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BIRTH CONTROL: Hope common sense prevails

Letter by Marjorie A. Reynolds, Graham on March 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm with 16 Comments »
March 14, 2012 1:10 pm

Employer provided health insurance is a benefit that the employer has decided to offer (or has negotiated if the employees belong to a union). As far as I know, there is not a law that requires employers to provide health insurance.

But now it has been decided that if they decide to provide this benefit, “big brother” is going to tell him what has to be covered in the policy. If contraception has to be covered, what is next? Mandatory coverage of abortion?

What is an employer to do if his beliefs do not him allow to pay for such coverage? There are several options:

• Provide required coverage and violate his conscience. Not going to happen.

• Continue to provide coverage without the mandated items that violate his beliefs. This means he will be fined for following his personal beliefs. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Since most institutions that will end up being fined are charitable, nonprofit institutions, this will result in less funds for care to the needy. Is this what the government really wants?

• Discontinue offering health insurance altogether. This would be a shame; most of these organizations want to do right by their employees and that includes offering health care.

Let’s hope common sense prevails and the government butts out of trying to mandate specifics of what is a voluntary benefit.

Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. amber424 says:

    Common sense would say that birth control should be covered since it is much cheaper than maternity care and the child once it is born.

  2. Insurance companies love to provide BC coverage for free, because it lowers their costs overall. The coverage comes as a side benefit for which the employer has to pay nothing. Beside which, objecting to BC coverage because of religious beliefs becomes an action that is defined as a practice. Religious practices are not exempt from regulation.

  3. olympicmtn says:

    Let’s require ever store we visit in our neighborhood to carry the exact same product. In fact let’s go one step further and tell the pharmacist to ensure they have enough ADVIL on their shelves because the GOVERNMENT IS NOW TELLING YOU WHAT TO STOCK. Yes and when you go to Safeway you tell the manager that you expect your beverage of choice to be stocked because your government says so.

    This is the road we are on. No where is Europe (and I have lived there) do they PUNISH you if you have a premier (Cadillac plan) for health care. Not even in Germany are you TAXED if your employer gives you a great health plan, but in Obama fantasy land you get taxed for offering a good medical plan to your employees. Now that is one wacked government we have now.

  4. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Thanks amber424 and Pub, you two have just made the case, perfectly, for the free market.

    If it’s true that it’s cheaper for insurance companies to provide BC (which, by the way, cannot be substantiated since studies show that rates have actually gone up in states where BC coverage is mandated), then it shouldn’t be too difficult for someone to find a job where such coverage is included, but not mandated. Or if that’s not practical, seek supplemental coverage from the provider, and pay it yourself.

    And Pub, I have several employees whose relies beliefs forbid their working on Saturdays. So by your reasoning, and because we are a Monday through Saturday operation,I may now fire them as they have no constitutional protection for their “practices”, just for their religion.

    Okey-dokey.

  5. Fibonacci says:

    God, I am on the side of the conservatives–aaaccckkk. Since providing health insurance is optional, what parts or insurance are offered or not offered should be up to the individual company.

  6. Interestingly the insurance companies don’t seem to have a problem with the new mandate.

  7. Vox, rates in most of the 28 states which mandate prescription contraception care have not gone up. What you may be referencing is that Fact Check looked at the claim by Obama Administration that said costs to providers went down, and they used Hawaii, which did see a reduction. Fact Check found that the Kaiser health studies showed that costs to insurance companies were predicted in about half of the states to go up and in about half of the states to remain the same for the insurance companies for the coverage, but they saved substantially in other costs so premiums did not go up.

    Employers save a lot by providing coverage.

    “A 2000 study by the National
    Business Group on Health, a membership group
    for large employers to address their health policy
    concerns, estimated that it costs employers
    15–17% more to not provide contraceptive coverage
    in their health plans than to provide such
    coverage, after accounting for both the direct
    medical costs of pregnancy and indirect costs
    such as employee absence and reduced productivity.
    Mercer, the employee benefits consulting
    firm, reached a similar conclusion. And a more
    recent National Business Group on Health
    report, drawing on actuarial estimates by
    PricewaterhouseCoopers, concluded that even if
    contraception were exempted from cost-sharing,
    the savings from its coverage would exceed the
    costs.”

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/14/1/gpr140107.pdf

    One of the major efforts of the health reform act is to substantially cut overhead and administrative costs of insurance for both employers and insurance companies. One of the best ways is to standardize the basic minimum coverage that an employer must provide and to minimize the number of available plans so that employers can determine cost and service. That is why over half of the states have aloready instituted this procedure,a s well as all federal insurance programs.

    And, Fibonacci, what we are talking about is health reform, and insurance coverage will not be optional when it is fully implemented. The costs to government will go down since the individual and the employer will be responsible for their coverage and not the federal government. Right now we pay a huge amount for the lower and middle class workers who do not have health insurance when they need emergency and other health care.

    Isn’t that what conservatives want – lower costs to the government plus more responsibility on the individual while keeping a private insurance system instead of a single government payer?

  8. If you think the current resident’s insurance mandates are an intrusion into your private lives, telling you what you can and cannot do in the bedroom, wait until Rick Santorum becomes President of the United States. He’s already espouse his religious beliefs, and, many of them are going to be pushed upon you and I. Something about his statements concerning other people’s beliefs being ‘false theology’ bothers many people.

