By: Revanche

SCOTUS decisions, healthcare, and a Rant

July 3, 2014

I’ve been seeing tweets about how whiners whining about the Hobby Lobby decision are stupid and then I saw: “you’re paid cash to go buy food, why can’t you also take that cash and pay for your own damn health insurance?”

And I’m even seeing PF bloggers apparently agree that these are equivalent. And it’s driving me a little crazy.

I don’t even know where to start with the ways this whole thing drives me crazy: financially, scientifically, medically, philosophically but I’m just throwing a few of them here so I can get back to work. I’ll grant this could be more polished but seriously, I need to get back to work.

1. Health insurance is vastly, VASTLY, more expensive than food. And plenty of people go without health insurance in order to pay for food. It’s a compromise that simply cannot go in the other direction. So given that you’re only paid X amount per month, one of the first things you’re going to pay for is FOOD. And shelter. And we all know that medical care is so expensive in this country that one or even two medical emergencies can bankrupt you. Food is not the same thing as healthcare.

2. You’re paid cash for your work, yes, but your health insurance is a part of your compensation package for work you do for them.

It is either offered as a competitive advantage over other employers or you’re paid more money because the smaller employers cannot afford to offer it as part of their benefits. And that’s if you’re working at a level or a place where benefits are even offered. But either way, they sure as shootin’ aren’t offering NON employees health insurance, so what the heck is with the the implication that you’re expecting free lunch? So I expect to be able to use my health insurance just like I use my cash: how-the-frak-ever way I choose.

As Greg Rucka said: Health insurance is not “free abortions” or “free contraception” or “government anything.” It is compensation. For work.

By the way, plenty of top companies ALSO tout their actual free lunch (and even dinners) as a benefit of working for them. But you have to ACTUALLY WORK FOR THEM. I should have thought that was obvious.

3. The audacity of any employer, or any layperson who is NOT my health care provider/professional, telling me what I can or cannot use in treating my medical condition because they decided it violates their personal beliefs is beyond the pale. Heck I don’t think the health care provider/professional’s personal beliefs should have any bearing on my medical care.

Where the hell do businesses get off redefining science and medicine for their employees? And why do so many people seem to think birth control is birth control is birth control and is ONLY used for birth control? Here’s a secret: It’s not.

A) One medication does NOT work just the same as any other for every single person. There’s a REASON we have to have alternatives. 20 pain medications prescribed to me do nothing but make me sicker. ONE of them makes me physically better and mentally a cracked up mess. If the 22nd medication worked for me, that’s the fricking one I’m going to use! And if an employer wanted to tell me that, well, they believe that 22nd medication is from the devil and so I should only use the 21st, I’d toast Satan while quaffing my meds and flip them off with the other hand.

That doesn’t even touch on my next point …

B) Cost. COST! I’m SOL on the point of controlling pain, I live in constant pain every day, but if there was an alternative that cost $1K a month and my employer-offered health insurance refused to cover it only because they philosophically disapproved so I should use the other cheaper and religious-belief approved options? Y’all would see Mount Vesuvius all over again.

C) Do you know what else birth control is used for? Just a few reasons it’s been prescribed to just the people I know:

To mitigate the crippling (literally crippling) effects of menstrual cycles. I’ve had more than one friend who had to be on birth control because they had passed out from the pain and the excessive blood loss.
To mitigate the crippling effects of, or even to treat, endometriosis.
To mitigate the side effects of the menstrual cycles in relation to other conditions. I had to stay on it for 3 years because that to allow me to remain mobile and productive because otherwise I’d lose weeks out of the month as it aggravated my fibro.

The day that Magic Elixer Snake Oil Ltd comes out with something that treats all of those conditions, problems, and all the other ones that birth control helps with? We’ll talk. Until then, non medical and science professionals need to take a BIG step back in declaring what exactly medications do or are.

4. This judgement offends my conservative nature to no end. I believe in small government and that the government should stay out of my bedroom, my shed, and get the hell off my lawn. I also believe in the health of the herd and I believe in health care; you want to prevent a huge financial burden on the nation due to aging and chronic preventable illnesses? You want to poor people to stop having so many babies that will need assistance? *points to healthcare* Hi, there’s a really good answer for that. I believe in personal responsibility and I believe there are times that common sense, not politics, is the answer.

And there’s not one ounce of my being that would think that my employer should have the right to hang out in my doctor’s waiting room dictating what science and medicine is or does or is acceptable according to their beliefs.

More specifically, saying that prevention of pregnancy is the same thing as aborting pregnancy doesn’t make it so and saying that any religious beliefs of ANY sort should dictate how I or any of my family or friends or fellow citizens can receive treatment based on the fact that they’re employed by someone holding those beliefs is beyond preposterous. I respect your religion, so you damn well better respect mine.

