CHILI! Ar-TICK-Yoo-Late!

So, it’s been brought to my attention that yesterday’s post, while somewhat cathartic, is really little more than an angry rant.  If I’m going to communicate effectively, I need to be far more articulate and discerning with both the points I’m trying to make and the language I’m using to make them, so let’s try this again, shall we?

Allow me to begin by saying that I have have been watching, with equal parts stunned bemusement and abject horror, as the manufactured hysteria over birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act has played out on my radio, television, and computer.  I have been likewise bewildered at the twin facts of the preponderance of men speaking on the issue and (for me, at least) the relative silence of women.

Let’s look at the facts – not my opinions, mind you, but the facts.

It is a fact that 29 of the 50 states in the Union already have laws in place that require the coverage of FDA approved contraceptive medications and devises under insurance plans.

It is a fact that eight of these states (mine included) do not allow an exemption from participation in these plans to religious-based employers.  (go here and find the PDF titled “Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives)

It is a fact that employers have been required to do this since December of 2000, when the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that failure to provide such coverage violates the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act. That law is, in turn, an amendment to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlaws, among other things, discrimination based on gender.

It is a fact that contraception and access to both family planning and women’s health services saves livesand money.

It is a fact that access to family planning prevents abortion.

It is a fact that a great number of women use contraceptive medication for reasons other than birth control.

That’s a lot of facts, and those are only the ones I could come up with in the 10 minutes I’ve been sitting here.

Let’s get a couple of other things clear, because this has been an argument I’ve been hearing a lot – and from some surprising sources, as well; my employer DOES NOT PAY FOR MY INSURANCE, and neither does yours.  Insurance coverage is part of our compensation package; the money for the premiums comes out of our pay, not from our employers’ accounts.  My employer no more pays for my insurance than it pays for my taxes; the money for those things is simply diverted from my compensation before my paycheck is cut.

Let that trickle into your brains, please; the money that pays for YOUR insurance coverage is YOUR money.  It doesn’t – or, rather, it shouldn’t – matter a bit what your employer “believes;” who you work for should not determine what kind of access you have to health care.

Let’s get another thing perfectly clear, please; this isn’t just a “woman’s” issue.  The men who love women – ANY women – are deeply affected by this, as well.

I can think of no reason – none – why this should even be an issue.  Can you?



Filed under compassion and connection, concerns, critical thinking, doing my duty, duh!, dumbassery, family matters, frustrations, health, ideas and opinions, on death and dying, Parenting, politics, ruminating, social issues, technical difficulties, this is NOT a drill, Worries and Anxieties, WTF?!

15 responses to “CHILI! Ar-TICK-Yoo-Late!

  1. Improbable Joe

    The entire Republican Party is allowed to be fact-free, so why are you required to be more “Ar-TICK-Yoo-Late” than their highest elected officials? Hell, you could just aspire to be Republican Senator Jon Kyl who claimed that Planned Parenthood’s activities were ““well over 90%” abortion, when the number is well under 10%. Funny how liberals have to be polite, have to get their facts straight, while Republicans can say whatever they like.

    Someone told you that was “little more than an angry rant”? Hell, you were more honest than any Republican running for president, and less angry and irrational to boot!

  2. Kagan Alexander

    Hi, Chili! I’m back!

    I don’t know; I kind of think Joe’s right here. I’m willing to bet you that no one CAN come up with a good argument for this fight – at least, not one that makes sense to anyone else besides them. “Because I said so” isn’t a good enough reason, either.

  3. Kagan, welcome back. Where ya been, Babe?

    Actually, Joe, a couple of people gave me that kind of feedback about my last post, though only one of them told me that it was a rant (his exact words were, “Sheesh… I couldn’t even read the entire first paragraph. I probably agree with the majority of the points you are trying to make, but even I was off-put by the vulgarity of the approach). If I put people off, no one’s going to listen to me. THAT’S why I felt the need to re-articulate my argument; if I shut people down, I don’t get my message out and I’m just yelling into the wind.

