The client was adamant. He didn’t want birth control covered and he didn’t want abortion. And because he had over fifty employees and because the year was 1991, I could get his group health insurance policy issued to his specifications. Was this a decision based upon his values and personal religious beliefs? Not hardly. The elimination of these benefits reduced his premium. He was not concerned about the needs of his female employees. The spouses and children of his male employees were not his problem. His daughter-in-laws could afford birth control pills and his granddaughters were still in elementary school.
If that same conversation were held today, his request would be couched with religious overtones. But truth be told, he would have pretended to have been Catholic if it would have saved him 2%.
The Sunday Plain Dealer had a half dozen letters to the editor about the recent lawsuit. A group of forty-three Catholic organizations including the archdioceses of New York and Washington, the University of Notre Dame and Catholic University of America, are suing to block requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide birth control, IUD’s, and the morning after pill. The letters feature Catholics defining Catholicism, Catholics attacking anyone out of step with the current Pope, and Catholics clarifying their belief that theirs is the only true version of Christianity.
As a non-Catholic, non-Christian, I have the opportunity to observe what appears to be a lot of heat, but very little light.
The fun part of this is that the PPACA does not guarantee these benefits, just the fight.
Free Preventive Care, no copays, deductibles, or coinsurance, is a key element of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is the Obama administration and Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who chose to define birth control pills, IUD’s, and the morning after pill as part of Preventive Care. That was a deliberate choice.
But when it comes to the PPACA, almost everyone is pro-choice. The Democrats chose to ignore the parts they don’t like. Republicans choose to ignore the parts that they once endorsed or created.
Are there people truly offended by the birth control provision or the individual mandate? Of course. But like my client of twenty years ago, much of this appears to be convenient agitation. They don’t want to implement the program and this is the excuse du jour. There are costs involved with any improvement in access to care or treatment. In our system, it will be the employers who will bear that burden. There are also some Americans who will disagree with this President no matter what. Some of those people are now, for the first times in their lives, rooting for Notre Dame.
Will the Supreme Court drop-kick the individual mandate? Will the Catholic Church have its day in court? Your guess is as good as mine.
I still contend that none of this really matters.