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The radical anti-insurance plan the right has concocted

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 21:30 EDT
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I was on NPR’s “On Point” this morning, debating a lying-through-her-teeth anti-choicer (seriously, she claimed as often as she could that  post-ejaculation contraception was “abortion”, an evidence-free claim whose only purpose it to muddy the waters) named Anna Franzonello, and needless to say, it was interesting. You can listen to it here; I was on for about twenty minutes. What was interesting was watching the evolution of the demands based in facetious claims of “religious liberty”. Since Obama has made it so that Catholic hospitals and univerisities don’t actually have to cover their employees’ birth control (though they do get to enjoy the cost savings as if they did!), the argument that forcing employers to directly cover it is a violation of religious liberty is off the table. So instead, the argument has now evolved into claiming that your employer has a right to step in and prevent you from dealing directly with your insurance company to get birth control coverage. That right is justified by the fact that the employer’s money was used as part of your benefits package to pay for your insurance.

I dealt with this directly, arguing that your employer doesn’t own you. That’s what the argument about Taco Bell owners refusing to include contraception in their health care plans is about, whether or not an employer maintains the right to control your compensation package after you earned it. I see no difference in an employer telling you that a health care package you earned can’t be used for birth control because of his moral beliefs than an employer telling you that you can’t buy condoms with your own money because of his moral beliefs. Once they sign the check, either to you directly or to a service provider that processes your benefits, they should not be allowed to control the money as an attempt to control you.

But when I hung up, I realized that what she was claiming was even more radical that that. She said specifically that even with the Obama compromise, it’s a problem, because while Catholic universities and hospitals may not pay directly for your contraception coverage (it comes out of the insurance company’s profits, in sum), because they give any money at all to the insurance company, they should have complete veto power over what it covers. 

If you step back and think about that, it’s a far more radical assertion than even the Stupak amendment, which argued that any person in the entire health care system should, because a dollar that was once in their pocket is floating around in the system, have veto power over your abortion being covered. In this case, they’re saying that anyone in the system anywhere should be able to veto any coverage they claim offends their morals. This is about more than the Taco Bell owner functionally fining their own employees for fucking. Franzonello was claiming that the Taco Bell owner, having paid an insurance company, should have veto power over not just his health care plan, but over any money the insurance company spends, since his money is in there, rubbing shoulders with those less pure dollars. That means that, as far as Franzonello was concerned, not only should the Taco Bell owner be able to veto contraception coverage for his direct employees, but for every single employee of every other company that contracts with the same insurance company. So the Taco Bell owner can force you, the H&R Block employee, to pay for your own contraception because you both are insured through Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and the Taco Bell employee doesn’t want a dollar that was once in his pocket to ever circulate through the system and go towards your contraception, or else Jesus will cry.

And this isn’t just about contraception, either. She made a broad-based argument that anyone should be able to veto anyone’s coverage on any moral grounds. She claimed this would “only” affect contraception, but we know in the past that people have tried to block, on “moral” grounds, coverage for STD treatments and maternal care for single women. Since paying a single dollar into the system would give you ultimate veto power, in her estimation, it really could be anything. Anti-vaccination person buys insurance for his employees from your insurer? Good-bye vaccination coverage for everyone in the entire system. 

That’s how seriously they hate women. They’re basically willing to burn the entire health care system to the ground rather than let some woman somewhere have sex without paying a penalty for it. Damn. 

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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