So far all I've heard in this case (anyone know the name?) is the argument that employers shouldn't have the right to deny women birth control coverage in their health care plans, and I've been wondering, why the hell not? Here is my reasoning:
First there is the question of whether businesses should be allowed to hire people based on their convictions. I fully support businesses being able to not hire smokers, for example. Personally, cigarette smoke makes me violently ill, and just smelling it on someone's clothes even long after they had their fix has this effect. I wouldn't be able to work with smokers (and I've had to leave some jobs for this very reason), so I would want to work somewhere that didn't allow smokers to work alongside me, and if I owned a business I wouldn't want to have to hire anyone who was going to make me sick through their actions. But perhaps this is a special case.
On the other hand, there are other ways to be discriminating about whom one would or would not hire. What about being allowed not to hire people based on skin color, or gender, or sexual orientation, or age, etc? This area remains pretty grey to me, because on the one hand there should be plenty of opportunities for people of all stripes to find work, but since we can't seem to figure out how to make employment available to everyone, it is not fair to discriminate on such criteria. Still, in a world where competition takes place on a level playing field, I think there is merit to allow any kind of discrimination one wants. My belief is that the businesses that discriminated according to such criteria would simply fail because they would be less competitive than those that did not.
Which brings me to the Catholics. If they want to deny birth control coverage in their health plans to their employees, ideally the employees would just leave and find work elsewhere, which would make the Catholic businesses less competitive, and I think would also make Catholicism less competitive in the marketplace of ideas. The only objection I can find to this line of reasoning is that it is just too hard to find work these days, and allowing businesses to stand up for their convictions would only exacerbate a difficult job market. Do you see things differently or the same?
That's all fine and dandy. But, I believe you're missing the point of your original post. You argue that the Catholic Church should have an exemption from providing birth control, based upon their beliefs. If you wish to argue that no employer should be compelled to provide it, that's one thing. Then, the Catholics or for that matter, any other religious or secular organization would be in the same position in the market place. Level playing field. My position is this. Define the playing field, then make every team that decides to go out on it abide by the same rules. Don't give one team, because of idiotic superstitious beliefs, a pass to kick everyone else in the cojones, while the same privilege is denied to every other team. Religion, irrespective of their irrational belief, do not deserve a break denied to everyone else.
Good point, Pat. We take it for granted in this country that religious people get exemptions and special treatment, and as an atheist I certainly shouldn't buy into this. I think I was just looking for a way to turn this into an advantage, as a way to combat religion by using their own stupidity against them, but I suppose it is not possible to do that by beginning to allow all kinds of special treatments for any ludicrous beliefs that may rear their heads at the expense of other people who don't see things the same way. You give an excellent analogy, so, I think you are right. Of course, if we had universal health care in this country then maybe this wouldn't be a problem. Then again... the religious right would probably ban all abortions from being provided by the government, which would mean that those would have to be done at private expense... which means poor people who needed abortions would have to do it themselves, creating a huge health risk. Damn, so many contingencies! Anyways, thanks Pat, you've helped give me some clarity at least.
Jedi, you're more than welcome. My pleasure. I completely agree that universal health care would go a long way in solving this conundrum. I recall, back in 2010, when the health care reform act was raging in Congress, I happened to be in Cuba. I ran into a lot of Canadian tourists (I stuck out like a sore thumb being an American). Anyway, the Canadians - being incredibly polite - inquired WTF was wrong with Americans who argued against basic health care. Honestly, other than that many of my fellow country men and women were dumber than a sack of hammers, I didn't have a good answer. Even the Cubans, who are some the most polite and friendly people I've ever met, just shook there head in dumbfounded amazement.
Oh, our stupidity ranges far and wide, and is not restricted to our absence of universal health care. This whole health care debacle is one of the main reasons I won't be voting for Obama a second time (I'll be sitting this one out thank you very much). Besides the fact that when he came into office it was the economy that needed a major, concerted effort and Obama decided to go with health care in the midst of the biggest economic downturn in a century (that would be reason numero uno), he didn't even do that right (numero dos). The whole point of revamping the health care system was that there were new, evidence-based practices that, if put into effect across the nation, would save so much money that we as a nation could afford universal health care. Granted, Obama had no partners in this endeavor (shoulda gone with banking reform!), but he signed a bill which took out the money-saving practices which were going to pay for the extended coverage, creating an even worse system than before. Just a piss-poor job all around, he was in way over his head.
