November 22nd, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Countless men are complaining via petitions and in other ways, about the Affordable Care Act’s preference for women over men. Among other things, it seems that the Act requires annual well-woman exams, including certain preventive screenings, to be conducted free of charge to the patient. But if a man has an annual physical including his own preventive screenings, he finds he has to pay. Why the blatant sexism in the law? I can’t begin to guess, but now it seems the Act’s preference for women can also redound to the benefit of men.
Here’s an article that’s mostly about genetic testing for five different chromosomal abnormalities that now can be conducted at any time after nine weeks of gestation (The Atlantic, 11/5/12). By itself, it’s a good source of information about those defects which range from the very grave and life-threatening to one that males may live a lifetime and never know they have.
What’s also interesting is that the Affordable Care Act requires insurers to include coverage of this genetic testing in their policies. Oddly, that requirement comes under the heading of “preventive” care even though the discovery of a chromosomal abnormality in utero obviously does nothing to prevent the abnormality. What it does is prepare the parents for the arrival of a child with the abnormality, preparation that may include abortion of the fetus or not as the mother decides.
All of this testing is of course done on the blood of the pregnant mother to be. And where blood is drawn for testing, that testing can be done for a variety of purposes, and usually is. One of those purposes can be to determine the paternity of the child. Of course the mother’s blood alone isn’t sufficient to identify the father; the putative father must provide a DNA sample of his own for comparison. But where the man is in a position to do so, I’d encourage him to provide such a specimen for the sake of determining paternity. After all, the ACA requires coverage of genetic testing, so that should encourage mothers to find out whether their fetus has one or more of the tested-for abnormalities. I suspect more and more mothers will take advantage of that testing since it’s almost cost-free. The increased number of mothers doing that gives more fathers the opportunity to piggyback on their maternal benefits under the ACA and find out once and for all if they’re the dad or not.
Silver linings, my friends, silver linings.