Saturday, June 1, 2013

Using Jesus to deny healthcare benefits

Last week Hobby Lobby pointed out the most basic flaw in the overhaul of our health care regime. For those of y'all who don't know, Hobby Lobby is an Oklahoma City-based craft store chain whose owners are devout (read: nutty as the pecan tree in my backyard) Christians who equate emergency contraception (the so-called "morning after pill") with abortion.

Hobby Lobby has appealed an adverse decision in federal court to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that businesses should have the same right as religious institutions not to offer certain types of coverage in the health plans that cover their employees.

And therein lies the rub.

For all of the good in the Affordable Healthcare Act, it left our regime of employer-based healthcare coverage in tact. If health care is a basic human right then it shouldn't be tied to whomever you punch a clock for. If it's a basic human right the level of care you receive shouldn't be decided by the company who employs you, or by the mid-level managers of an insurance company.
"They ought to be able, just like a church, just like a charity, to have the right to opt out of a provision that infringes on their religious beliefs,'' said Kyle Duncan, who will argue before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Green family, the founders of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and a sister company, Christian booksellers Mardel Inc.
If health care is a basic human right, then it should be available to all regardless of income level or employment status. If you want to know why health care is so expensive in the United States, just take a look at the delivery model we use. There are so many folks with profit motives controlling who has access and what level of care they receive that the result is we pay far more than we should for far less health care that we should receive.

I couldn't care less about the religious beliefs of the owners of Hobby Lobby. They can be as superstitious as they want. However, their particular superstitious beliefs shouldn't affect the health care coverage their employees receive. Their employees chose to work there for a variety of reasons - including the need for a paycheck. To deny them particular coverage because it is somehow offensive to an employer should be offensive to all of us.

But so long as our healthcare coverage is provided by employers and supplied through insurance companies, we will continue to fight a rear-guard action to prevent our access to a basic human right from being whittled away.


Anonymous said...

Problem is in the premise of basic human rights. We don't have basic human rights in areas that require others to provide something to us. Basic human rights involve freedom to act on our own behalf as long as we do not impose on the freedom of others. By your logic food producers who all have profit motives should not be allowed to profit from their efforts because eating is a basic human right (it is not though). It is our right to earn these services, or contract for them and even to ask for charity to obtain them, but not a right to make someone provide them to you regardless of your abilty or willingness to compensate the provider. Freedom is the basic right, enslaving others for your benefit is not a basic right.

Paul B. Kennedy said...

Do explain how providing health care to all Americans enslaves anyone. There is only a profit motive in providing healthcare because someone decided to create such a model.

Your argument is based upon a false premise.