Monday, July 7, 2014

The Pay For It Yourself Crowd on Insurance

One of the biggest responses to those upset about the Hobby Lobby decision and how it limits access to contraceptive services is that the people should just pay for it themselves.  Over at P&R, he makes that claim:
Let's clear one thing up, and it bears clearing.  Neither this ruling, nor Hobby Lobby's objection, nor anything else connected with this case has the slightest impact on the availability of abortion, abortifacient drugs, contraception of various sorts, or other medical treatments.  The issue has nothing to do with availability.  The issue is who pays for it.  A woman working at Hobby Lobby can obtain an abortion today.  She can have an IUD implanted.  She can buy birth control pills and morning-after pills just as she could yesterday.  The only thing she cannot do is send the bill to her employer and demand he pay for it if that employer has religious objections to the type of birth control she wants.
 Over at Breitbart a writer suggests that a woman simply go work somewhere else, or pay for it herself.  She also writes:
With all due respect, Justice Ginsburg is distorting the message of empowerment for women. The high court’s decision does not prevent “legions of women” from gaining “access to contraceptive coverage.” They can buy it for as little as $3.77 per month. Even women on food stamps can afford it.
 All of these claims overlook one basic reality: the vast majority of people impacted by this ruling are already paying for insurance.  I know that I pay a sizable chuck from my paycheck for our family insurance.  Yes, I recognize that my employer also pays a significant portion of the insurance, but why does that mean that they can simply exercise their religion for something I am also paying for in the process?

In South Dakota, the average worker pays over $4,500 a year for family health insurance.  That amount is significantly less than the $10,000 a employer pays as part of a compensation package for the worker (in lieu of increased salary); however, Hobby Lobby's owners get to dictate how their employees portion of health insurance is utilized.  When you add the additional news about the injunction involving Wheaton College to prevent the government from even paying for the insurance, you have control by one individual over another.

This is not an issue of moral agency which is in part an argument made by Wheaton College and over at P&R.  As a moral agent, we can make choices and will be held responsible for those choices.  If you choose to use the contraceptive, you have made a moral choice, but being a moral agent does not allow me to actively prevent others from making that choice.  My money that I pay for health insurance (as well as that of my employer) goes into a pool, but it does not mean endorsing how a person uses such insurance.  As a moral agent, I may find that it is my responsibility to not support a war, but I can't avoid paying taxes.  The taxes I pay also pay for a wide range of things others might find objectionable (food stamps, executions, EB-5).  I can't scream moral agent to be able to impose my will and prevent others from making a choice.  

The only logical conclusion of the "Pay it yourself" crowd is that there should be no group insurance anywhere, or there should be universal insurance and you can choose to access the services that best meet your beliefs.  Because, I like millions of others with group insurance, already pay into that insurance.  

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