Thank You Thursdays: Maeve Reston


We showed you McCain stumbling over the question of whether birth control should, indeed, be covered by insurance companies in the same way Viagra is (answer=hell yes). But who asked the question?
Many news outlets have alluded to “the woman from the LA Times,” but we wanted to name her and thank her for doing what journalists are supposed to do–ask the hard questions and demand answers from our nation’s political power players. Thank you Maeve Reston!
By the way, I love that community blogger JentheFem and others have started to write their own Thank You Thursdays. The best form of flattery!

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78 Comments

  1. SarahMC
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I’d think if you were truly interested in mutually satisfying sexual experiences, you’d be a bit more supportive of a pill that allows women to have sex without worrying about pregnancy!
    You keep attacking us and have just insinuated that we are selfish, but you haven’t taken issue with one thing people like Scarbo have said.
    And I’m sorry but I just can’t get over the “recreational” thing.

  2. 13lesslee
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Yeeeah, Scarbo, the whole victim thing doesn’t really fly with with me. I’m pointing out an inconsistency in insurance companies covering viagra but not covering birth control.
    In other words, I have an opinion on this and I am stating it. That doesn’t really make me a victim, it makes me part of a community board where people state opinions on things that matter to them.
    As far as this statement, “While you’re at it, tell me how women’s longer average life span and gigantic heaping portions of government cash devoted to women’s health contribute to that, will ya?” I think that was addressed beautifully by Isomone who wrote,
    “Sorry, which women’s health offices are you referring to? To my knowledge, women in this country are less likely to have medical insurance than men. Women live longer because men in general are more frail (why more male babies die and more male pregnancies miscarry) and because men, traditionally, worked outside the home and were subject to more stress. Now that women are taking on higher-stress jobs, the longevity gap is closing. That’s right, we work in your jobs, we die younger like you.” isomone
    And Jut, so we are in agreement then, that it’s easier for women to enjoy a mutually pleasurable sexual relationship with their partner if the woman in question isn’t concerned about an unexpected pregnancy?

  3. Jut Gory
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    SarahMC: If you cannot get over the “recreational” remark, after I already admitted that it may have been a poor choice of words, and subsequently clarified the point I was trying to make, there is little more I can do to help you “get over” it.
    As for Scarbo, my modus operandi is simple: 1) make my own comments (even if it is to try to clarify the comments of other); 2) try to respond to comments made toward me; and 3) refrain from expressing support or agreement with anyone (except those to whom I respond that make a good point (as you did with your “recreational” remark)). That way, I stand on my own words, not others, and, hopefully, provide a discernible dialogue that does not get too far off-track (as some of Scarbo’s have), because, as you know, these threads can become very scattered and convoluted. (Plus, being at work, it is not always easy to follow them closely.)
    -Jut

  4. puckalish
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Scarbo:
    OMG, businesses are REGULATED!? You’re shitting me! Wow, how DO they do it? Come on, man, are you fucking kidding me? Almost ALL of business is regulated in one way or another – dang, you can’t smoke in bars, you can’t sell potato chips with trans fats, trucks have to check in at weigh stations, there are lemon laws, should i go on?
    Look, I’m as much an anarcho-syndacalist as the next war-mongering conservative, but at least I don’t take a particular affront at businesses being regulated because, well, that’s how the game works… across the board, but particularly with regards to insurance – homeowner’s insurance, car insurance, so on and so forth… it’s all very highly regulated. Did you just learn of this?
    Oh, and regarding “rights,” I don’t think folks here are referring to Bill-of-Rights rights, but a more colloquial use of the term. Don’t get dizzy, but there can sometimes be more than one use of a term and, in my life as i live, men and women have the right to all sorts of pleasure without avoidable consequences. And i think 13lesslee’s point was simply that it’s clear there are some folks posting who don’t think that men and women have comparable “rights” to pleasure.
    And, seriously, Scarbo, that was masterful… complaining about “victimization” among women then going on to decry how you’ve been robbed because women live longer (for reasons you clearly don’t fully understand). Waaaahhhhhh!

