Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Hobby of Denying Women Health Coverage

Wherein I rant and rave for a few minutes about health insurance and businesses. Private businesses. Which are apparently people. And have morals and do not want to be forced to have birth control.

Let's get serious here.

Private businesses run on money. They get money, they pay their employees money. Sometimes that pay comes in the form of fat green stacks. (Or small green stacks). Sometimes that is in the form of benefits. Paying people in benefits is great for those who can manage it, because there are tax incentives for the companies who choose this route.

Let's get one thing straight: Health insurance from your place of employment is not free money. It's not a charity. No employer is going to just give you something because you are a nice guy. (Try approaching a random business you don't work for, and see if they'll help you out with your health insurance.) They do it because you are helping them make money, and that's the way capitalism works in this country since slavery became illegal. It's not a "thank you gift" either. It's compensation, plain and simple. Go to work, get paid.  It's part of your compensation. Though you get to pay the rest. How much you pay is up to you/ your employer/ and your insurance company. This can vary widely based on many variables.  Most people pay a pretty good chunk of change for these insurance benefits.  

 How you use your health insurance is your business. Not your employers business. If your employer is a Jehovah's Witness, does she get to dictate to you that you may not use your health insurance to get a blood transfusion? Does your Baptist employer get a say in whether a single man may get a prescription for Viagra? Yeah, I went there. How about that lovely cash money you get paid. What if your employer is a teetotaler? Can he deny you part of your pay because you drink on your days off. Maybe you're going to spend that money at a strip club. Or get your daughter a tattoo. Does your employer get a say? No. Because you are well within your legal rights. Your pay, belongs to you, not your employer. He doesn't get to show up to your door and ask you how you paid for the whiskey in your cabinet, because he employs you. He doesn't own you. You are a private individual.

Like it or not, birth control is part of medical care. Maybe you don't see it that way, because it goes against your morals. But it's a fact. If a woman goes on birth control, she is not required to tell anyone why. It's her body. If a man goes to Wal-mart and buys a pack of condoms, guess who's business it is? Not his employer, that's for sure. There of course is a gray area. Sometimes employers do have say in how their employees live their lives. But they don't ever get a say in how you spend your pay. They either choose to employ you or they choose not to. They don't get to make choices on how you use your compensation.

I don't see how we can single out women's health care like this, and say we aren't singling out women. What other medical decisions get decided by your employer? This is generally a matter of what health insurance will and will not pay. Frankly, birth control can get them off pretty easy. So why deny it?  If she gets birth control pills, she could be treating something that might need pain meds or interventions to treat otherwise. Pregnancies cost. I know it's not a polite fact, but it's a fact fact. They cost money and sometimes they cost lives. Bearing a child is hard. Physically the woman risks a variety of ailments just to get through however many months of pregnancy she does. I don't say 9 months, because so many women aren't that lucky. Many women suffer multiple miscarriages. Sometimes even stillbirths. I lost my fourth baby at somewhere between 17 and 20 weeks. And my sister lost her daughter at 32 weeks. Every time we go in we risk this. We risk complications, c-sections, and even death. How is it that this is not a women's issue?  How is it, that this became a political issue?

I've had four live children. I do not use birth control pills and only even tried it once in my life and that lasted about 3 days. I don't like them and I don't feel comfortable with them. I've never had an abortion, and I don't regret any of that. But I believe every woman should have control over her own body. Not her boyfriend, not her husband, not her parents, or the governor, and sure as hell, not her employer.

1 comment:

  1. You are my hero.

    As you said, birth control is MUCH cheaper than an unplanned pregnancy. Employers who don't want to provide it as part of benefits are being pretty darn dumb.

    And just because someone pays an employee to work for them doesn't mean they own that employee. They don't own that person's privacy, or their life outside of work. They don't have an automatic right to know everything that person does or doesn't do. Employers are renting people's time, not purchasing their life.