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Since the other thread is now a discussion on insurance costs, I am still curious:

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Churches can still do whatever the fuck they want because they are a CHURCH and can claim a legitimate reason to expect all their employees to follow their religion, etc (or else why would you work for this church).


There are two questions I have about this:

1. Given today's economy, is this an unreasonable expectation given that most people will take any job they can get if they are unemployed?

Why wouldn't an accountant take a job with a church if that's where a job could be found? In a large hospital (or other organization), is it reasonable to expect that every employee is going to follow the same religion and ideals, and/or have to be subject to those even though it has no impact or relevance to the work being done?

Assuming it's okay for churches or religious-based organizations to require employees follow their ideals and reflect that in insurance coverage...

2. Is the idea of requiring employees to adhere to an ideology - if it's not religious - any more or less acceptable?

Example: Humane Society of the United States, and PeTA* have "no animal products in the work place" policies. Is this any different than a church requiring its employees to follow their religion? If it's okay for a church to refuse covering contraception in its insurance because it opposes their ideology - would it be okay for HSUS or PeTA to refuse to cover insurance costs for what they identify as animal-product originated disease. Could they could refuse to cover the costs of cholesterol medication or bypass surgery because it might have been caused through consumption of animal products - would it be okay for the patient to be forced to prove the cause? For that matter, would it be okay for them to refuse to offer any insurance at all because therapies and pharmaceuticals are required to use animal testing as part of the FDA approval process?


*HSUS is a lobbying organization not at all associated with local humane society shelters. HSUS and PeTA are both animal rights organizations whose primary goals include ending all animal industry and use, force vegan diets, and pet ownership.
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I think the distinction should be (and, as I understand the law, generally is) between an organization that is formed to perform a function that is ideological/religious and an organization that performs a general business function but is owned by a religious/ideological group.

I think it's fine for the Catholic Church to say that if you want to be employed by a church or mission you have to be Catholic and have to follow a code of conduct defined by the Church. A hospital run by the Church is different (although I recognize the gray area pointed out by people here -- from a Christian perspective the line between ministry and business isn't so clear and a church is arguably part of a broader ministry).
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A direct point is insulin which is manufactured from animals, normally swine; though there is also synthetic insulin but it is not animal-product free.


I thought of the above because I remembered this:

PETA Senior Vice President MaryBeth Sweetland on her use of insulin, which was tested on animals:

“I’m an insulin-dependent diabetic. Twice a day I take synthetically manufactured insulin that still contains some animal products — and I have no qualms about it … I’m not going to take the chance of killing myself by not taking insulin. I don’t see myself as a hypocrite. I need my life to fight for the rights of animals.”

–Glamour, January 1990

.
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I think the PETA rule is stupid and shouldn't be allowed because I don't think you should be able to fire or punish someone for anything other than work-related subjects, especially not because they adhere to an ideology you disagree with.

That said, I still think it's different than the medical insurance issue--if they said they weren't going to offer benefits to people who used animal products, or if they refused to cover prescribed drugs that had been animal tested, that would be more analogous to the current issue.
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bjlillo wrote:
I don't believe the government should force anyone to engage in business with a private health insurance company against their will. The fact that PETA and Catholics are now forced to violate their conscience makes that mandate doubly bad in my opinion.


Regardless of an entity's philosophy or stance, people will get healthcare, and it's never free. It would be a huge cost savings if organizations could just say "eh, we have a different philosophy so we're not going to cover this" and push the bill back to the government and employees.

It seems odd to say companies shouldn't be required to provide insurance because it opposes their belief, but knowing that everyone else has to pick up the tab. Where is this magic money tree forest, and why is everyone else responsible for picking up the tab?

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bjlillo wrote:
xilan wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
I don't believe the government should force anyone to engage in business with a private health insurance company against their will. The fact that PETA and Catholics are now forced to violate their conscience makes that mandate doubly bad in my opinion.


Regardless of an entity's philosophy or stance, people will get healthcare, and it's never free. It would be a huge cost savings if organizations could just say "eh, we have a different philosophy so we're not going to cover this" and push the bill back to the government and employees.

It seems odd to say companies shouldn't be required to provide insurance because it opposes their belief, but knowing that everyone else has to pick up the tab. Where is this magic money tree forest, and why is everyone else responsible for picking up the tab?


If you incur additional costs from the terms of your employment, before you enter into that agreement, you should probably take those into account. If the terms of your employment aren't satisfactory, you are free to leave and find employment elsewhere.


That's not a real choice for most people, though, BJ. Especially in unskilled positions.
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bjlillo wrote:
How is that not a real choice? If we can't choose who we associate with, what can we choose?

It's not like the church's opposition to birth control or PETA's opposition to meat is a big secret. If you feel strongly enough about these issues, don't work for PETA or Catholic organizations.