    • Improbable Joe

      From my experience, the pearl-clutching claims of “I can’t read your posts if you use dirty words” are patently false. It is a lie that Wrong-Wingers tell to avoid dealing with the substance of an argument. Those sorts of people HUNT for “obscenities” when their entire position is itself obscene.

  4. Brandon

    Here’s the thing, my current employer does pay for my health insurance. I’m currently enrolled in a high-deductible plan, so I have nothing withheld from each paycheck for monthly premiums. And when I have been employed by other companies where I did have an amount withdrawn from each paycheck, that was not the total cost of the monthly premium – my employer was picking up the remaining balance.

    My previous, $150 deductible, very comprehensive plan was not only $250 per month for me and and my wife. That was around 15-20% of the monthly premium with the rest being paid by the company. That was a part of their cost of employing me, in addition to my salary, their portion of Social Security taxes etc. They were paying for a big portion of my health insurance and it was up to them to decide how much they paid vs what employees had to pay.

    I don’t agree with Catholic beliefs on contraception, but they should not be forced to offer insurance plans that cover that if it violates their beliefs. No woman is being prevented from going to the pharmacy with a prescription for birth control and receiving it. She will be paying more out of pocket for it, but she has access. Like many arguments in the political realm, this is about who is picking up the cost.

    • kizzbeth

      Brandon, the point she’s making is that when you sign up for a job and they offer you a list of things 1. $X in salary, 2. $X into your 401(k), 3. Health Insurance then all those things comprise your compensation. You’re doing work and this is how your time and effort is being valued. So, once you do the work all of those things, the ones coming out of the $X in #1 AND all the others, are your money, money you earned (maybe it’s simpler to think of it as barter, you bartered your work for a place in their health insurance group but you still worked for it) and therefore yours to use as you see fit. You don’t have to ask your employer before you get an MRI, you shouldn’t have to ask them about any services because they aren’t (usually) medical professionals. Your health is between you and the people you choose to consult about it. And so’s mine, even though I have a (presumably) functional uterus.

      • Brandon

        While one can think of it in terms of what your total compensation package is worth, it is not really the case that the employer isn’t paying for any of the medical insurance. If I declined the medical coverage at my job they aren’t going to turn around and add the amount they would have paid for the insurance back into my salary as if it really had been my money all along and they were simply the middle man facilitating the payments.

      • Okay, so are you going to tell me that you’re okay with your boss or your company deciding what medical care you’re allowed to have?

        Let’s say I fall down the stairs and hurt my ankle. My doctor thinks I should have an MRI to check the extent of the damage – maybe I need a cast – but my employer doesn’t think that’s necessary; it’s just a sprain. Does my employer have more say than my doctor?

        Or let’s say that my employer is one of those vaccine conspiracy nuts. Do they get to tell me that I can’t have a flu shot, or that I can’t vaccinate my children against diphtheria or polio?

        Look; what it really comes down to this – WHO’S business is MY health care? Who’s business is YOURS? I find it stunning that this is even an issue.

      • Brandon

        But Chili, that’s not what this current issue is about. No employer is deciding what medical care one is able have, they are making decisions about the insurance offered, which manages the costs/payments for medical services, not what medical services one can undergo. No employer would be involved in any way in the hypothetical examples you listed regarding an ankle injury or vaccinations. And in this specific case the issue is whether a religious organization, such as a Catholic hospital or charity, has to provide insurance for their employees that covers birth control, sterilization, etc. if they are morally opposed to those options.

        No woman is being denied access to contraception if she has an insurance plan that does not cover it at 100% or any percent for that matter. My wife has a friend who teaches at a Catholic school and she pays for birth control out of pocket, separate from the health insurance she has through the school. Most insurance plans aren’t likely to provide coverage for infertility treatments, but that doesn’t mean that those treatments are unavailable. There are practices all over the country that provide those services, they can be quite expensive (especially IVF) if insurance doesn’t cover some portion of the costs, but they are available and couples go to them for treatment.