I'm still concerned that, even if we did get universal health care, that the religious right would use it to deny us our rights and invade our rights at the same time. I'm beginning to see the benefits of reduced government, at least when it means giving those right-wing nut-jobs control over our personal lives. We seem to be in a lose-lose situation here.
You are correct about the influence the special interests in the health care industry have over the government. In addition to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, the care providers also take a nice slice of the pie to the detriment of providing actual health care, and Obama caved to these special interests just like he caved to the banking industry. But you are right too that neither party in Washington is either willing or able to do anything about the influence of money over our political system. True, the Republicans seem more "unwilling", because they seem to like the idea of anti-democratic, plutocratic, oligarchic rule, so anything that is good for the richest and most powerful people is good in their eyes. And the Democrats seem more "unable" than "unwilling". I don't chalk this up just to not being able to get anything through the system. I mainly chalk it up to the fact that they are an establishment party that has a vested interest in remaining in power, and for them that means sucking up to big business right along with the Republicans so that they can continue to raise campaign money. Its just that simple. Both parties are in the pockets of big moneyed interests, and Obama is no different.
Limited government was the true meaning in the beginning anyway. the government was not meant to answer our daily needs. We don't need a supreme god, either in heaven or on earth. "A government big enough to give you everything, is big enough to take everything from you"..healthcare in this nation is second to none in the world. Everyone has access to it. You are not guaranteed cheap healthcare, or cheap insurance..it is not a right given in the constitution and therefore is not something the government should have a hand in.
Problem has been that everyone is going about it from the wrong angle. Insurance is high because medical expenses are high. If you can bring down the cost of drugs, tests, medical school, malpractice insurance, etc, etc, etc, then there would be no reason for insurance to be so high. Maybe we should start where the issues are and everything else follows suit.
As far as Obama having no partners, and the Republicans "blocking" everything..simply not true. Obama was given a majority in both houses when he was elected. it is they that squandered that. Take the Obama budget..even his party voted heavily against it. but, I bet that is as designed. It is easier to spend frivolously when there is no budget roping you in...15trillion in debt, 97% GDP..numbers this country has never seen..
Bush was borderline Socialist, Obama is way over the line. This country is on a downward spiral and the polititians are the least equipped to reverse that.
"healthcare in this nation is second to none in the world. Everyone has access to it"
Well you are clearly misinformed on this point. We have the most expensive health care system in the world and we fall somewhere around #33 in the world as to the quality of our care, so what you said is patently false.
"97% GDP..numbers this country has never seen.."
Also false, the % of our GDP of our debt has been higher before. In any case, you seem to be coming from a perspective that is much different than mine.
The part that people are missing here is that the Catholics are not DENYING birth control to their employees..they are simply not agreeing to pay for it. I think it is within their rights to do so. If you want to work for them, and want to take birth control, you simply find another way to get it. Buy it yourself, go to the free clinic, etc. There are unlimited ways to get condoms, etc. Hell, even teenagers know that.
If you were a business owner, would you want to be required to provide something to all employees that goes against your beliefs? What if you were being required to provide insurance that made all women go through christian counseling before an abortion? Or before having a child? Or getting married?
A very good point A nony mous :-) However, I don't think this argument succeeds. As Pat says, what should be compulsory for one organization should be compulsory for all organizations. A requirement on all health care providers that all women go through Christian counseling is clearly unconstitutional, and could never conceivably be applied to all organizations. True, it is very easy to just go out and buy your own birth control, but if every other health care provider has to include BC in their health care plans, why shouldn't the Catholics? This is unfair to all the other organizations, who would then have a disadvantage to the Catholics.
That argument would work if they were directly paying for the birth control.