  5. LlesbianLlama
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    “What about a. if you want to enjoy a fully and mutuall intimate and satisfying sexual relationship with your partner over the course of your life?”
    In that case, I don’t NEED viagra, contraceptives, or anything else to have my fulfilling sex life. Unfortunately, self-centered men like yourself [and yes, you come across as extremely self-centered] probably don’t like to admit that there are people in the world who don’t rely on the Almighty Penis for sexual pleasure.
    This entire debate is nothing short of ridiculous. It’s full of vague references to statistics that likely don’t exist, irrelevant tangents, and strawperson arguments.
    No one is saying that viagra should NOT be covered. Honestly, I don’t think many of us really care all that much if it is. What we are concerned about is that medications that ensure OUR OWN medical health as women as not covered, while men’s are. If you can’t see why that is a problem, you’re being willfully ignorant.
    Furthermore, the assertion that an insurance company is a business and we should take our business elsewhere relies on one of two things: (a) you have a supreme misunderstanding of the reality of health insurance coverage in the United States, (b) you are incapable of empathy.
    First of all, that is an EXTREMELY privileged position you are coming from. Many people don’t even HAVE health insurance, so to claim that if they don’t like it, they can use a different insurance company is missing the point completely. Second of all, many people who do have insurance have it through their place of employment [if they are lucky enough to be employed by someone who offers those benefits, and many people are not] and can’t easily switch insurance companies without EXTREME financial penalties. And the penalties are not even a possibility if the person doesn’t have the money to pay for it.
    The concept that health insurance and HEALTH CARE, access to basic human rights, is at the whim of businesses in the US is disturbing at best and more like irresponsible and cruel in its reality. If you somehow do not see access to medical care as being a right that should be enjoyed by all people, I don’t think you want me to tell you what I think of you; trust me, it isn’t pretty. I am not really sure how ANY person could be okay with letting another person die of preventable conditions because they lack the money they need to obtain those treatments. The reality is that for millions of people in this country, it is just too expensive to be possible, and it is literally a choice between eating two meals a day [not three] or seeing the doctor occasionally.
    Oh right, and you absolutely owe this thread some statistics. You need to come up with the following in order for your previous arguments to have any weight, Scarbo:
    1. Which government programs are set up to fund solely women’s medical treatment
    2. Which government programs do the same for men, because otherwise the former information is useless
    3. How much of the annual budget is allocated to both.
    It is truly poor form in a debate to make assertions without backing them up by something other than your [ignorant] words.

  6. LlesbianLlama
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh right, I almost forgot, Scarbo:
    The other thing you need to find out is what lobby groups have encouraged government funding for specific health programs. Example: there is a lot of publicity and action to promote funding for breast cancer research done by special interest groups dedicated to that cause. That influences policy.

  7. puckalish
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    LlesbianLlama,
    Thank you.

  8. MLEmac
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I love how Scarbo obviously didn’t read the long post I put so much work into about why breast cancer gets so much more funding than Prostate cancer, and then just re-posted the same tired bullshit he said before.
    Also, the whole talk of “government spending going more towards female health than male health” is vague at best. There is a great deal of money set aside each year to give grants for research. In the past few decades, there has been a large increase in research for Breast Cancer, thus more grants are being written for funding for that research, so a higher percentage of the money is being given to labs that are conducting that kind of research. Increased research=increased money asked and given for that research. It’s not like Congress just sits around and decides “well, I think breast cancer is worse than prostate cancer, so lets just give them all the money.” Ask and ye shall recieve.
    Also, judging by your use of the phrase “sod off” I’m guessing you’re British. That being said, I have no idea as to how research grants are dealt with there.

