Saturday, March 03, 2012

Mr. Blunt's Amendment

capitalism (noun) - an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth
free market (noun) - an economic system that allows supply and demand to regulate prices, wages, etc, rather than government policy
Freedom is a hallmark of capitalism and free market. Infringement upon the liberties of both merchants and consumers is an affront to the system. Here's the rub: it seems as though, in measure, we have needed regulation. Once you involve government intervention the difficult question arises: how much is too much and why?

I must be fair. My current contemplation has been spurred by the recent furor caused by the proposed Blunt amendment, an effort to reclaim the rights of employers to provide the kind of health care they choose.
The administration initially ruled that religious-affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities must include free birth control coverage in their employee health plans. As protests mounted from Catholic leaders and many Republicans, Obama announced an adjustment: Religious employers could opt out, but insurance companies must then pay for the birth control coverage. - timesunion.com
On the Senate floor, religious liberty and the first amendment have been cited; faith institutions, it is proposed, should have the liberty to provide only health care reflecting their standards of morality. Obama responded by allowing the employer to opt out, but the insurance companies had to pay. How does that work? Who can make them pay for that? And what about the faith-based organizations that are self-insured?
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the few Senate Republicans who identifies as pro-choice, reluctantly voted in favor of the measure, even though she admitted that it was "flawed." She said she was dissatisfied with the administration's response to her question about self-insured religious organizations, which may still be required to cover contraception for employees under the new rule.
"I feel I have to vote for the Blunt amendment with the hope that its scope will be further narrowed and refined as the legislative process proceeds," she said. "I do this with a lot of conflict, because I think the amendment does have its flaws, but when the administration cannot even assure me that self-insured faith-based organizations' religious freedom is protected, I feel I have no choice."  - Washington Post

But again, the issue isn't about contraception or health care, it is about the freedom of religion, and the illegality of the government telling any employer, religious or not, what health care coverage they must provide under the penalty of law. The government forcing a religious organization to purchase something which goes against their moral conscience is wrong; it violates the First Amendment of the Constitution. - Paul Roy, Yahoo News

Agreed, religious freedom is paramount. A fundamental interest of many early Americans was religious freedom. I covet such liberty, absolutely.

However, I'm stuck, too, on something else. Back to capitalism. Is there not also an infringement on our basic rights as citizens to live freely, make our money, spend our money, and live as we choose?

And did I miss something? Isn't that employee still free to purchase her own contraceptives? Isn't she free to pass on that job and look elsewhere if the provision isn't to her liking? She should be. And that's a liberty I would champion.

So here's the bottom line for me:
I do believe we should be free within the privacy of our homes and bedrooms to make our own choices regarding behavior. Absolutely. But I certainly don't think you should be paying the bill for my choices. And I shouldn't be paying for yours. Not a single choice. Not a single penny. Not at all.

5 Comments:

Blogger RB said...

Nice post. However, I think you may have fallen inadvertently into a liberal and pro-choice trap. That is, they make this an issue of making available contraception and abortion. IMHO, the most important issue has nothing to do with that, but to do with religious freedom -- a far more basic freedom.

The government, in this case the Obama administration, is defining, and limiting, what the legitimate functions of a church are. Helping the poor and healing the sick even if they are not Catholic, are missions of the Catholic Church and the government is trying to oppose those missions.

I'm afraid that getting into a debate about contraception and abortion plays into the hands of those opposed to religious liberty.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Darlene Sinclair said...

Well, I read Dick Morris' thoughts about that. And I agree that encroachment of religious liberties goes far beyond the concern of contraception in our current state of affairs. And maintaining religious freedom is paramount.

But I do believe that this demand on employers to provide care goes beyond religious freedom. I don't think an employer should even have to provide evidence of "conscientious" objection in order to opt out. He should have the liberty to provide maximum care or minimum care. Period.

I am grateful for Sen. Susan Collins from Maine who, although pro-choice, could not in good conscience vote against this, considering that the admin. has not provided her with an answer for her concern regarding our precious religious freedoms.

But I stand in amazement that we are even debating that particular while somehow allowing the whole.

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