The United States Supreme Court has just heard arguments over the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) concerning the rights of for-profit corporations to object to paying for certain types of birth control required by the health care law. This is all because of religious objections to what two companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, consider a form of abortion by four different types of birth control, including the morning after pill.
Perhaps health care insurance should have never been tied to employment in the first place, as conflicts like this leaves the government in an odd position to lean one way or the other, obviously causing harm to either the employer or the employee, when it comes to requirements of health care. Pregnancy prevention is very important to women and their families because unintended births can be a huge financial burden on a family at the worst of times.
In addition, though I disagree with the reasoning behind the two companies seeking exemption over the birth control, I respect that they have deeply held religious beliefs concerning abortion. However, to allow these two corporations to have a religious exemption from having to provide health coverage for their employees that covers birth control would open the door to all types of lawsuits from different companies over things like blood transfusions and vaccinations for children, as Justice Sonya Sotomayor pointed out during proceedings.
There is one clear path that would solve the issue and satisfy both sides, and that is a single-payer system paid for by payroll deductions, the same as Medicare and Social Security is paid for. For one thing, it would provide health care in a way that would be equal for everyone and for another, employers would no longer have any reason to have religious objections, as it would be paid for by their employees, not the employer themselves.
The whole problem with the Affordable Care Act in the first place has been the political maneuvering by the progressive proponents of a universal health care system to bring on board conservative interests who object to socialized medicine. Unfortunately, that same conservative interest, which is Republican politicians and their supporters, still objected with the reasoning being that ObamaCare is about socialized medicine, even though it is paid for by those who utilize it, except those who cannot afford to.
One thing is clear, some things should never be marketed or sold and health care is one of those things. Figuring out who can or cannot afford to pay for a service that might run into tens of thousands of dollars in cost and allowing market forces to decide the cost of that service was and is, asking for trouble. Civilized society should have a basic coverage for all its citizens so that no one is stuck without what they direly need in the direst of times, or stuck with a huge bill that many families cannot afford to pay without losing their homes and their livelihoods. Health care in America for a long time now has been exactly that to its citizens, the Affordable Care Act has changed that, however with problems.
You cannot please everyone all the time. When the Affordable Care Act was being enacted and those who initiated it mostly wanting a single-payer system in the first place, ended up settling for a compromise. That compromise got them nowhere with those they were compromising with; Republicans who really just did not care to have any kind of universal health care, no matter what the compromise was.
Those who were satisfied with the status-quo and who had decent health care, which was probably paid for through their employer or through the government, of course also did not care that there were 48 million working Americans who did not have health care because they could not afford it and whose jobs did not provide it.
On a side note, President Obama took up a very big issue and one that was very politically risky when he took up the Affordable Care Act. It was not because he personally did not have health care, as he is the president and he has the best health care in the world. It was because he knew there were 48 million people without health care and that many who did have health care, could lose it if they got sick, thanks to insurance companies with the freedom to decide whom they would cover and who they would not.
The president was vilified for that decision by his opponents, the same people who sat in their legislative seats for a long time, not caring that so many Americans were without health care, and that many families had to go bankrupt because of a medical crisis. Finally, we had a president who was courageous enough and caring enough to stand on his principles and fight for health care for everyone and take the heat from those who would have us continue down that same road until health care would become a luxury that only they and their richest of friends could afford.
Religion and politics sometimes cross paths. Perhaps the question we should be asking is not if employers should be forced to pay for something, they have religious objections to, but if employers should be paying for their employees’ health care at all. Single-payer, payroll deducted health care obviously and finally is the best way to go.