Finding the right balance between morals and health care

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  • Cheesecake Salt Lake City, UT
    March 28, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    The real problem is obligating employers to provide healthcare in the first place. Not only does this open the door for complicated situations like this one, but it also burdens the private sector with healthcare. I have yet to see a perfect healthcare system anywhere in the world, but the most ideal situation I have seen is that of the single payer system. In that scenario, doctor's are private, individuals can choose where to get their care, but insurance is publicly managed. If everyone already has health insurance, employers don't have to worry about providing it. This is more business friendly, and prevents issues like the one described in this article.

    The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) addresses some issues, but fails to solve the core problems in American healthcare.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    March 27, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    I thought that ACA provides a religious "out" of Obamacare for insurance groups that, for religious reasons, cannot conscientiously participate. I would like to hear more of that.

    If there is a way that God can have power with his saints and "Caesar" have power over his own dominion I am all for it.

  • Social Mod Fiscal Con West Jordan, UT
    March 27, 2014 8:04 a.m.


    "do they have right to dictate what is purchased with that salary"

    Your logic is faulty.

    You see, both the salary and the health insurance are the benefits. Contractually agreed upon at the time of employment. Once it is handed to the employee, it is theirs to do with as they wish.

    The employee can't force the employer to change the amount of the salary because they don't like it, neither can they force the employer to change the amount of the health coverage because they don't like it. Once the negotiations are complete, the deal is struck.

    The employer (or employee) are free to re-negotiate at any time, but it requires the agreement of both parties. This is the way contracts work.

    "how I as a prospective employee can learn what religion a corporation belongs to".

    You don't need to know the religious affiliation of the employer, just pay attention to the employment agreement. What benefits are being offered? What rules does the employer expect employees to follow? What is the culture of the company? All of these can be answered BEFORE accepting employment.

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    March 27, 2014 7:49 a.m.


    I found another article that actually supports what I was saying. It is an opinion piece published nationally on 3/25 that says "While many Americans, including those with religious convictions, approve of and use certain contraceptives, the government-mandated, no-exceptions list includes four especially controversial items (Plan B, ella and two intrauterine devices--IUDs) that the FDA notes can end the life of a developing human being." The quote includes a link to the FDA documents on these four drugs.

    So we can be reading the same article, the title is "Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties -- two courageous families fight for our freedoms at Supreme Court", written by Jonathan Imbody.

    Have a nice day.

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    March 27, 2014 5:56 a.m.


    I will certainly concede that I have not read the court filings or every article written about this case. I just don't have the time. I will also concede that we have probably read different articles, and that they probably vary in scientific exactitude. However, I take issue with your character assassination of me by calling me "willfully ignorant." To me, that label would apply if I had seen the same information as you and chosen to either not read it or had read it but chosen to disbelieve it. Neither of those cases is true.

    Again, I admit that I may be wrong about the exact nature of the subset of contraceptives the Greens are opposed to. The more important point, however, is that they are not denying coverage to their employees for an entire class of medicine, just a small subset of specific drugs that they contend conflicts with their religious convictions, the same convictions they have used as the guiding tenets for their company.

    I do have one question no one else seems to have asked (at least not that I've seen) - how many of their employees are upset by the Green's choice?

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    March 26, 2014 11:42 p.m.

    Abortion is grossly sinful and immoral.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    March 26, 2014 4:51 p.m.

    If the ACA is a tax, you don't get to pick and choose which taxes you pay.

    @Paul in MD: This isn't about abortion unless you are willfully ignorant of the facts and don't believe in science which is your right, but you can't be part of the conversation if you don't understand what is being discussed. It's like children interrupting with...but, but, but, my friend said...

    Hobby Lobby already covered 16 of the 20 methods of contraception.
    The other 4 medications (they oppose) are there to prevent or delay ovulation, Dr. Petra Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Mayo Clinic, told the New York Times in a piece on the science behind emergency contraception.
    They don't act after fertilization. As the Times noted, there is no credible evidence to support the claim that emergency contraception prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb. Instead, the pills delay ovulation or thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, meaning that fertilization never even occurs.