  9. Okra
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    No response to charges of your hypocrisy, Scarbo?
    Oh, and you wrote: “While you’re at it, tell me how women’s longer average life span and gigantic heaping portions of government cash devoted to women’s health contribute to that, will ya?”
    You have now commented on this point no less than three times, and without reference to my and Isonome’s dual smackdown of the “longevity gap” complaint.
    This leads me to believe you are posting for the sake of seeing your complaints in print, and that you have no intention of engaging in a dialogue, as JutGory, for example, has.

  10. Ismone
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Puckalish,
    Anarcho-syndicalist? I think I love you. In a totally platonic way. You are basically awesome.

  11. Okra
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    ‘my bad typo: Ismone.

  12. puckalish
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Ismone,
    Well, I’ve been a fan for a long minute, now, so know that platonic feeling’s mutual. :) Okra, MLE, Llama, if y’all had posters, they’d be on my ceiling, too…
    BTW, is that pronounced “Yesbian yama”?

  13. LlesbianLlama
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Obviously this dude [inferred gender] has nothing to say for himself. Perhaps he couldn’t make up the statistics quickly enough?
    You all rock with your patience and eloquence.
    Puck: I pronounce it with the Ls, but I’m going by American pronunciations, which I am not sure are actually correct anyways. ;)

  14. AliCat
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    It is interesting the way this debate has been reduced to a male versus female “war” by the likes of Scarbo, AJoy et al. In fact, by seeing the provision of the contraceptive pill as a female issue, and that of Viagra as a male issue, we are all in danger of not seeing the forest for the trees! The real agenda which needs examination is the reasons the American health insurance companies have for denying particular treatments/drugs to certain groups of people or individuals, AND HOW THEY ARE ABLE TO DO SO. It is the whole American health system, which is profit driven and at the mercy of large corporations, which needs to be looked at and assessed, and the role government plays in enabling this. Perhaps Scarbo and AJoy could educate themselves by looking at other western countries with economies far smaller than that of the US, yet are able to provide universal health care to their citizens. Governments legislate to ensure that the profit motive of private healthcare providers cannot take preference over the interests of patients. With your presidential election coming up, what better time to lobby for a better health system which provides for all. Only in coming together will an outcome be achieved which benefits American society as a whole. By reducing the current inequities to debates between the sexes, or who is getting a bigger slice of the pie, or turning a woman’s right to control her fertility into a moral rather than a health issue, we all fall into the trap of squabbling over symptoms, while failing to tackle, or even acknowledge, the cause. Meanwhile those in positions of power who make the very decisions we squabble over remain unchallenged.