  5. The GOP: a party in search of an issue besides making the world safer for billionaires.

  6. the hypocrits of the catholic church (here on the west coast) is ridiculous

    * friend in catholic hospital, having 3rd baby, was offered a tubal ligation when signing in for her c-section (no problems, just offered)
    *worked for the church (and yes, i understand i got an ax to grind); i have an endocrine disorder. they were willing to pay for the meds, that, should i have become pregant with boys, would cause teratogenic (read: monsterous) birth defects and death within hours of birth. plus some lovely side effects for moi. not willing to take bcp route, which did the same thing, cheaper and with less side effects.

    so sick of churches hiding behind the BOR and 501(c)3 status….

  7. Laurie B

    I liked the rant, thank you for the follow up details.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir, an I’m not the most concise of your readers but it felt good to spout some.

    My uniformed but very opinionated thinking is that insurance is insurance. I don’t get to choose that my federal taxes are going to pay for more missles and drones instead of more peace. We all don’t get to choose how are taxes are spent. Likewise, employers should not be allowed to cherry pick they insurance benefits they offer. Insurance is a total package. As employees, we do pay in, and we deserve the MEDICAL care that insurance provides. Separation of church and state, right? Oh, yeah, within the same birth control options, condoms would only be available by way of a prescription and would not funded either, and let’s just guess that the cost just went up to $30.00 per month. Havung any fun Brandon? Or, how’s that aspirin thing working for you?

    We’re talking MEDICAL care here, not a faith based choice. What the hell? The courts have ordered parents to allow for blood transfusions for their children that were unfortunate enough to be born to the Seventh Day parents. Oh, and then this “Catholic” birth control question, really? The government can overrule one religion in one place and then say, “oh ok, you go ahead and make the rules” to the Catholics? Na-Na, ha, ha, that religion is more right than yours, you Seventh Dayers! Wow, we really do need to delineate and clarify that church and state rule a bit more. Just what church? Oh, ehhm, not you…but that one is fine.

    A tooth cleaning is a medical procedure, so is an abortion. They both carry risks. The tooth cleaning, a heart failure, the abortion, sometimes a lifetime of poverty for mother and child, no prenatal care also leads to lifelong health issues for the entire family. The tooth cleaning and the abortion are both MEDICAL procedures that should be safe, sterile and available to everybody.

    I’m just one more vote for equal payer/universal health insurance. The US Gov’ment politicians, the president, house and senate, the US based Catholic bishops and cardinals, all of us, we’d all have the same coverage. That’d be some fine day.

    Yeah, Laur, keep dreaming.

    PS, to the lovely gentleman that offered up that quaint aspirin advice, take that aspirin and stick it way up your penis. You won’t be getting any woman pregnant soon after that experience. Yeah! A new form of birth control!

  8. Laurie B

    Crap, I TOTALLY forgot the Viagra prescriptions! Gosh, Obama, Romney, Santorum, Perry, the whole sad lot of them, I’d ask them, should all of those female interns that do not have birth control options be hiding in fear because you guys now have health care provided “ability”? And a side note here, while you may not have wanted to hear ads for “feminine products” at any time of the year, we ALL have to hear about a “sustained erection lasting more than four hours” during the evening news every sinfle frigge day? Every single day. Really? It’s way past time to let the bigger heads do the thinking. A man’s ability for erections are primetime in the evening news and a woman is responsible for her uninsured birth control. Come on guys, that’s the best you can do at the voting both?

  9. This problem of contraception and reproductive rights is so wrongly framed as to make my eyes bleed.

    Other industrialized nations don’t allow churches to have a say in the reproductive rights of the citizenry because other nations don’t place the health of their population in the hands of profit-driven corporations and ideological institutions like religion. Other nations put patients and doctors together and leave the decision-making at that level.

    Anyone who believes employers and churches should be put in between patients and doctors can just go fuck themselves.

  10. Laurie B

    And that, dear Rick, is why you are the Ninja writer, quick, concise, and deathly accurate. Thank you.

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