Today, the Department of Health and Human services announced that contraception will be included in a list of preventative services that women's insurance plans will provide free of charge. That means they'll be provided without co-insurance charges or co-pays. The services include:
If there's a default, there will be a lot of finger-pointing, but most of the blame should fall on Republican leadership in the House. TPM's Josh Marshall equated the negotiations between the House, Senate, and administration to a game of chicken, except one of the cars has no driver. No one knows if Republicans have the votes to pass Boehner's, Reid's, or anyone's plan.
Everyone assumes that this is because a large number of congressional Republicans cannot be trusted to raise the debt ceiling. They're even on the record saying things to that effect. But Boehner's inability to control his caucus is his fault.
Today, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued its recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on which preventative-care services for women should be free under any health-insurance plan. Given that the Stupak-Pitts Amendment took abortion coverage out of the health-care equation, one would have thought that the guidelines would be uncontroversial. But the increasingly radical anti-abortion movement fought hard against the inclusion of contraception.
Today's IOM report basically repudiates their view:
There are two ways for Democrats to assess which of the deals coming out of the debt-ceiling negotiations is best. There are a few deals out there that, according to the polls, will be most popular -- ones that would reduce the deficit by up to $4 trillion with a mix spending cuts and revenue increases. And then there's the deal that will have the lowest cost in human suffering -- a clean vote to raise the debt ceiling without a deficit-reduction package. Those are not, sadly, the same deal. But they also aren't that far off.
In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones went to work in Baghdad's Green Zone for KBR, then an engineering and construction subsidiary of the defense contractor Halliburton. Upon arrival, she was placed in co-ed barracks where the ratio of men to women was 20 to 1. Four days later, Jones said that she was slipped the date-rape drug Rohypnol and gang raped by fellow KBR employees. When she reported the crime, Halliburton locked her in a shipping container for 24 hours without food or water, and barred her from contacting anyone outside.
Last month, Jones' case against KBR employee Charles Boartz for rape and against KBR for knowingly sending her into a hostile work environment finally went to trial. On Friday, a jury found Boartz and KBR not guilty.