By Michelle Teheux
Pekin (Ill.) Daily Times, July 1, 2014
The Supreme Court just presented us with the best-possible argument in favor of a single-payer health care system.
Rather than the Affordable Care Act, the single-payer option would offer some big advantages, such as nixing employers’ attempts to control what kind of birth control their employees use.
Switching to single-payer would mean these decisions could again be made by the individual in consultation with his (in the case of vasectomies) or her doctor, rather than having to take into consider what the employee’s corporate overlords considered the correct method of contraception.
I’m not unsympathetic to the religious views of those who don’t agree with one method of contraception or another. I think it’s important to note, however, that corporations don’t have any religious views. Only people have religious views. Also, the employer is providing insurance as part of a benefits package the employee has earned. Nobody is giving away health insurance to their employees as a gift, any more than they are giving away paychecks. The employees are earning their money and benefits, and if they decide to stop showing up for work, their employer will stop providing pay and insurance forthwith.
We need to remove employers from the health care debate altogether. It isn’t any of their concern whatsoever whether their employees choose one form of birth control or another. The appearance that they are paying for the contraception (even though they really are not) has served to give them a voice they shouldn’t have.
Imagine if we paid for national defense through payroll deduction. You’d have some people insisting they did not want any of their money to go toward purchasing weapons. Others would say they were OK with throwing their money toward guns, but no bombs. Or rocket launchers are OK, but absolutely no nukes. Etc.
We are all funding things that we don’t agree with, because there’s no way to always be fair. Sorry to break that to you.
Single-payer has always been my first choice of a health care system. It works well in many other countries, where the citizens are mystified by so many Americans’ all-out panic at the idea. We stubbornly insist we have the best health care system in the world, even though a tiny bit of research would show that other countries spend far less per capita on health care and have far better outcomes. It’s willful ignorance.
I never thought the ACA was the last word in health care. I always hoped we’d eventually get to single-payer, and maybe the ACA could be a step toward that eventual goal.
One thing we wouldn’t see, with single-payer, is any corporation trying to convince anybody that it couldn’t stand the idea of being involved in any way with a woman choosing to use contraceptives, because the money would be muddled up much the way money going toward munitions is muddled up. I can’t say my tax dollars explicitly went toward buying the bomb that drone dropped. I couldn’t say my tax dollars explicitly went toward helping pay for birth control pills for that woman who is in no way prepared for motherhood.
And one more thing. Let the 99 percent of us women who have used birth control stop being embarrassed to talk about it. Yes, sometimes some of us have used the pill to regulate our menstrual cycles or to clear up severe acne or to treat endometriosis, and some of us have chosen to have our tubes tied or our husbands have chosen vasectomies because we have a serious medical problem that would make pregnancy dangerous.
But for most of us, we use contraception simply because we don’t want to get pregnant at this particular time, or perhaps not ever, and we are having sex for reasons of pleasure and intimacy, not reproduction.
That’s the reason why almost everybody has sex, and it’s why we need effective contraception available to every single person who wants it.
The Affordable Care Act ought to have accomplished that. Since it can’t, all the more reason to move on to single-payer.
Michelle Teheux is editor at the Pekin Daily Times.
Read more: http://www.pekintimes.com/article/20140701/Opinion/140709850#ixzz36KJpmhOS