  • OneWifeOnly San Diego, CA
    March 26, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    If my employer is paying 100% of my salary, do they have right to dictate what is purchased with that salary? Insurance is an "earned" benefit just as salary is an "earned" benefit. Once it is earned the religious teachings/belief of the owners of the company are irrelevant.

    Also, I would like someone to show me how a corporation is baptized and how I as a prospective employee can learn what religion a corporation belongs to. In my opinion, corporations are legal entities not people. Corporations can not pray. Corporations do not have souls. Corporations do not die. Corporations do not go to heaven.

    Is everyone ok if religious owners of businesses object to blood transfusions and refuse to pay for insurance that includes blood transfusions? I've even heard of religions who do not believe in modern medical practices at all. Are those owners free to not offer insurance at all?

    Finally, just because one "believes" birth control = abortion doesn't make it so any more than if I (as an adult) "believe" the tooth fairy will leave money under my pillow doesn't make me rich in the morning.

  • Social Mod Fiscal Con West Jordan, UT
    March 26, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    If the employee was paying 100% of the premium then there would be no issue. However, the employer is also paying a portion (in most states a min of 50%).

    Employer provided health insurance is not a "right", it is a benefit, a perk provided by the employer to attract and maintain quality employees. If the contractual agreement between employer and employee stipulates a certain type of health insurance as a perk of employment and the employee (or potential employee) doesn't like that deal, they are free to 1) provide the extra benefits out of their own pocket, 2) decide the extras aren't really that important, or 3) look for an employer who will offer those benefits.

    The ACA is attempting to change the contractual nature of that relationship.

    This is not simply religious freedom issue. This is a free market issue. This law is forcing us to decide if we want to continue having a (partially regulated) free market economy, or do we prefer a (fully regulated) government run economy.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    March 26, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    Largely left out of this discussion, but still relevant, is what constitutes religious belief in the eyes of the law. Does a religion have to be "official" to be recognized? Does a belief have to be affiliated with a church with an organized structure (governing board, address, tax ID number, published doctrine, etc.) to be recognized by the law? Do religious beliefs have to be theistic? What sort of provenance does a person (or corporation) claiming a religious exemption have to provide to show that the purported belief is a deeply held religious conviction and not a caprice or a dodge to avoid a government regulation? While religious belief should be afforded broad latitude, there needs to be some boundaries. Otherwise there is no difference between Pope Francis and Brian David Mitchell.

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    March 26, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    The specifics of what the owners of Hobby Lobby (the Greens, I believe) object to being forced to provide are more detailed and narrower than what the media is generally providing.

    The Greens are opposed to abortion. They are willing to cover, and in fact have covered in the past, those contraceptives that PREVENT conception. They are opposed to those forms of "contraception" that are actually post-conception abortion drugs.

    And by not paying for those items, the Greens are not proposing denying their employees anything. The employees are given the information before they sign up for coverage or agree to employment, and can choose or not choose to agree to it.

    Why isn't the discussion about why people who don't want to get pregnant aren't willing to do anything to prevent it until after they've gotten pregnant? Personal responsibility, anyone?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    March 26, 2014 6:13 a.m.


    Why do employees pay premiums then? Stop using your religion as an excuse for discrimination (in this case, against women).

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 26, 2014 4:26 a.m.

    This is just another example of the entitlement society thinking it has the right to force others to pay for the recreational sex of the entitled.

    No birth control would be denied anyone. Anyone can obtain it without any problem. But, it is wrong to force others to pay for it against their religious convictions.

    This is a very narrow case and does not apply to any other issue except birth control.

    religious freedom is the first right that is addressed in the Bill of Rights. That's because it was the most important right to the founding fathers. If it is lost, our Constitution is finished.

  • Social Mod Fiscal Con West Jordan, UT
    March 25, 2014 10:51 p.m.


    No, that doesn't make sense. Your argument is essentially, "Do it the way I think is right and everyone else just shut up." This is not civil dialogue that adds anything to the discussion.

    It turns out that to many people in American (Americans by the way), the Bill of Rights is really important. Yes, perhaps even more important than the physical well-being of individuals. Perhaps even more important than the physical well-being of themselves.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    March 25, 2014 9:00 p.m.

