It's been a process of contemplating, and following the input of others on this issue, http://www.spousebuzz.com/blog/2010/10/military-wives-as-surrogates-controversial.html and initially, I had the position that I, as a military dependent, am entitled to care regardless of how I become pregnant (Note: I have no desire to be pregnant again). It's been an enlightening discussion, which actually changed my point of view, and I changed my position some from my original post on SpouseBuzz. What is changed is underlined:
I've meandered thru the posts following my previous post, and it is an enlightening discussion. I think I agree with Vic and Art the most, having presented more facets that I had not considered. Being an Army spouse as well as a retired veteran, I try to look at things from different angles, but lack the "business" background so I miss things.
I do agree that "There are many good thoughts on here that do make me think."
I do want to point out that when I brought up the issue of "being raped," which I don't believe is out of perspective simply because I wanted to point out that as a dependent, I am entitled to care regardless of how I become pregnant. I can see, however, how that seems irrelevent, given the "victim status" a rape victim has versus the "business" status that a surrogate has.
I also agree that people come into the military for the benefits, and that this has always been a draw for the military.
The point that makes sense to me though, now that I see it, is that if there is money involved then it appears to be fraudulent. "Becasue not only is it a free service to the dependent, but they are also getting paid for their "services." That makes direct, obvious sense. This is a business venture.
In this light, the "sponsor" of the surrogate, I think, should pay the bill for the services rendered as they would in a civilian hospital with a fee to the surrogate.
Sarah points out that when we dependents are seen in a military hospital, we are asked if we have other insurance, if it is related to workers comp or a car accident, etc., so Tricare can bill the third party, which is usually an insurance plan.
I agree with Steve that it is a for-profit venture; I have decided, however that re-imbursement is NOT the rule, or that the "buyer" in this case, the couple hiring the surrogate, should pay up front, or be billed directly, for the following reason: If DOD hospitals were for-profit entities, I would say that the ability to bill third parties to recoup the debt on surrogates would justify accepting surrogate patients, but since DOD hospitals ARE NOT for-profit entities, then, logic tells me this is reason alone why surrogate pregnancies should not be handled in DOD hospitals. Since there are some dependents who do not get their care in DOD hospitals, however, this does not apply. In this case, the non-DOD hospitals, should not even bill Tricare. They should bill only the couple hiring the surrogate, and/or their third-party insurer.
Perhaps DOD hospitals should have pregnant spouses fill out and sign forms stating that "yes, they are being paid for this child birth" or "no, they are not being paid for this child birth." People are less likely to lie directly, in writing, knowing there can be direct repercussions from lieing.
Art, you are an educated doll (are we allowed to say that to men?). I had a hard time not responding to Rhonda's obvious hostility and lack of education. You are a gem. Were you an Elder in another life? ;-)
Rhonda stated "Military people don't pay taxes because they produce nothing to tax. They are just required to give back some of the money the government gave them."
This is hostile and irrational on many levels, and I think Art addressed it nicely, describing (over and above the ideas of PROTECTING THIS COUNTRY AND RESPONDING TO DISASTERS) many ways the military produces a "product" and gives back to society. He gave examples such as "the military creates wealth in the example of the US Navy simply by keeping the sea lanes open so energy resources, food commodities and goods in general can flow freely without fear of WW II type disruption," as well as other more business-related contributions to society, such as the Air Force collaboration with NASA years ago, and the fact that the Internet (yes, this invisible cyberworld that many of us now can't live without) was originally created by the military. I would add also that the military, in one form or another, contributes. We all spend our tax-payer-originated-but-hard-earned-money in the community, living, existing, contributing to the economy. Reserve component members contribute heavily these days, not just deploying with active duty troups, but also responding to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and earthquakes here at home. Who does the govenor call when he/she needs response to local rioting? The National Guard. Enough on that issue.
5kidsmom pointed out the correlation "to any other medical condition that was job-related - also covered by Tricare." I think this is a huge point, but it is also correct that if your condition/injury is work-related (in this case, for-profit contract-related), the third party, being Workers Comp (or in this case, the party hiring the surrogate) should rightfully bear the costs.
5kidsmom also points other other, separate, but ethical issues:
-the targetting of military wives during deployments - no chance of being impregnated by her husband if he's away. Ouch.
-I also don't oppose surrogacy, I also oppose the taking advantage of military spouses for a profit. But I think there's more to it than just that. Milspouses are taking advantage of some things too. That's a personal issue, I think.
-the clogging of OB/GYN clinics-taking up appointments for surrogates, leaving others "floundering for appropriate care" in other clinics." I think we've all experienced this at some time, and in many specialty clinics.