Thursday, March 31, 2016

"Birth control and Obamacare: A pious hijacking at the Supreme Court."

The last paragraph is the clincher, but you'll have to click through to read it because I'm no human spoiler alert.

Birth control and Obamacare: A pious hijacking at the Supreme Court (The Economist)

 ... Think for a moment about what it means to “hijack” something. The first example that comes to mind is not an insurance plan but a plane that nefarious passengers commandeer for sinister purposes. A “carjacking”, similarly, involves jumping into someone else’s vehicle and stealing it. Any form of hijacking is marked by violently wresting property from its legitimate owner. And here is where Mr Clement’s metaphor breaks down. When the government arranges for contraceptive coverage with the insurance company used by the religious charity, it is not commandeering anybody’s property. Nor is it taking metaphorical control of the group’s health insurance plan. Instead, the government is seeking to fulfil Obamacare’s near-universal guarantee to female employees by working with the same insurance company or third-party plan administrator that provides the rest of the employee’s health benefits. Neither the insurance company nor the plan is the property of the religious charity: Aetna is not a wholly owned subsidiary of Catholic Charities. The non-profit and the insurer are independent entities. When a school brings a child to a playground that his parents (for some reason) opt to avoid, the teachers are not “hijacking” the swingset. They are using a resource for the child’s benefit. The parents may be displeased about the school trip to the forbidden playground, but any complaint they raise would necessarily have a paternalistic flavour. Employers do not have such a role vis-a-vis their employees.

No comments: