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Just the Place to Go!

Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow

I love Tom Tomorrow’s ability to point out the ridiculous nature of our situation. Just why is it that corporation that (may or may not) employ us are responsible for our health? And how do these corporations hold religious beliefs? And how the Supreme Court can use legal phrases like “sincerely held religious beliefs” with a straight face? Aren’t we supposed to be guaranteed the separation of church and state?



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    Does health insurance cover the price of condoms for men? Just asking.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink
  2. Hassan wrote:

    EBDOUG, I do not know the answer to your question, but I also do not understand why contraception is considered woman only issue. It is quite possible that woman is home maker and the husband is employed at hobby lobby and now cannot get contraception of his wife, which he can do at other places.

    On the other hand I fully agree that a privately held business should be able to operate the way owners see as conforming to their religious beliefs. Business is not state, separation of church and state applies to state.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink
  3. Michael wrote:

    No, health insurance does not cover the cost of condoms, nor should it. Unlike condoms, birth control pills, IUDs, etc., require daily use to be effective, regardless of actual sexual practices. They can’t be purchased on a whim because you want to have a wild night. Also, as most of these methods are hormonal medications, their use requires at least one consultation with a doctor, sometimes more because if side effects. Condoms are fundamentally different and shouldn’t be a part of the discussion.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink
  4. ebdoug wrote:

    I’m just showing the hypocrisy of this discussion. Diaphragms are also prescribed by Doctors; although if you know what size you need, they are available on line. They need not be used daily to be effective same as condoms don’t. Neither condoms nor diaphragms work if you don’t use one.
    If used correctly diaphragms and condoms have no side effects. They do not abort as IUDs do.
    One plus of birth control pills: incidence of ovarian cancer has lessened since woman have used the pill.
    I’m with Hassan: If the corporation doesn’t want to provide birth control and especially IUDs, that is their business. When I headed Family Planning in the County, we handed out condoms free.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    Perhaps someone could research the price of birth control by insurance and from a Family Planning clinic.
    My experience is that the insurance is much more for everything.
    I needed a nebulizer for asthma: $250 by insurance (I don’t remember my co-pay). On-line without insurance it is $50. So $200 was paid into the pockets of the health care company which raises our premiums.
    A GENERIC medication I was put on for three months: $1433 of which I paid $283. I won’t refill that.
    Our discussion is about health insurance covering meds. Perhaps we’d all save money if the pills were bought OTC or at a family planning clinic.
    One Naproxen pill handed to me to take in the ER $11. Two Aleve, same med OTC, almost the same dosage. .08.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  6. TJ wrote:

    I disagree completely with Hassan’s “on the other hand”. Whether private or not, companies that employ people should not have the right to deny coverage to their employees for specific things based on the religious beliefs of the owners. Companies are not people and cannot have protection based on religious beliefs since a company cannot have beliefs, no matter what inane rulings the Supreme Court makes.

    If the owner of a private company has a strongly held religious belief that cancer should only be treated with eastern medicine do you think that his company should have the right to not include coverage for cancer treatment in the medical plan that they offer to employees?

    Of course the obvious and logical solution is to de-couple health insurance and employment in this country – a practice invented out of necessity and grown into a horrific monstrosity that benefits no one (except insurance companies of course).

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink
  7. Michael wrote:

    Sorry, but the diaphragm argument is weak. For one thing, they have a significant failure rate (about 15% typical, 5-10% if used PERFECTLY), particularly when compared with IUDs (<1%). Secondly, I don't think you understand the concept of "prescription." If you can get one online just by knowing what size you need, then it's not by prescription. Prescription requires you go to a doctor and get a signed note that authorizes the purchase.

    Also, it is important to note that IUDs do not primarily act as abortifacients. There are two major types: hormonal (which suppress ovulation, just like the pill does) and copper (which kill sperm). The primary mechanism of these methods, as best as we can determine by actual scientific processes, is that they prevent conception. No conception, no abortion. There may be a secondary effect of thinning of the uterine lining, but the consensus among medical and scientific bodies is that this effect has negligible impact.

    But let’s not lose sight of something: The number of these possible secondary-effect abortions will be significantly lower than the actual, unquestionable abortions that would result from pushing everyone to switch to diaphragms and condoms, because both of those methods fail at a very high rate. So if you really care about preventing abortions, you would favor IUDs over diaphragms any day.

    To go back to the original question, why does health insurance cover prescription allergy medication but not facial tissues or cold medicine? The difference is the clear, bright red line: MEDICAL SUPERVISION AND PRESCRIPTION. It is not hypocritical at all. Prescribed medicines, especially ones that must be taken daily, are cost prohibitive and have considerable logistical barriers to their use. Health insurance coverage is absolutely necessary to lower these barriers and manage the cost. Otherwise, you end up with more babies (many of which will require significantly more money through programs like WIC) and more abortions.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  8. Jon wrote:

    EB Doug: There’s no chance of a man getting pregnant, whether his health insurance covers condoms or not. Men have NEVER had to deal personally with unwanted pregnancy, which is likely part of the problem. Men just do not NEED health insurance which gives them reproductive choices.

    And yet, oddly, Viagra IS covered by many health insurance providers… and the truth is that’s more about recreation than anything else. One wonders whether the religious right be willing to pay for a pill that makes the sexual act more enjoyable for women?

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  9. Dan wrote:

    Thanks, Jon, for hitting the nail on the head.

    The same goes for decisions about a fetus: although the man and woman (usually) share equally in providing genetic material for the fetus, there is a profound difference in that the fetus is, literally, part of the woman’s body. For this reason the woman will (or at least should) always have a far greater say about what happens to the fetus, even if later, during the child’s juvenile years, the parents can share equally in custody responsibility etc.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink