This is a direct lift of my good buddy Doug Meacham‘s hot-off-the-Facebook-wall take on what needs to change in employer-based health insurance. Starting with religious beliefs, which – in my opinion – have no place in the determination of healthcare choices for a third party. Follow your own faith, but don’t force others to follow your beliefs simply because they work for you.
I really don’t understand this argument that employers should be able to limit their employees’ access to legal healthcare options based on religious views.
The latest outrage is over an arts and crafts chain – Hobby Lobby. Here’s how I see it. I’m no lawyer. I don’t even play one on TV, but Hobby Lobby is a retailer, not a church, and as a “company”, which is legally separate from the owners by being incorporated, it does not get exclusions from certain laws like churches do. Moreover, every individual person in this country has the freedom of religion. Despite opinions to the contrary and the abomination called Citizens United, corporations are NOT people, as defined in the Constitution and therefore do not share that same right. Technically speaking, I would argue that a legal corporate entity, by its nature, does not have any religious beliefs.
Most importantly, I’m pretty sure that Hobby Lobby does not pay the full cost of health insurance. That fact seems to be missing from all the outrage by conservatives over this issue. That insurance cost is shared by the employees and as a result they have every right to open and unfettered access to all healthcare options. It is the same thing as having your employer limiting what you can and cannot eat based on religious beliefs.Everyone is entitled to their religious beliefs or lack thereof, but no-one, including and especially employers, has the right limit another person’s liberty because of their own religious beliefs. Freedom of religion NEVER included limiting other people’s freedoms. It’s just wrong.
If Hobby Lobby, or any other religious based employer, wants to limit healthcare insurance coverage for employees on religious grounds, then as a first step they must pay the full cost of that insurance. Alternatively, they could take the money that they pay into the insurance premiums and give it to the employees directly so they can purchase group insurance independently. Problem is, companies like Hobby Lobby get a tax break in terms of expenses by paying part of the healthcare directly.