Sad McCain

Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) rather embarrassing conversation onboard a bus recently, in which he was left speechless when asked whether insurance companies’ coverage of Viagra and not of birth control constituted gender discrimination, revealed a surprisingly timid and indecisive side of the prospective president.

McCain’s inability to stand up for his belief is a disturbing flaw that is hard to reconcile with real leadership. The simple answer to the question should have been “absolutely not.” Insurance companies should be in the business of protecting people’s health, not enabling people’s lifestyle choices.

While widely misused, Viagra is designed to cure a diagnosed condition affecting millions of people: erectile dysfunction. Birth control does not cover any pre-existing condition, and merely protects against the consequences of bad decisions about sexual conduct. While Viagra has a marginal medical purpose, it is probably over-prescribed.

Both of these drugs end up being harmful to society because they facilitate, if not promote, the focus on animalistic, base desires in people. In the case of Viagra, it has become a runaway success even among people without diagnosed erectile dysfunction, a kind of recreational drug that, when used outside of its intended purpose, can have dire effects.

Birth control has become synonymous with unprotected sex between unwed partners — sex without responsibility. Both should be highly curtailed in insurance coverage. While there are definitely issues about which politicians can refrain from deciding under the media’s glare, McCain’s painful waffling suggests a deep insecurity about his own past voting record. That is what’s inexcusable here.


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