Monday, June 30, 2014

Employers vs. Workers, Health Care Edition

Depressing if expected news from the Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-to-4 decision on Monday that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom.

The decision, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to challenges from other corporations to many laws that may be said to violate their religious liberty. . . .

The health care law and related regulations require many employers to provide female workers with comprehensive insurance coverage for a variety of methods of contraception. The companies objected to some of the methods, saying they are tantamount to abortion because they can prevent embryos from implanting in the womb. Providing insurance coverage for those forms of contraception would, the companies said, make them complicit in the practice.
I think this verdict really has nothing to do with health care or religion or abortion. Instead, it is an affirmation of the right of capitalists to run their companies however they see fit, their workers' rights be damned. It holds the religious preferences of owners above the needs of workers. And note that these owners are not really "paying" for coverage of birth control, since health insurers are happy to provide that coverage for free as part of comprehensive plans. (Birth control costs less than babies.)

Meanwhile, this is another great reason to forget about employer-provided coverage altogether and move to a single-payer system.

1 comment:

pootrsox said...

Heartsick for all the folks who work for companies that will take this decision as a mandate to refuse them all sorts of previously legislated benefits on the grounds of "religious" belief.

Taken to its absurd conclusion, slavery has become legal, if you're a devout enough Christian of the 'Biblical inerrancy' school.

You're absolutely right re the need to remove health care entirely from employer discretion. And as a person on Medicare (albeit with the necessary supplemental policies), I can affirm that the single-payer works far better than the private insurance model does.