  15. dan&danica
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    As for why breast cancer gets so much more funding and focus than breast cancer…well I’m not for sure on that one. mlemac has some really good points but I dont think it encompasses the whole issue, for me the greater issue is that of male disposability. Credit it to the patriarchy, capitalism, biological determinism, whatever, male health problems and deaths simply arent seen as much of a problem compared to those of women, at least in the accepted high visibility conditions. If a representative was to suggest government spending on prostate cancer on the same level as breast cancer, that representative would get killed in the press. In the general public, again people, both men and women, don’t seem to care as much, one need look no further than erasing male victims of international travesties (kosovo for example) or look at news reports that report 100 killed, including 43 women and children!, to see this. It is of course more complicated than that when you bring it down to the community level but to argue that males are simpy more frail doesnt seem to that great of an argument. If that is true, and the stats on education are taken into account, are we ready to say women are decidedly superior to men in these ways?
    As far as the bc vs. viagra debate, again I’m all for both of them being covered, I just don’t see the two as 100% analagous. For posters wanting to see slutshaming for men, when viagra came out, and it continues to this day, people who use it are pretty much painted as only horny old men who want to get off with their trophy wives, as mentioned above, that is far from being the case but it is an example of shaming men for their sexual desires and a small part of the larger narrative of male sexual impulses and desires being caterogized as dirty or somehow less than that of gay people, bi people like me, and women.
    As far as more money being spent overall on womens health than mens, well that is pretty much true right now. When this became a real issue, when it was cited that only, what was it, 7%?, of health funding was specifically for women this was seen as a travesty without acknowledging the fact that that percentage was already higher than the percentage spent specifically on mens health. The issue of women not being included in enough research has been worked on though one of the reasons for it was the danger of testing/researching on women who may become pregnant, this is being worked around and progress is being made but its not so simple as its made out to be sometimes, just like the wage gap debate.
    Is there something inherently wrong with wanting both viagra and bc covered on insurance, not seeing one as more valuable or needed, not deriding people who need either, but not seeing them as 100% the same as it pertains to this debate? Both deal primarily with sexual health, one lets some men have sex at all, the other lets most (not all women can use bc) women enjoy sex without as much fear of a pregnancy and helps a lot of women with medical issues.
    Why the need to reduce the people youre debating with to only caring about the mighty penis or saying women can derive pleasure without a hard penis? Isn’t that kind of the point of viagra? Heterosexual and homosexual women can derive a lot of pleasure without a penis in the picture, heterosexual men and a sizable portion of homosexual men have a lot of their joy/intimacy removed if they cannot attain/maintain an erection. To only talk about sexual health, viagra makes it possible at all, bc makes it easier. Both are needed and both should be covered but again, I dont see them as 100% the same and come away confused when they are brought out as such.

  16. dan&danica
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    As for why breast cancer gets so much more funding and focus than breast cancer…well I’m not for sure on that one. mlemac has some really good points but I dont think it encompasses the whole issue, for me the greater issue is that of male disposability. Credit it to the patriarchy, capitalism, biological determinism, whatever, male health problems and deaths simply arent seen as much of a problem compared to those of women, at least in the accepted high visibility conditions. If a representative was to suggest government spending on prostate cancer on the same level as breast cancer, that representative would get killed in the press. In the general public, again people, both men and women, don’t seem to care as much, one need look no further than erasing male victims of international travesties (kosovo for example) or look at news reports that report 100 killed, including 43 women and children!, to see this. It is of course more complicated than that when you bring it down to the community level but to argue that males are simpy more frail doesnt seem to that great of an argument. If that is true, and the stats on education are taken into account, are we ready to say women are decidedly superior to men in these ways?
    As far as the bc vs. viagra debate, again I’m all for both of them being covered, I just don’t see the two as 100% analagous. For posters wanting to see slutshaming for men, when viagra came out, and it continues to this day, people who use it are pretty much painted as only horny old men who want to get off with their trophy wives, as mentioned above, that is far from being the case but it is an example of shaming men for their sexual desires and a small part of the larger narrative of male sexual impulses and desires being caterogized as dirty or somehow less than that of gay people, bi people like me, and women.
    As far as more money being spent overall on womens health than mens, well that is pretty much true right now. When this became a real issue, when it was cited that only, what was it, 7%?, of health funding was specifically for women this was seen as a travesty without acknowledging the fact that that percentage was already higher than the percentage spent specifically on mens health. The issue of women not being included in enough research has been worked on though one of the reasons for it was the danger of testing/researching on women who may become pregnant, this is being worked around and progress is being made but its not so simple as its made out to be sometimes, just like the wage gap debate.
    Is there something inherently wrong with wanting both viagra and bc covered on insurance, not seeing one as more valuable or needed, not deriding people who need either, but not seeing them as 100% the same as it pertains to this debate? Both deal primarily with sexual health, one lets some men have sex at all, the other lets most (not all women can use bc) women enjoy sex without as much fear of a pregnancy and helps a lot of women with medical issues.
    Why the need to reduce the people youre debating with to only caring about the mighty penis or saying women can derive pleasure without a hard penis? Isn’t that kind of the point of viagra? Heterosexual and homosexual women can derive a lot of pleasure without a penis in the picture, heterosexual men and a sizable portion of homosexual men have a lot of their joy/intimacy removed if they cannot attain/maintain an erection. To only talk about sexual health, viagra makes it possible at all, bc makes it easier. Both are needed and both should be covered but again, I dont see them as 100% the same and come away confused when they are brought out as such.

