Sunday, January 27, 2013

Employers and Health Insurance Rights

New lawsuits are challenging a government policy under the Affordable Care Act - a policy that requires employers to provide health care coverage that includes birth control.  The law exempts employers whose organizations' purpose is to promote religious values, that primarily employ and serve people who follow their religious views, and who qualify as non-profits under the tax laws.

Private employers who hold strong religious convictions about the immorality of birth control and abortion feel that the government, by requiring them to support birth control coverage, is infringing on their First Amendment rights.  This has, in their eyes, become a separation of church and state issue, and has found its way into our courts.

They do not, however, feel that by refusing to comply with the federal requirements, that they are, in turn, infringing on the rights of employees who do not share their views.  I, assume, under a decision to edit the terms of health insurance, employers may also require documentation that procedures such as tubal ligation, hysterectomies, vasectomies, and orchidectomies (excision of the testes) have a clear medical indication unrelated to birth control.

If an employer were to discover that a salaried employee had actually used this money to purchase birth control devices, should the employee be terminated?  After all the employer is, though indirectly, supporting an act that he feels is morally reprehensible.  Perhaps he should not employ anyone who does not, first, indicate in some manner that he/she will not expend salaries for such objectives.

I know of no taxpayer, individual or corporate, who is allowed to refuse to pay taxes to a government that supports efforts that the payer may find morally reprehensible.  We all have to pay taxes whether we are pacifists or not, whether we believe in abortion, or not, whether we believe in capital punishment or not, whether we believe in charter schools or not, etc.

In refusing to provide the coverage (e.g. the financial wherewithal) for birth control and the like, it is not the employee or the government who is acting immorally, but the employer!

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