Those are cases involving insane extremists, but the slippery slope leads you to bigger problems. It's not a real choice because for a lot of people the job they have is the only job they can get. If every employer can suddenly change the benefits they offer based on matters of conscience, you've got problems. Especially if by some amazing coincidence all the "consciences" in a geographic area are suddenly very torn up by the idea of offering health insurance or workman's comp.
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bjlillo wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Those are cases involving insane extremists, but the slippery slope leads you to bigger problems. It's not a real choice because for a lot of people the job they have is the only job they can get. If every employer can suddenly change the benefits they offer based on matters of conscience, you've got problems. Especially if by some amazing coincidence all the "consciences" in a geographic area are suddenly very torn up by the idea of offering health insurance or workman's comp.


If all of the employers in an area did that, it would present a tremendous opportunity for another employer to move in and get a bunch of employees for fair compensation.


Like China?
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bjlillo wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Those are cases involving insane extremists, but the slippery slope leads you to bigger problems. It's not a real choice because for a lot of people the job they have is the only job they can get. If every employer can suddenly change the benefits they offer based on matters of conscience, you've got problems. Especially if by some amazing coincidence all the "consciences" in a geographic area are suddenly very torn up by the idea of offering health insurance or workman's comp.


If all of the employers in an area did that, it would present a tremendous opportunity for another employer to move in and get a bunch of employees for fair compensation.


This is that "free market" thinking, but it's stupid in this case. Say the main business in town is a factory that makes widgets. The widget factory decides they don't want to offer health insurance anymore. If you own a competing widget factory, are you going to uproot your own business, foot the expenses of moving and establishing a new widget plant, and set up shop next door knowing that all your competition has to do is match your offers to keep their employees and leave you on the hook for a large capital investment and a shortage of qualified labor?

It's nonsense. Giving an exception for anything so impossible to define as "a matter of conscience" is ridiculous.

I'd take it a step further, too--who enforces the rules to make sure know one is cheating the system by playing the conscience card? What do you do if you find out the owner of that catholic business is--like most catholics--actually using birth control in their own personal life while claiming to be opposed to it in public because it's financially convenient?
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bjlillo wrote:
Dave, you're going off into the woods here on something that isn't actually occurring. PETA's opposition to animal products, Catholics opposition to birth control, and the exemption for the Amish who eschew modern medical care (one religious belief that actually is respected by Obamacare) are not some businessman coming up with something out of the blue to screw over employees. They are long-held beliefs of organizations and people who are now being forced to violate their beliefs on the altar of government control of every minute detail of how a business operates.


Yes, but you seem to think that business owners wouldn't use those exceptions to abuse the system. I think they would. I would. That's good business sense.
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bjlillo wrote:
Dave, you're going off into the woods here on something that isn't actually occurring. PETA's opposition to animal products, Catholics opposition to birth control, and the exemption for the Amish who eschew modern medical care (one religious belief that actually is respected by Obamacare) are not some businessman coming up with something out of the blue to screw over employees. They are long-held beliefs of organizations and people who are now being forced to violate their beliefs on the altar of government control of every minute detail of how a business operates.


But the opposition is predicated on the assumption that with the establishment of an ideological position, responsibility is absolved. That's not the case. Someone, somewhere, has to pick up the bill of providing care. What happens when an employee gets sick and needs to take time off of work? Flu vaccines are tested on animals, and pharmaceuticals are required to take care of many illnesses. Would it be arguable for PeTA* to be able to fire that employee for being away from work too long when they are unwilling to pay for healthcare?

Assuming that PeTA decided it was not going to provide healthcare and an employee gets injured on the job (have you ever dealt with Pam Anderson's manager?!). Would they be able to argue that they have no obligation to pay for care that opposes their ideology?


* Remember that bringing up PeTA is a hypothetical, but it's the best case I could think of offhand that holds a non-religious view and requirement that would be applicable.
 
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bjlillo wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Those are cases involving insane extremists, but the slippery slope leads you to bigger problems. It's not a real choice because for a lot of people the job they have is the only job they can get. If every employer can suddenly change the benefits they offer based on matters of conscience, you've got problems. Especially if by some amazing coincidence all the "consciences" in a geographic area are suddenly very torn up by the idea of offering health insurance or workman's comp.


If all of the employers in an area did that, it would present a tremendous opportunity for another employer to move in and get a bunch of employees for fair compensation.

No, the employer would move in, see what's going on and do the same.
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bjlillo wrote:
We're talking about birth control here, right? How is it the employer's responsibility to provide birth control for an individual and not their own responsibility to provide it for themselves? What is the origin of this debt from employer to employee?


Not just birth control, no. It's a continuation of the same premise: if you're going to allow churches to refuse to pay for birth control because it opposes their ideological beliefs, then how do you justify forcing PeTA to pay for pharmaceuticals tested on animals? That seems pretty hypocritical.
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bjlillo wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Dave, you're going off into the woods here on something that isn't actually occurring. PETA's opposition to animal products, Catholics opposition to birth control, and the exemption for the Amish who eschew modern medical care (one religious belief that actually is respected by Obamacare) are not some businessman coming up with something out of the blue to screw over employees. They are long-held beliefs of organizations and people who are now being forced to violate their beliefs on the altar of government control of every minute detail of how a business operates.


Yes, but you seem to think that business owners wouldn't use those exceptions to abuse the system. I think they would. I would. That's good business sense.