In short, this decision is poor on so many levels and sets a precedent that doesn’t bear thinking on but now we have to because the “narrow” ruling’s already being broadened from “only four” birth control methods to “for-profit employers who object to all twenty forms of birth control included in the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, not just the four methods at issue in the two cases decided on Monday.”

Lastly, I was very interested to see religious leaders speaking out against this:

Although the owners of these for-profit corporations oppose the contraceptive requirement because of their pro-life religious beliefs, the requirement they oppose will dramatically reduce abortions. Imagine a million fewer unintended pregnancies. Imagine healthier babies, moms and families. Imagine up to 800,000 fewer abortions. No matter your faith or political beliefs, our hunch is that we can all agree that fewer unplanned pregnancies and fewer abortions would be a blessing.
Julia K. Stronks, evangelical Christian and political science professor together with Jeffrey F. Peipert, a Jewish family-planning physician

The New Testament never—not one time—applies the ‘Christian’ label to a business or even a government,” he writes. “The tag is applied only to individuals. If the Bible is your ultimate guide, the only organization one might rightly term ‘Christian’ is a church. And this is only because a church in the New Testament is not a building or a business, but a collection of Christian individuals who have repented, believed on Christ, and are pursuing a life of holiness.
Jonathan Merritt, an evangelical Christian writer and blogger for the Religion News Service

16 Responses to “SCOTUS decisions, healthcare, and a Rant”

  1. NZ Muse says:

    You know where I live so you can probably guess my stance on this.

    Your friend’s experience sounds horrific – I started on BC at 16 for bad periods but nowhere near as crippling as hers. Eek.
    NZ Muse recently posted…Hitting the financial reset buttonMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Yeah I suspect I know yours 😉
      I love my country but I also have higher expectations of my country: we can and we must do better for all its citizens. And I hope that we can and that we will. In this lifetime.

  2. NZ Muse says:

    Oh and I love that first quote in there from Peipert/Stronks. What always gets my goat about this kind of thing is that apparently it’s okay to not fund BC, without giving thought to what’s going to happen to unwanted kids once they’re born to parents who didn’t want them and can’t give them the lives they deserve. One option is so much cheaper in the long run and so much more civilised.

    FACEPALM FOREVER.
    NZ Muse recently posted…Hitting the financial reset buttonMy Profile

    • Katie C. says:

      The problem – according to most of the conservative Christians I hear from – is that giving a woman birth control options is giving her permission to have premarital sex. “You should just keep your legs together!” is an oft-repeated stance I’ve seen directed at myself and others who are pro-birth-control.

      Honestly, I don’t think they care so much about preventing abortion. I think so much of it is just about controlling women, not letting women have autonomy, not wanting women to have the same bodily autonomy as men.

      • Patti says:

        Well you are wrong. Preventing abortion at any stage is what I and my conservative Christian friends and family believe in. I am not affiliated with HL, by the way, but I respect their stance on this issue.
        Many conservative Christians have been pregnant in difficult circumstances and still managed to avoid killing anyone.
        We do believe abstinence is a great way for a unmarried lady to avoid pregnancy, but we know that many people are unwilling to be celibate. That is, of course, their business. However, when they decide to murder precious helpless children, it becomes the business of all good people.
        Please do some research…Hobby Lobby offered many birth control benefit options to its employees long before it was required. They also pay significantly higher wages than their competition.
        Read something besides liberal talking points. May God bless you.

        • Revanche says:

          1. Warning that hyperbole and flame wars won’t be tolerated here so please remain civil, you’re right at that line. Advance your arguments without admonishing my readers, please.
          2. Birth control =/= abortion. None of my conservative Christian friends and acquaintances have ever claimed that.
          3. My point is no one gets to make the choice for anyone else to live through a pregnancy or other health issues, regardless of your or their religious beliefs. I live in and love America because we’re meant to have religious freedom, not have to live according to anyone else’s religious beliefs.

        • Katie C. says:

          If Hobby Lobby cared about contraception coverage, why did their insurance plan cover Ella and Plan B prior to the ACA contraception mandate? They claim they “didn’t know,” but I’d think if they have such a strong objection to these contraceptives, it’s something they’d have checked out before the ACA went into effect. (Here’s the brief in which their attorney admits this fact, in case you’re thinking of claiming I only read “liberal talking points” again: http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/No-13-354-Brief-for-Respondents.pdf)

          And as Revanche pointed out in this post, not all birth control is created equal (and not all birth control is used to prevent pregnancy). None of the contraceptives that Hobby Lobby went to court over are abortifacients. IUDs are much more effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy than the birth control pill (and one IUD brand is one of few non-hormonal and effective birth control options available), and they’re also exponentially more expensive. (A month’s income for a minimum wage employee, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out, up to $900.)

