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Comment: Re:Bad Precedence (Score 1) 1330

by TimboJones (#47374337) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

There is nothing I can say, no matter how true, that will change your opinion.

Well, you can imply that I have a developmental disability and change my opinion of you.

Apparently there's nothing that biologists or Catholic bishops can say, no matter the actual evidence, that will change some people's opinion that Plan B causes an abortion.

Your perspective is that of what you want to see.

True. Let me tell you what I want to see. I want to see a world where everyone is free to believe whatever they wish, and freely express those beliefs. I want to see a world where my employer has zero control over my health choices.

Let me also tell you what I do see. I see a culture where employers provide medical insurance. I see a market where medical goods and services are paid for by insurance. I see a law that defines a certain minimum acceptable insurance coverage. Now, I don't particularly like the implementation of these three systems; I'm just saying what I see.

The most elegant way to reconcile what I want to see with what I do see is to assert that the employer's influence ends when their money reaches the insurance company. The insurance company defines coverage to meet or exceed the requirements of the law. The legal minimum should be treated as an indivisible unit; the employer is not allowed to choose a policy covering less than the legal minimum, therefore the minimum can be purchased without making any moral judgement. The employer is free to choose to offer whatever extra coverage they want as part of employment contract negotiation. They can make whatever moral judgements they like about cosmetic surgery or chinese medicine.

Some employees will use their insurance benefit to treat endometriosis with hormonal supplements. Some employees will use their insurance benefit for fertility treatments. Some employees will use their insurance benefit to prevent pregnancy. Some people would never use any of these because it violates their religious beliefs. That's fine; the beneficiary of the policy gets to choose what the benefit is used for. The payer of the policy has no moral skin in this game. If the beneficiary fraudulently obtains prescription drugs and sells them on the side, the payer did not buy or sell the drugs and has committed no crime. If the beneficiary legally obtains contraceptives and uses them, the payer did not buy or use the pill and has committed no act of moral depravity. To claim otherwise is to assert that the payer's moral and religious views supersede those of the beneficiary.

Imagine that Hobby Lobby chose to renegotiate all their employment contracts, no longer providing health insurance but paying a higher salary. This salary difference is contractually constrained to the purpose of purchasing an insurance plan. The model remains the same as I described before: Hobby Lobby pays the insurance company, the insurance company puts that money in a pool, the employee spends their allotted insurance benefit. The only difference is that Hobby Lobby didn't choose the plan. The only difference is the amount of control Hobby Lobby has over the employee's health benefit. It is dissonant to assert that Hobby Lobby pays for contraception when in fact they pay for insurance. It is abhorrent to allow Hobby Lobby to withhold the legal minimum insurance coverage from their employees due to a perceived coercion to violate religious beliefs, due to Hobby Lobby's faulty models of how insurance and contraception work.

The fact is, Hobby Lobby employees don't ask Hobby Lobby to pay for their heart surgery. They ask Hobby Lobby to pay for their insurance. They ask the insurance company to pay for their heart surgery. The insurance carrier doesn't hold Hobby Lobby's payments aside to only pay for Hobby Lobby employees. It all goes into a shared account. If any beneficiary covered by that insurance provider uses their benefit to buy contraceptives, Hobby Lobby's ex-money effectively pays for part of it. Hobby Lobby's ex-money will go on to support war, illegal drugs, legal drugs, rock concert tickets, and political bribes as it filters through the system. What happens to Hobby Lobby's money after they spend it has no bearing on, and should have no influence from, their beliefs.

Quakers don't get to pay half tax because they sincerely believe in pacifism and don't want to support the military budget. But even if they could pay half tax, the government doesn't reduce the military budget based on conscientious objectors; they collect everybody's tax money in a stream and then divide that stream. That Quaker's half tax effectively gets halved again: a quarter of their original tax obligation goes to the military anyway. With every breath you breathe Feynmann's ex-air; with every purchase you spend Feynmann's ex-money. Hitler's too. Morality, and expression, stop at the edges of the shared resource stream.