You think it's good business sense to piss off your employees and cut their compensation?


Absolutely, if I'm reasonably sure they have no recourse. That's happened to me before. Luckily I had a network and was able to find a new job, but a good 90% of my coworkers just took it in the rear and stayed where they were.
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Somewhere recently I'd read where PeTA killed more animals under their supposed 'care' than the entire Humane Societies combined! Insulin, were therefore, the very least of their 'hypocrisy' concerns!
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bjlillo wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Absolutely, if I'm reasonably sure they have no recourse. That's happened to me before. Luckily I had a network and was able to find a new job, but a good 90% of my coworkers just took it in the rear and stayed where they were.


Ten percent turnover seems like that would carry a lot of costs with it. Reduced productivity from pissed off or distracted employees also has a cost. I'm not sure this is good business sense.


Oh, there are costs, but those costs weren't nearly as high as the increased profits. That's the point, though, BJ--the company actually did this, a fortune 300 company that makes a shitload of money and continues to be considered one of the top 2 or 3 in their industry. Maybe it was a bad call and someday their whole empire will crash down around their ears, but it sure doesn't look like it. Whether or not you or I agree with the business philosophy doesn't help my former co-workers who suffered through a 30% pay cut mid-year. No one swept in to hire those people.

Businesses will thoroughly sodomize any loophole they can find. If you don't think that this "exception of conscience" loophole is going to be lubed up and worn out by every business who thinks they can get away with it, you're crazy. For that matter, do you really expect anyone to believe that you honestly think a Catholic hospital would support this exemption if they thought their employees who disagree would just "find somewhere else to work?" They're backing it because they know the cost in human resources will be minimal.
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bjlillo wrote:
Ten percent turnover seems like that would carry a lot of costs with it. Reduced productivity from pissed off or distracted employees also has a cost. I'm not sure this is good business sense.


It's not, and employers mostly don't have to deal with this right now because they are able to hire and keep overqualified candidates for little respective money. Their bar: provide more money than unemployment. Oregon recently passed a law that prohibits employers from discriminating against unemployed workers, if that gives you a hint of how much power employers have over employees.

I agree with the theory that employers who offer little benefit or real compensation will be eliminated out of the market, but I don't see how that is a current reality.
 
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Drew1365 wrote:
No, but it gives me an idea of how much power the State of Oregon wields over its citizens.
Do you think it's appropriate for employers to exclude qualified, unemployed individuals from applying for jobs? This happened because employers were posting that a requirement was that candidates must be currently employed.

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/02/employe...
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bjlillo wrote:
xilan wrote:
But the opposition is predicated on the assumption that with the establishment of an ideological position, responsibility is absolved. That's not the case. Someone, somewhere, has to pick up the bill of providing care. What happens when an employee gets sick and needs to take time off of work? Flu vaccines are tested on animals, and pharmaceuticals are required to take care of many illnesses. Would it be arguable for PeTA* to be able to fire that employee for being away from work too long when they are unwilling to pay for healthcare?

Assuming that PeTA decided it was not going to provide healthcare and an employee gets injured on the job (have you ever dealt with Pam Anderson's manager?!). Would they be able to argue that they have no obligation to pay for care that opposes their ideology?


* Remember that bringing up PeTA is a hypothetical, but it's the best case I could think of offhand that holds a non-religious view and requirement that would be applicable.


We're talking about birth control here, right? How is it the employer's responsibility to provide birth control for an individual and not their own responsibility to provide it for themselves? What is the origin of this debt from employer to employee?


Let's back up a step here. Nobody is suggesting that the employer has to provide birth control, any more than they're saying the employee has to use it. There's a distinction between providing it and paying for or subsidizing an insurance plan that covers it. I think the argument may be about whether that distinction makes a difference or not from a "religious freedom" perspective, but that discussion can't happen if one side doesn't acknowledge the distinction.
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Golux13 wrote:
There's a distinction between providing it and paying for or subsidizing an insurance plan that covers it.


I'm not opposed to contraception, but I don't see a practical moral distinction between providing contraception directly and paying someone to provide contraception on your behalf.
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fizzmore wrote:
Golux13 wrote:
There's a distinction between providing it and paying for or subsidizing an insurance plan that covers it.


I'm not opposed to contraception, but I don't see a practical moral distinction between providing contraception directly and paying someone to provide contraception on your behalf.


OK. I do. Especially since in the latter case, it's paying someone for a panoply of coverage that includes a variety of services and products that the insured employee may or may not ever use, including contraception.
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Except that it's possible and practical to provide coverage that doesn't include contraception. I think this is very different from simply paying someone in cash knowing that they can spend it however they wish. Of course, it's also just one of many reasons I'd like to see employment and heath care divorced from one another (though in favor of consumer-oriented competitive private insurance rather than a single-payer model).
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Drew1365 wrote:
This is something I always tell my children. Never expect the world to be fair and do not demand that it be fair. You will not like the ultimate results.


Does it automatically follow then that they should never try to rectify unfairness where they see it?

As Proverbs 31:9 teaches, "Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Unless the world just isn't fair. Then fuck 'em, it's every man for himself."
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