Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A Touch of Feudalism

Did you know that Xavier University will discontinue its contraceptive coverage:
Xavier University, one of the oldest Roman Catholic colleges in the United States, will cut off birth-control coverage for its employees in July, a move that has divided faculty members and students on the Cincinnati campus.
The abrupt cancellation of insurance benefits at the Jesuit university in Ohio comes amid a furious dispute between the Obama administration and the nation's Catholic bishops over contraception.
The administration has mandated that nearly all health insurance plans provide free birth control by this summer, with limited accommodations for religious institutions that oppose contraception on moral grounds. Top Catholic bishops have blasted that mandate as an attack on religious freedom.
President Barack Obama's allies, in turn, have accused the church of obstructing an important benefit for women.
The controversy prompted Xavier President Michael Graham, a Jesuit priest, to review the health insurance plan offered to the university's 935 employees. Graham announced this week in a letter to the faculty that the plan will cease to cover contraception on July 1.

I hope that Xavier University is also no longer covering vasectomies, a permanent form of birth control and I hope that all prescriptions for Viagra will be scrutinized for the marital status of the patient. Premarital or extramarital sex is against the teachings of the Catholic Church and the oppressed Fathers Of The Church should not be made to subsidize sins.

Never mind that the Catholic Church has in the past ranked the wearing of a condom as a greater evil than the transmitting of AIDS to one's spouse in Africa. Never mind that the Catholic Church regards women priests as a grievous sin, too. Never mind that I believe the Church is overstepping any reasonable definition of religious freedom by demanding that this includes the determination of the kind of health care coverage non-Catholic workers in Catholic universities, schools or hospitals can have. All those anger me greatly, but right now I'm angrier about the feudal touches I see in the society.

If the Catholic Church had its way in this matter, all employers would ultimately be able to use moral or ethical arguments to cut off bits of their health insurance policies and to save money. All employees could then have the extent of their health insurance coverage determined by the morals or ethics of their bosses.

This smells of a feudal system. In medieval feudalism the welfare of the peasants was partly determined by the desires of the feudal overlords (or in some cases feudal overladies). If the lords were benevolent the peasants lives were easier. If the lords chose not to be benevolent, well, that was their right.

We are inching in that direction. The more powers corporations in general have, the fewer powers individual citizens will have. The historical link between employment and health insurance is just that, a historical link, one method of disseminating group health insurance. It should not give the employers a right to determine on the ethics or morals of their workers' health care choices.