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Rep. John Shimkus (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Double standard

Jackass congressman asks why men should have to pay for women’s prenatal coverage

By WITW Staff on March 10, 2017

A question over health care mandates escalated into an argument between Democrat Representative Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and Republican Representative John Shimkus of Illinois during a 27-hour-long debate in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Republicans’ Obamacare revision plan on Thursday.

The argument began after Doyle noted that Republicans had repeatedly denounced “mandates” imposed by the 2010 healthcare law, and asked for clarification from Republicans about which specific mandates they took issue with.

“I’m not sure what the gentleman is talking about when he talks about mandates. What mandate in the Obamacare bill does he take issue with?” asked Doyle. “Certainly not with pre-existing conditions, or caps on benefits, or letting your child stay on the policy until 26. So I’m curious, what is it we’re mandating?”

“What about men having to purchase prenatal care?” asked Shimkus.

“What?” replied Doyle incredulously.

“I’m just … is that not correct?” asked Shimkus. “And should they?”

Soon, the two men were speaking over each other — as well as over the rest of the room.

Shimkus’ complaint is hardly original amongst opponents of the Affordable Care Act. During a discussion of the ACA in the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2013, then Representative Renee L. Ellmers, a Republican from North Carolina, asked then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius why men should “have to buy maternity coverage” when no man “has ever delivered a baby?”

In an article written on the issue in 2013, insurance expert and columnist Nancy Metcalf explained that “health insurance, like all insurance, works by pooling risks.”

“So, as a middle-aged childless man you resent having to pay for maternity care or kids’ dental care. Shouldn’t turnabout be fair play?” wrote Metcalf. “Shouldn’t pregnant women and kids be able to say, ‘Fine, but in that case why should we have to pay for your Viagra, or prostate cancer tests, or the heart attack and high blood pressure you are many times more likely to suffer from than we are?’”

Watch the full exchange between Doyle and Shimkus below.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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