Saturday, February 2, 2013

Contingent Healthcare: Birth Control

The Obama Administration announced yesterday a compromise plan to appease opposition from religious organizations (i.e the Catholic church) regarding the coverage of birth control under the auspices of Obamacare.  Under the compromise, employees of churches and non-profit religious organizations will receive free oral contraceptives through a separate healthcare plan, to be paid for by health insurance companies. 

The litigants are not satisfied.
But Kyle Duncan, the general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, which is representing employers in eight lawsuits, said the litigation would continue. “Today’s proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious freedom of millions of Americans,” Mr. Duncan said.

Religious groups dissatisfied with the new proposal want a broader, more explicit exemption for religious organizations and protection for secular businesses owned by people with religious objections to contraceptive coverage.

Of course, the whole concept of secular employers selectively choosing which aspects of healthcare they will agree to include in offered health insurance plans is absurd.  A law that would exempt secular businesses from all-inclusive plans due to individualized moral qualms about specific human behaviors opens up a wide swath of injustice.  For instance:
  • Religious right businesses (i.e. Chick-Fil-A) with objections to homosexuals could use a similar line of reasoning to refuse to pay for HIV anti-retroviral treatments
  • Fundamentalist Ultra-Pro Family business owners could decide to exclude children of unwed mothers because "doing otherwise would promote the wrong values"
  • Obnoxious triathalon-competing-on-weekends small business owners who view obesity as moral iniquity deciding to refuse coverage of any and all obesity-related interventions, i.e oral hypoglycemics, bariatric surgery, etc.
  • Muslim-owned businesses refusing to pay for any alcohol-abuse treatments, i.e. counseling sessions, inpatient rehab, etc.
  • Candle shop owners who refuse to contribute money to anything other than Reiki for appendicitis and the like
  • Nihilist tanning bed entrepreneurs who subscribe to Darwinian Ubermensch worldviews and litigate to opt out of any and all health insurance responsibilities, preferring rely on vaguely articulated theories of Survival of the Fittest.
The limitless range of "morality" is but another reason for universal, single-payor health coverage.  The extent to which known treatments are made available to a nation's population should be a matter of cost, efficiency and efficacy, not arbitrary individual judgments by random business owners or religious organizations.


Orac said...

You forgot a much more plausible example that could come about under exactly the same logic. Scientologists could refuse to pay for mental health coverage for their employees because Scientology believes that psychiatry is evil and that Scientologists should never undergo psychiatric treatment, only "treatment" through their church.

Samuel said...

This highlights just how nonsensical employer provided health insurance is. I understand the historical reason for it, but why continue it? Consumers choose their own (mandated) car insurance and their own renters or homeowners insurance. I can understand employer provided AD&D insurance in high risk jobs such as public safety. But health insurance? How is that work related?

If people were personally responsible to find health insurance on the open market and to choose a plan that meets mandated minimums but also their personal needs, we wouldn't have any issues with employer's religious beliefs or with COBRA.

Anonymous said...

Love it when "religions" can't trust the "flock" to O B E Y.

An educated world just sucks for "The Holy Corporations" - I feel for you all. I really do.

Don't make your obedience problem mine.