Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Avedon wrote at The Sideshow today:
"The canard is that 'forcing' organizations to provide contraceptive health coverage means forcing them to pay extra for it. Of course, the reverse is true - policies that omit contraceptive coverage cost more than policies that provide it, because pregnancies cost more than contraception. And that means that what the no-contraceptive-coverage crowd really wants is to force people to pay extra for an exception that nobody needs. There's a similar canard related to the whole idea of forbidding funds for abortions for welfare recipients - it's cheaper for the state to fund it than not to fund it, so the rest of us are having to pay the costs of not funding it. This is, of course, a consistent theme with right-wing policy. Fully-funded, WIC programs used to save us $45,000 for every $100 spent, but they kept cutting down until it saved not nearly that much, and yet it still saves us money, though every cut means it saves less again. And so on."
Jon Stewart paraphrased Rick Santorum's political philosophy as "We should all be free to live by Christian law." No, Santorum wants us all to be free to live by Roman Catholic law. Protestants don't have a uniform view on contraception, for example, though many Jews, especially the ultraorthodox, would agree with Santorum and Gingrich in opposing contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, and Darwin's theory of descent with modification by Natural Selection. I think that Joan Walsh was wrong, and that Santorum's critics have not been stressing Santorum's Catholicism enough.

Stewart did zero in on a central matter: Is this issue upsetting most Catholics (let alone other believers) or just "the old guys who run it"? The old guys who run it, of course.

But how about this religious exemption? Will Catholic hospitals perform circumcision? Do employee insurance plans cover this, uh, non-Catholic procedure? (That's a biblical doctrine, by the way: the apostle Paul forbade his gentile converts to undergo circumcision, though he wasn't fully consistent about this in practice.) Can Jewish hospitals insist on circumcising all boy children of their employees, or they won't cover pregnancy and childbirth? Can religious hospitals refuse to treat people who don't belong to their denomination? If not, why not? Of course that would be discrimination, but so is refusing to provide full insurance coverage to non-Catholic employees who don't share their employers' reservations.