  9. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Tuddo, I believe the factcheck study found the evidence to be “inconclusive” because the data is all over the board. Thus, to blithely state that providing such mandatory coverage “lowers their costs overall” cannot be substantiated, as I stated.

    BTW, tuddo, have you seen the latest CBO scoring of 0bamacare? It’s now up to 1.76 Trillion over ten years! That’s nearly double the 2011 CBO estimate of 940 Billion, and 0bama’s claim of 900 billion.

    http://cbo.gov/publication/43076

    And it hasn’t even kicked in yet.

    We can only hope the elections of 2012 will produce enough Republicans with sufficient backbone in them to stop this next gigantic government boondoggle.

  10. LornaDoone says:

    Majorie, you have it all upside down and backwards.

    The employer has no business being involved in the particular health care services. That is between the employee, insurance company and the health care provider

    As to your question – “Mandatory coverage of abortion?” – you need to get off your high horse. Abortion is a legal medical procedure and is necessary in many cases to save the life of the mother. You might want to consult Rick Santorum and his wife for a first person account of exactly that. The CHOICE the Santorums made was based on their decision, with the guidance of their physician. It’s no one’s business other than them and who the chose to let know – in this case, they’ve told their story publicly, AFTER the abortion.

    The Constitution does provide for freedom of religion. Maybe you can tell me when freedom of religion said that you have the right to tell others how they have to honor your religion and you don’t have to honor theirs. Primarily it’s honoring the privacy of an employee, which is already a law – HIPPA.

  11. Vox, I didn’t “blithely” state anything, I povided a direct quote and link to a legitimate study, unlike your unsupported nonsense that “rates have actually gone up in states where BC coverage is mandated”.

    I am not sure that you actually read the CBO report, or you are quoting a Fox story, since the CBO report actually says that the increase in government spending is now projected to be less than originally forecast, the increase due to insurance reform is more than offset by the savings to government in other areas, and to repeal the healthcare reforms (like Republicans want to do) would add a net of $230 billion to the deficit by 2021.

    You might want to actually read a study before you link to it.

  12. LornaDoone says:

    ” I have several employees whose relies beliefs forbid their working on Saturdays. So by your reasoning, and because we are a Monday through Saturday operation,I may now fire them as they have no constitutional protection for their “practices”, just for their religion.”

    Here’s what you did have the right to do. When hiring you tell them that Saturday is a mandatory work day and allow them to make the choice.

    In the case of contraceptive coverage, when an insurance program covers all rx products and a religious employer seeks to change that for purposes of invoking their belief on employees using the benefit that is provided in lieu of salary, the employer has violated their rights. If the employer, in the beginning said “we have optional coverage” paying the employee an adjusted salary and letting them purchase their own insurance related to rx, then you have not violated their rights.

    Of course, all good employers would already know the laws pertaining to employee rights and rather than bully them, a good employer tries to find common ground to have good employees.

  13. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Vox, I didn’t “blithely” state anything…

    Tud, calm yourself. I was referring to the Pub and amber, who did matter-of-factly (blithely, if you will) state that BC coverage lowers insurance costs. The fact that you chose to take up the standard for them only makes you a surrogate, not the perp.

    You might want to actually read a study before you link to it.

    I’m sure I read as much of it as you. But the part you’re overlooking is the word “offset” and the phrase “net cost”. Here is the direct quote from the scoring:

    The ACA’s provisions related to insurance coverage are now projected to have a net cost of $1,252 billion over the 2012-2022 period; that amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,762 billion, offset in part by $510 billion in receipts and other budgetary effects (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources).

    And what are these “penalties” and “revenues”? Why they are the penalties small businesses will pay because it will be cheaper than providing health care insurance, and the “revenues” are the costs to individuals who will no longer have an alternative source of insurance (CBO estimates 3 million people), and thus will be forced to buy into 0bamacare (added to the 17 million on Medicare and 22 million on government-run exchanges).

    So, government costs will be 1.252 Billion, and the cost to the private sector will be 510 Billion. That equals 1.762 Trillion – and that’s IF you believe them.

    I’m sorry, where’s the good news there?

  14. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Here’s what you did have the right to do. When hiring you tell them that Saturday is a mandatory work day and allow them to make the choice.

    Thanks for confirming you’ve never hired a squirrel to run your cage, Larna.

    Public Law 82-352 (78 Stat. 241) (aka The Civil Rights Act of 1964)
    UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES
    SEC. 2000e-2. [Section 703]

    (a) Employer practices

    It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer –

    (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin…

    So… by your logic, I could also tell a black person that the entire workforce of my company is required and paid to attend KKK meetings on Saturdays and “allow them to make the choice”?

    You can expect a visit from eric holder any day now.

  15. “which, by the way, cannot be substantiated since studies show that rates have actually gone up in states where BC coverage is mandated”

    show me a state where rates haven’t gone up, then your little rant might carry some weight.

  16. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    [SIC]show me a state where rates haven’t gone up

    I appreciate your support klu less… is more. But no one has said rates have gone up in every state where BC coverage is mandatory.

    Please try to keep up. Your flames are flickering.

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