I understand that the court decision is more subtle than this broad view. I think the non-profit exemption that this decision hinges on was a bad idea in the first place, ceding to other employers who also clutched their pearls, in effect worried that they didn't have enough control over their employee's choices. That law and this decision come down to allowing employers to say "Even though my belief is based on zero evidence, I sincerely believe it and therefore you have to go through extra effort and expense to receive the legal minimum health benefit."

The rule exempting religious nonprofits from having to meet the legal minimum insurance coverage should have been ruled unconstitutional here. This exemption prohibits the free exercise of the beneficiary's religion, by allowing an employer's religion to be exercised in its place. The legal minimum coverage does not prohibit the free exercise of the employer's religion; the employer remains free to choose whether or not to buy or take a contraceptive into their own body. The first amendment does not give anyone the right to exercise their religion in someone else's body, only their own.

Comment: Re:A loss for freedom (Score 1) 1330

by TimboJones (#47364069) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

What do you mean "you people"

I don't like this system of employer-provided health insurance, but that's the reality we're working in. Given that, I'm more interested in preserving the rights of employees to spend the insurance benefits they earned than preserving the rights of employers to dictate how the benefits they provide can be used.

Not least of which is because employers intrinsically have more power than employees. One of the roles of government is to rectify this kind of power imbalance so everyone has an equal opportunity to express their rights and to care for their body.

Hobby Lobby has every right to get up on the soapbox and scream that contraceptives are murder. They ought not have the right to tell their employees "You can't spend the money that you earned working for me on that".

Do you think this decision paves the road from the employer-provided health care system to a single-payer or each-individual health care system? I don't see it.

Comment: Re:Bad Precedence (Score 1) 1330

by TimboJones (#47362569) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

The employer is throwing money in an insurance pool.

The employee is spending their insurance benefit on whatever is required for their health.

The employer is not paying for contraception, they are paying for insurance. That insurance benefit is owned by the employee, earned by their labor. The employer's part in providing insurance is to get a group discount and a payroll tax exemption.

How is the government 'forcing' the employer to do things they object to religiously?

From my perspective, it's much easier to see this is as a case of the employer forcing a religious view on their employee than as a case of the government repressing a religious view of the employer.

Comment: Re:A win for freedom (Score 1) 1330

by TimboJones (#47357811) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

Unfortunately we can extend that to a variety of things. Do your 'sincerely held religious beliefs' outlaw blood transfusions? Looks like your exployees are going to be paying for that themselves. Organ transplants? I'm sure insurance companies would love that.

No, you are wrong. The court case explains why these things would not be allowed. This is just ignorant fear-mongering.

The case explains that these things would have to be examined individually to determine whether they could be exempted. It does not explain why these things would not be allowed.

Comment: Re:A loss for freedom (Score 3, Insightful) 1330

by TimboJones (#47357787) Attached to: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Religious Objections To Contraception

now the people with the money get to decide how its spent.

This would be meaningful if any of the following were false:

  • The money is being spent on employee benefits, not corporate resources
  • The medical industry in the United States relies heavily on insurance
  • The vast majority of insurance coverage in the United States is provided by employers

To my mind, this money belongs to the employees as part of their health benefits package, and the employees should have the ultimate decision on how money is spent on their health.

Comment: Re:Completely violates Jack Welch's 20-70-10 ideas (Score 1) 255

by TimboJones (#47152505) Attached to: A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

You can replace poor performers with better ones without pitting your employees against each other in order to see who's in the bottom 10%. Microsoft's system was particularly egregious, to the point that there existed positions on many teams that were filled by a sacrificial employee in order that the team not be decimated every year.

Reviews are great. Rankings are terrible. Jack Welch can rot.

Comment: Re:sigh (Score 1) 627

by TimboJones (#46940289) Attached to: US Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe

The US highly subsidizes petroleum. If the price of gas came to the market instead of being hidden in tax-funded direct subsidies, tax breaks, and the defense budget, we'd be paying double at the pump also. We're already paying about the same as Europe, but the money is distributed amongst all taxpayers instead of only amongst users.

EARTH smog | bricks AIR -- mud -- FIRE soda water | tequila WATER