  17. AJoy
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    ED or any Sexual dysfunction should/could be covered for both Men & Women. Nobody suggested that it should be covered only for Men and not for Women.
    The problem with the pill is 80-100% of the women can used it 80-100% of the time. Insurance does not make sense in this scenario.
    In Car insurance probably 1-10% of the people might file claims. And that money is paid by the remaining people. If 80-100% of the people file for claims the Car insurance company will go bankrupt or will have to raise the coverage.
    If 80-100% of the people are using a product it is better if they buy it directly. If you force the companies to cover it, it will be a disaster.
    Europe and other countries have totally different socialistic economies. They have their own problems. Unemployment is between 10-20% (US around 5%), taxes are higher, gas prices are higher and most of them use public transport. If America opts for socialistic health coverage and other socialistic measures we should be ready for all those adjustments.

  18. AliCat
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    Re AJoy August 2 5.28 PM AaaaaaaaaH!!!!! The dreaded “S” word. Socialism… Taxes will skyrocket, as will unemployment and all Americans will have to take the bus. From what I read in the newspapers it is the US economy which is bombing at the moment. You lump all non-American western countries together and assert they have socialistic economies, and that is the reason why they can afford universal health care. Garbage. It is because the people of these countries have elected governments which have different priorities to those of successive US governments, and provision of quality health care for all comes in at the top of the list for many, along with education. The US has the biggest economy in the world, and could afford to provide health care for its citizens if its governments had chosen to, but they elected to spend their money elsewhere. Also, the growth of a health sector driven by the profit motive must ensure healthy returns for the health insurance companies and health care providers, so if savings can be made by precluding certain treatments and/or drugs from certain people, they will do so in a climate where legislation allows them. The provision of universal health care does not equate with socialism and struggling economies. Such statements are mere scaremongering. As for any “adjustments” which would have to be made, I suggest that it would be those making huge profits at the expense of the American people who would have to make the biggest adjustments, and those in power who support them.

  19. puckalish
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    AJoy,
    i love the statistics you quoted… you know, the ones refuted by BJS statistics available here:
    ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/ForeignLabor/flsjec.txt
    and here:
    ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/ForeignLabor/flseur.txt
    oh, and while we’re comparing those european and canadian pinkos to the mighty u.s., you might take a second to note the comparative currency strengths over the past little bit (particularly, the past year)…
    yeah, um… anyways, as previously pointed out, bc is one of the cheapest types drugs to manufacture these days, so you’re vastly overstating the economic impact and ignoring the fact that, in the long view, covering bc could actually reduce insurance companies’ bottom lines… but, whatever, that doesn’t fit into your argument, so ignore the point again. luckily, most insurance companies (as i said before) haven’t ignored that fact, which is why, as of ’04, 86% of insurers have covered bc. they must be commie-lovers.
    oh, and d&d, i don’t think more than one person here would actually argue that viagra should not be covered. i think, for the most part, folks were just bringing out the points you mentioned in order to lampoon the arguments against covering bc and the double-standard that imposes. on that note, the comparison between the two is admittedly weak (as i think everyone’s said at one point or another on here), but stands on the following grounds: both medications are related to reproductive health and both are gender-specific. the comparison stops there, but is worthwhile for those two points.
    peace and blessings

  20. AJoy
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    puckalish -
    Thanks for the stats…
    Even Canada had close to 9% in 1996. I am not sure when it was 9% in US.
    Also compare the tax between the Gov health care countries.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_Canada
    And also compare the gas cost in these coutries…

  21. AJoy
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Tax (roughly) for Married with 2 kids – US 12%, Sweden 42%, UK – 27%, France – 41%…
    Include the tax and the gas prices in the argument..