    "Finding the right balance?"

    The "right balance" will be achieved when religious zealots STOP demanding that their morals take precedence over the well being of America and Americans.

    Does that make sense?

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    March 25, 2014 7:49 p.m.

    If an employer doesn't want to pay for health benefits that he finds immoral, he shouldn't have to. In that case let the employer have the option of giving employees pretax dollars(so it would recieve the same tax treatment as if done by a corporation) so that they can purchase health insurance of their choosing. Then don't penalize the company for not providing insurance. (Hobby Lobby considered not providing insurance but would be penalized 27 million and they actually do want to provide insurance).

  • viejogeezer CARLSBAD, CA
    March 25, 2014 6:36 p.m.

    1)there are exceptions to social security and medicare now, and at least one of them is for religious reasons (ministers)
    2) Don't forget that the business and personal mandates were not proposed by the progressives but by the conservatives from the American Enterprise Institute. Some wanted to bring everyone under Medicare and adjust taxes accordingly. Some felt it would be cheaper and more fair than what we have now. Many felt it wrong that some people could avoid paying for insurance and when they got sick just go to the emergency room for free care that the rest of us would pay for.
    3) Some might feel it obscene that 88,000 Americans would die in the last 4 years because they couldn't afford to go to the doctor (Fareed Zacharia on CNN last year)
    4) Some might feel that the dislocations you mention are worth it to avoid the before mentioned conditions.

  • ThomH San Jose, CA
    March 25, 2014 5:27 p.m.

    Require employers to pay an untaxed cash payment to employees, who then can spend it as they want on health insurance (or even abortions).

  • techpubs Sioux City, IA
    March 25, 2014 2:38 p.m.

    @ viejogeezer:

    If I am employed, self-employed, or an employer I am required to pay into the Medicare and SS systems. No exceptions. However with the ACA I don't have to provide coverage for my employees if I have less than 50 employees. So if Pete has 51 employees and shows an annual profit of $200k in his business he "must" provide coverage. While Joe has a different product and employs 49 people but makes a profit of $2 million/yr but is exempt from providing coverage.

    Since Pete can't afford to offer his employees coverage that meets the ACA standards he has few options.
    1. Fire two employees and ask the rest to work harder to get under the requirement.
    2. Pay the fine and take less profit.
    3. Sell the business and work for someone else.
    4. Close his business.

  • techpubs Sioux City, IA
    March 25, 2014 2:23 p.m.

    @Henry Drummond:
    One problem stands out in your statement and that is "every other business is required to provide". If a business has less than 49 employees they are not "required" to provide any Health Insurance at all for their employees.
    But aside from that if the Gov't can mandate that an employer must provide Health Ins. for all employees then what else can they mandate?
    Good nutrition and regular exercise will help to cut Health Care costs by keeping you healthier. Does that mean that the Gov't can mandate that your employer "must" provide you with two nutritional meals and a membership at a health club? After all it's the same as having coverage for wellness visits to prevent more costly problems such as clogged arteries or diabetes.

  • viejogeezer CARLSBAD, CA
    March 25, 2014 1:39 p.m.

    It seems to me that a commercial enterprise which uses public infrastructure in pursuit of commercial gain has the responsibility to comply with any constitutional conditions which the public imposes on that commercial enterprise. Otherwise, if I am religiously opposed to Social Security or federal medical insurance, why can't I refuse to collect and match social security and medicare withholding. Or if,like some of my libertarian friends, I am opposed to any form of governmental control of commerce, why can't I ignore safety or child labor regulations. The ACA provisions seem constitutional to me but I guess the Court will decide.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    March 25, 2014 11:46 a.m.

    Mandating that someone who finds something objectionable provides that very objectionable thing is what's at question; it's not all about the employee. If an employee wants something as personal as contraception anyway, they are free to obtain it without forcing their employer to pay for it.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    March 25, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    It would seem that if the owner of a business finds birth control immoral, then that individual does not have to make us of it. How is it Religious Liberty to try and make the same choice for your employees by denying them a benefit every other business is required to provide?