Pastor Rick Warren's Not So Kosher Healthcare Plan

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Kosher

Here's the thinking of Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical Christian leader and shallow religious zealot, according to TPM:

Requiring employers to provide insurance covering contraception is no different than forcing a Jewish deli to sell pork, evangelical Christian pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren said Wednesday.

It's catchy. On the surface it almost seems to make a point that could be an eye-opener -- unless you happen to take the time to analyze this analogy.

"In other words, if all of a sudden they made a law that said every Jewish deli in Manhattan has to start selling pork, I would be out there with the rabbis protesting that. Why? I don't have a problem with pork, but I believe in your right to not have to sell pork if it's not in your faith."

He doesn't seem to get his own point, but being gentile, I don't expect him to get the nuances of kashrut (Jewish dietary law). Hell, I'm a Jew and don't know half the rules. But the issue here that Rick W is missing is that nobody is making you eat the pork, or stopping you from eating it. It's personal choice.

With healthcare, nobody's forcing you to use every provision in your policy. Abortion and contraception are provided to those who, to borrow from your own analogy, don't "keep Kosher/sell pork products."

If you're a large employer and must, by law offer health insurance. That's not a choice you get to make. Also, you have to let your employees make their own "religious" choice. Refusing would be considered imposing religious beliefs on another, an apparent violation of the first amendment to the bill of rights.

Of course that's what the Supreme Court will determine in June. Picking and choosing is when it becomes imposing company beliefs on it's employees. It should not be a company mandate unless that company specifically caters only to those of a particular religious affiliation. Public companies are not religious by definition. They cater to all.

Rick Warren's problem is really this: Health insurance is not really an ala carte business. Generally you can't say I just want to buy insurance to be covered for broken bones and Meningitis. Nothing else. No other diseases or injuries. No gall bladder, kidney, liver, cancer stuff. Just the broker bone and Meningitis coverage. How much will that be?

It's not done that way. Generally in a health policy all medical issues are now covered except for death. (That's what life insurance is for.) The options are the deductibles and percentage of coverage.

But what the Republicans and more specifically the Christian evangelicals are fighting for is to turn health insurance into a strictly ala carte business. And according to them, if you're an employer who must provide healthcare insurance for your workers, you should be able to pick and chose what's covered and what's not.

They don't mind paying for your appendicitis or your treatment for migraines. They just don't want to contribute to total health care if it involves something they don't approve of -- in this case, contraception and abortion. They prefer to treat these matters after the fact, after there's an unwanted newborn, or perhaps the mother dies during the pregnancy or delivery. Caring for unwanted children or funerals for mothers with foreseeable complications is the acceptable way to go.

To create a pick-and-chose healthcare menu would make certain coverages too costly and other services not at all within a consumer's reach. So all medical issues get bundled together to bring down the price for the total coverage. Splitting out certain care issues would destroy the pricing model. And that seems to be the goal of the Republican obstructionists. They can't beat the law, so they'll work any angle to make sure it doesn't function.

Back to the the Kosher Deli analogy: In his equation, the Deli are employers. Pork is abortion/contraceptives. He says you shouldn't make the Deli provide insurance it finds contrary to  their religion or doctrines. And I agree. But insurance isn't pork. It's not against anyone's religion -- except perhaps Christian Science who don't subscribe to using doctors at all.

What may be contrary to one's religious beliefs is but one part of the picture of healthcare insurance. And nobody's making you "eat the pork."  Insurance policies serve a larger population than just one religious belief. So if you don't want pork (abortion) don't order it at the Pink Pig Baconarium for lunch. But don't stop others who love their bacon cheeseburger or their link sausages from eating there. That's taking away their choice.

When you make that decision, Pastor Warren, you're not letting others make theirs. You're taking away my rights. So don't eat or sell pork if you don't want to, but don't stop those from getting access to it if they have such a desire.

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