          Also, just because I’m a stickler for accuracy, no one is “murder[ing] precious helpless children.” That’s a criminal offense that would land you in prison. However, it is perfectly legal to terminate a pregnancy, which involves a fetus or an embryo, not a child. A child is a human between the stages of birth and puberty. If you know of someone murdering children, please do contact your local authorities!

  3. Katie C. says:

    *standing ovation* That’s really all I’ve got to say to this post because I agree with everything you’ve said here!

  4. Athena says:

    I absolutely loved this! It angers me so much that the supreme court, some of the most educated people in the country, would approve of this. It’s not about abortions, it’s about a woman having rights over her body and what she does or doesn’t do with it. And reproduction health is everyones health.
    Athena recently posted…What Almost 29 Feels LikeMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Yeah it never fails to amaze me how men get to maintain autonomy over their bodies but politics+religion and other men get to dictate what women can or cannot do with their bodies.

  5. jestjack says:

    Couldn’t agree more…This is about “woman’s rights”…not the “religous right”. Sad that the Supreme Court has taken us down this ‘slippery slope”….

    • Revanche says:

      /hattip
      The door has been opened and we’re already seeing the “narrow” decision widen; it’s anyone’s guess how far this will go. 🙁

  6. Mary says:

    I paid for my birth control the entire time I was of childbearing years – it did not bankrupt me nor did I feel my rights as a woman were violated as insurance did not pay for condoms either. Still don’t.

    • Katie C. says:

      Mary, that’s awesome for you! I’d simply point out that no one (except Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion siding with Hobby Lobby) is suggesting you or anyone but you pay for your birth control. The contraception mandate orders that insurance companies cover contraception without cost to women. I assume you haven’t received a bill in the mail for my contraception or my health insurance premium? That’s because you’re not paying for it. In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said that if contraception coverage is important it should be paid for by the federal government. That’s because it is not currently being paid for by taxpayers. It is paid for by employees who get insurance through their employers or by women who buy their private insurance through the ACA marketplace. No one is paying for contraception coverage but insurance-holders and their employers.

      Secondly, I would point out that some versions of birth control are cheap and others aren’t. Coincidentally, the most effective forms of birth control are the most expensive. As Justice Ruth Ginsburg pointed out in her dissent, an IUD – which is more effective than the birth control pill at preventing pregnancy – costs the equivalent of a month’s income for a minimum wage employee.

      I am unable to take hormonal birth control and a pregnancy would very likely kill me. IUDs can cost up to $900. Why should women have to turn toward less effective birth control methods and face unwanted pregnancy? (Not to mention the fact that, as Revanche covered in this post, there are a lot of women who use contraception to treat other conditions. It’s not just a way to prevent pregnancy. My generic birth control pill was $9 a month with health insurance, but the pill that my doctor wanted me to take – because it would assist with other health problems I had – was $60 per month. I had to go with the less expensive pill for financial reasons.)

      Why aren’t you celebrating the fact that women can now (or could before SCOTUS messed it all up with their discriminatory ruling) obtain effective contraception, contraception that is appropriate for their lifestyle and medical needs, without that exorbitant cost? I’d like to add on the end here that I do not believe the contraception mandate or the ACA are perfect. Women still have to pay for health insurance in order to obtain the gynecology appointment where they can obtain either a birth control prescription or have an IUD inserted or schedule their appointment for tubal ligation, etc. So it’s still not free. It’s still not “affordable” for a lot of women out there. But I celebrate it as a step in the right direction.

  7. Lauren says:

    Just an extra tidbit on this in response to all the things: Having a child is not the only IMMENSE BURDEN about conceiving an unexpected child (though BC covers other things, as many have said). We could all argue that adoption is a choice for those who didn’t want children IF IF IF IF IF pregnancy wasn’t in itself an incredibly marginalizing state, incredibly debilitating for many people, especially those without a support system or access to quality healthcare.

    There is so much chatter about the end result of pregnancies leading to unwanted children – but pregnancy ALONE can be a cause for loss of education, loss of jobs, loss of overall opportunity – let alone the total isolation and social implications of an unwanted pregnancy. I absolutely resent the implication that this not about women’s health. It is about women’s health, period. People get to choose their relationship with god or lack of relationship. The pill is a personal choice, a medical choice, and not to be decided upon by an employer.

    It’s great that some people can pay for this medicine out of their own pocket but I couldn’t after grad school, when I had no insurance. And my best friend, working as a teacher and getting paid 20 some K a year couldn’t afford the incredibly expensive non-generic she needed for multiple hormonal issues she was facing. This really has nothing to do with killing babies. It has everything to do with treating women.
    Lauren recently posted…Weekend-ing: The 3-dayMy Profile

  8. Not even having to deal with your health issues, as a healthy person living in the U.S., I was appalled by all of the above, namely people going WITHOUT healthcare because it was so damn expensive.

    You said it all.
    save. spend. splurge. recently posted…Links à la Mode: Style EverywhereMy Profile

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