers and other members of insurance pools have to subsidize care. In cases where moral beliefs are at issue, though, we have to be careful to respect differences:
...the medical issues that are now sparking debate have relatively little to do with the pure numbers or effectiveness. The controversy arises because people have different moral beliefs. In a pluralistic society, we should try to respect and even celebrate that. When it comes to decisions that are rooted in values, I don’t want anyone—be it the government, my employer, or somebody else’s religious leader—coming between me and my doctor.