PART V: Hobby Lobby’s Case Is NOT About Religious Liberty


imagesI am going to take a very unpopular position.  Why does a person need insurance to cover basic contraceptives?  I know for mentioning this, I’m going to be declared a monster, but I just don’t think insurance should be a be-all and end-all.  That’s why I am absolutely enraged over what is going on in the state of New Mexico when it comes to the ACA and insurance.  I lost my very good insurance, and yes, I’m pissed about it.  It was declared ‘bad’ because I was paying $164/month for a yearly deductible of $2500.  Oh, but the ACA is the greatest thing there ever was.  Bull-you-know-what.  Yes, I’m not to be saying that, not after supporting Barack Obama and supporting the ACA, but guess what, that’s the reason I can say it.  Now, for the great privilege of having a $10,000 yearly deductible, I get to shell out $457/month.  Do I look that stupid?  Right now it’s a consumer thing.  I’m a consumer.  I don’t do rip-offs, and this is a rip-off.  I also don’t buy into the strange and cheerful proclamation that, because of the ACA, 6 million people are now insured – who weren’t.  Big fat hairy deal.  There are something like 317 or so million people in the US.  This is the dumbest argument I’ve ever seen to promote a truly lousy program.  That’s maybe 2% of the population.

Thanks to the abjectly draconian new rules for insurance, if I don’t do something in the next few days, I’m going to be without insurance until I have a major life-changing event.  Well, I guess I’m doing without insurance.  I am NOT paying something for absolutely nothing.

The other day, I sat down and calculated what I’ve shelled out, in medical costs, my adult life:
$ 600 – Busted ankle – Chicago
$1200 – 1st melanoma excision
$1500 – 2nd melanoma excision (both outpatient)
$1500 – $50/twice a year – since 1999 – dermatologist visit for melanoma
$ 600 – stupid lab tests I did not need
$5000 – total for broken elbow
$1500 – ER visit to satisfy my hysterical mother (I was dehydrated)
$1200 – 2 specialist visits to satisfy my hysterical mother (I was dehydrated)
$1900 – misc. GYN appointments over the years
$ 200 – more lab tests
$14000 (That’s over my adult life-time)

Dental is another story. I’ve had 5 crowns for a grand total of $10,000 and another $250 for a root canal. (I chew ice and break teeth, which is why I’m restricted to addictive chewing of ice from Sonic).

So, just to have the honor of being allowed to be ripped-off so that everyone can say how wonderful the ACA is, I must theoretically pay out, in one year, what I’ve paid in a life-time.  Do I look that stupid?

We’re not even adding in prescriptions.  I don’t take medication.  The last time I had an antibiotic was Christmas, 1999.  I periodically spend about $60 for a tube of medication to help with my eczema.  I was taking thyroid medication, but had to quit due to the problems I was having with it.  I was given a prescription for pain medication when I broke my elbow in 2005, but am allergic to pain meds, so I quit taking it and lived on Advil.

I am one of the annoying people who does not believe in taking medicine.  I had one GP who told me he wasn’t going to bother prescribing anything to me because it was a waste of his time.  I wasn’t going to take it, so why should he bother?  That’s why I am so skeptical of having insurance pay for contraceptives. It’s not religious.  I know I’m one of the strange people here, but I’m still not sure how safe they are. Yes, call me stupid. I made a determination that I wasn’t going to put them into my body.  I refuse to take anything more than a few natural products for menopause.  My honest opinion is we have become an increasingly over-medicated society.  We are a nation of hypochondriacs.

Every time someone has a cold, they run to the doctor for an antibiotic.  You feel down, you get a prescription for anti-depressants. Can’t sleep, get a prescription for that.  Stub you big toe, you get a prescription for pain.  I read somewhere that, in this country, the average person, over the age of 50 is taking 5 prescription medications.  I’ve just about reached the conclusion if people are dumb enough to fall for every new prescription for conditions that can be controlled by behavior modification, then you know what? Well, they need to be screwed by insurance companies.  If I owned a business and was forced to provide insurance – and I still don’t think businesses should be required to do so, and should NOT be required to pay a fine for refusing not to have insurance for their employees, then I sure as hell would not be providing insurance for prescriptions – without a huge personal deduction.

I guess that makes me a nasty person, but why must someone who owns a business be required to nanny their employees, many of whom are making deplorable life-style choices.  Sorry, pay ’em two bucks more an hour and let them be responsible for it.  I was thinking, today, about the fact that a person with more than 40 employees must either provide what is now expensive insurance or  $2000/per person fine.  I know one business owner who is terrified of this.  They have about 65 employees – and can barely make ends meet – because of the horrific taxes that normal business owners get stuck paying.  Now, they’re going to be hit with more.  Sorry, but it isn’t right.

People should have access to health care, but they need to take personal responsibility about it.  To crow about the fact that, having literally destroyed health care for tens of millions, and are putting small businesses on the path to oblivion, just to have provided insurance for 6 million or so people who didn’t have it is a Pyrrhic victory.