  22. puckalish
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    really, taxes in the US are 12%? i pay about a third of my paychecks and i’m in a low tax bracket… looking for the OECD report right now, but that’s interesting.
    according to this site: http://www.worldwide-tax.com/ , the US individual tax ranges between 15 and 35% and Canada’s is between 15 and 29%… hmnn… where did you get your numbers from?
    oh, and about those unemployment stats… yeah, in 96, that was the case. that was over 10 years ago and is the most extreme example you could come up with. for 07, the comparison was:
    US: 4.6%
    Canada: 5.3%
    nice cherry-picking, though, do you do bungled-up research for a living? you also think that providing health care is what has caused unemployment in canada? weird.

  23. AliCat
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Re AJoy: Merely quoting tax rates and petrol (gas) prices is convenient when you fail to mention what people in such countries get for the taxes they pay, and what people in the US do not get because of the taxes they do not pay. Also raw tax figures do not take into account the different ways countries tax their citizens and the way tax rebates are paid to certain groups, therefore effectively lowering the tax they pay. Americans end up paying for their health care anyway, but via a different route, that being through the private sector. If they cannot pay, then they get nothing. Paying low tax and having low petrol prices is certainly not a measure of the quality of life of a country’s citizens. I am all for paying higher tax if it ensures that everybody has the access to quality health care, a decent education, adequate public transport, effective law enforcement, welfare for those who need it, etc. Surely the mere fact that the US rates so lowly in the provision of so many public services that citizens in the majority of other affluent western countries take for granted, indicates that those same countries see the system in the US as a failure. Sure someone is benefiting from having a privatized health system, but it sure isn’t American citizens.

  24. puckalish
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    oooh, yay! found it.
    http://www.oecd.org/document/57/0,3343,en_2649_34533_40233913_1_1_1_1,00.html
    that’s a comparison of income taxes across several nations. there are, of course, different ways taxes are gathered, so the OECD has created a classification called a “Total tax wedge”, which represents social security, income tax, and so on, as a compiled unit.
    this most recent survey has the US’s average tax wedge at 30%, whereas Canada is at 31.3%, the UK is 34.1% and so on… there are “socialist” nations which have lower taxes than us and those with higher taxes than us. funny enough, your understanding of “socialist” encompasses almost the entire industrialized world… except for the mighty United States (oh, wait… then there’s social security and all that commie Roosevelt bullshit we need to get rid of)…
    if you want low taxes, though, check out Mexico’s wedge. pretty hot.

  25. puckalish
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    AliCat,
    what, do you think that chief executives of HMOs aren’t US citizens? they seem to be the biggest beneficiaries of privatized health care, so it is benefiting some american citizens… lol

  26. AliCat
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    To puckalish:
    Well done for finding a meaningful and reputable way of comparing how much tax people pay in OECD countries. From the statistics you quote, and I had a look myself, the US is right up there with all the so-called pink countries in the rate at which it taxes. The question to be asking is why the American public gets so much less for what they pay? As I’ve mentioned before, it comes down to a question of priorities, and what each government chooses to spend its collective taxation revenue on. It is interesting that the majority of these countries can afford to provide universal health care for their citizens, yet the US apparently cannot. Then where are they spending their money? The military is one obvious area!!!!!!!!!!! An added burden is that as well as paying comparable tax, American citizens have to fork our extra money for health insurance. In fact, they end up being worse off than all of us suffering under supposed socialist oppression… I also appreciate your remark about the chief executives of HMOs being US citizens. Of course I meant the American public in general…lol in return.

  27. susanb
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    what does mccain know. he is such an idiot. anything good for women he does like. That is why i do not like him. colon cancer

  28. rizrat123
    Posted July 5, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Birth control pills should totally be paid for by insurance companies just like viagra. It makes perfect sense.
    -Paula, Student: calorie restriction

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