BUTT OUT OF MY MEDICINE CABINET
It’s Not About Birth Control
The Supreme Court today sided with Hobby Lobby, and other similarly situated privately held companies, allowing them to choose not to offer specific types of birth control in their health benefits package.
The religious freedom argument is ubiquitous today, and I will not add to that. Instead, I will approach this topic from a different angle: Is it the government’s job to tell companies what must comprise their benefits package? Why must they continue to butt in to the medicine cabinets of private citizens?
Let’s take away the special category that birth control has been assigned in this health care debate. It is sometimes discussed as if birth control would not be available but for ObamaCare. That is just factually inaccurate. Birth control is widely available, and is in no danger of becoming unavailable.
I take a prescription thyroid medication. It is critical to my living a healthy life. My doctor and I talked about the options, agreed on a medication, and I filled the prescription. Why is no one up in arms over universal coverage for thyroid medication? Isn’t birth control just another medication —like cholesterol medication, blood pressure medication, or the thyroid medication I take? They are all lifesaving medications that many patients can’t do without. Birth control is not in some magical medicinal category of its own. But is it the government’s job to tell an employer that they must offer any of those medications in their benefits package? Why would that not be a voluntary agreement between the insurance company and the insured customer? Why should the government be involved at all?
If you say, “Yes, all of those medications must, by law, be covered.” To those who believe that should be the law, I ask, “Upon what principle is that based?” You must believe in a government so powerful that it can tell the employer all sorts of things about employee pay and benefits.
If you want the government to mandate birth control, then to be intellectually consistent, you must also be supportive of the government determining the pay, benefits, sick leave, vacation days, etc. for all jobs at all companies. Is that OK with you? It’s not OK with me. Pay, benefits, sick leave, and vacation days are all decisions that should be agreed upon by the employer and the prospective employee. If they can’t come to a voluntary agreement, it is not the government’s job to step in.
There are many conversations we should not be having with our government. We should not be compelled to discuss with them the contents of our medicine cabinet. That is between my doctor, my insurance company and me. I want the government to butt out of my medicine cabinet.