They way David Green solves his problem is to either shut up about the prescription coverage, or make sure that men are not being insured for Viagra.  It’s that simple.  It’s not about religious freedom, but the freedom of a business owner to make a profit, provide jobs, and not be treated as if they were some sort of monster because they aren’t providing insurance that covers prescriptions for everything under the sun.  If this is the case, then they should socialize the whole system.

From what I can find, if a woman shops around, she can get birth control pills for as little as $4 a month, with the average being about $15/month.  If I had not been going through the financial hell I’ve been through, the past few years, I couldn’t say this, but that’s not going to break anyone.  If a business is providing insurance, I think that insurance should cover a woman’s annual GYN check-up so that a woman can get a prescription, but deal with reality.  Everyone can’t have everything. If a woman is so strapped for cash that she can’t put up anywhere from $5/$10 a month, then she’s eligible for free medication anyway – so what is the big fat hairy deal.   It has nothing to do with morality or religion, but reason and logic.   Guess what, it isn’t fair for a business owner to be forced to shell out huge amounts of money to insure their employees.

If I owned a business, I’d provide catastrophic insurance, and on the job compensation, but, if you think I would willingly provide insurance based on life-style choices, you’re out of your mind.  Why should someone be forced to insure some stupid idiot who is a skate-boarder?  Why insure someone who skies or does any sort of sport where they can become seriously injured – and you get the shaft for it?  Do your employees smoke?  Don’t insure them.  Do they party and drink too much?  Don’t insure them.  You shouldn’t be required to have financial responsibility for an employee, other than on the job insurance, and something basic.   Employees should be required to pick up the ‘extras’ -which they pay for.  It’s that simple.

Oh, but you do that, advocate that, and well,  you morph into a monster.

Fine, I’m a monster.

As for David Green, he blew it.  The Hobby-Lobby case should not be about religion, or religious freedom.  It should be about any generic business owner’s rights not to be bullied and forced into paying for something that is going to put a dent in their bottom line.  Oh, but he’s a billionaire, he an afford it.  That’s not the point.  Just because someone is a billionaire is no reason why they should be required to pay for every little thing in an employee’s life.

Pay a living wage – which is also deceptive.  When discussing a minimum wage, people forget that there is this little monster called inflation.  In order to keep the monster hidden behind the magic curtain, certain things aren’t factored into inflation like food and fuel prices.  This year, there are predictions that food prices are expected to rise 14%.  That’s not going to be calculated into inflation or into a person’s pay.  Coffee is going up 15%.  We’re being ripped-off with the price of gas, with energy prices being up 7.1%.

You can’t blame an employer for this.  You blame the government.  You blame a government that refuses to tell the truth about the inflation they are allowing. But – in order to mask that inflation and failure to have a viable monetary policy, you blame business owners who are also trying to survive.

Nope, David Green made his mistake by hiding behind the Bible. Instead, he should be complaining that he’s required to pay so much for insurance.  Instead, maybe he should consider advocating for socialized medicine, single payer, where he shells out half the amount he would be to insure his employees. That’s the real problem here.  If you are going to do something like the ACA, you go all the way – all or nothing. One way or the other – and force medical costs to fall into line with the rest of the civilized world.

We blame the David Greens of the world, and we blame everyone else, but no one wants to face real facts.  The far right doesn’t want to disturb their big spending big pharma, insurance, and medical pimps.  The liberals are afraid to go all the way and advocate for a system where there is a single payer.  Instead, what we get is the mess of the ACA.  Yea, I blame David Green.  He doesn’t have the courage to step away from the shadow of the pulpit and truly lead.  He’s too busy playing footsie with the Koch Brothers.  Barack Obama has been so abused and cowed by the tea parties that he is a shadow of his former self.

No one gives a damn about the small business owner.  The vast majority of jobs created in this country are created by small business. I know I’m spewing heresy by saying that Obama talks a good game, but, like Susana Martinez, here in New Mexico, is doing little to make life easier for a small business person to create a new job or expand their business.  They’re making it worse.  That’s the problem here.  Liberals appear to neither understand nor care about small business.  They’re into institutions.  That’s okay, but the only reason institutions survive is because of small business.  Conservatives don’t give a damn about small business.  They’ve sold out to the libertarian forces of mega businesses.  They refuse to admit that the small business is the back-bone of this nation – the real job creators.

Let’s just face it, as a nation, we’re screwed.  The way I feel it, a pox on both their houses.  The far right refuses to admit that Barack Obama is the most fiscally conservative POTUS we’ve had in many years.  They’re rather make things worse.  In order to get this nation out of the economic disaster we are still facing, one must create jobs, primarily through modernization and infrastructure.  Libertarians don’t want that.  And – liberals are afraid to admit that Obama is not as liberal as they though he was.

Maybe my problem is the fact that I’ve come to realize that conservative fiscal policies don’t work.  Libertarian fiscal policies are a disaster.  My idea of the perfect POTUS would be Paul Krugman!