Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wheaton College stones its students



    The Bible is filled with acts that horrify us today, morally. Disrespectful children being stoned to death, a vengeful God smiting people for trifles—look back over your shoulder when the Big Guy tells you not to and you find yourself a pillar of salt. 
     In that tradition, Wheaton College on Friday will stop providing health insurance, affecting about a quarter of its 3,000 students, because the Affordable Care Act mandates birth control coverage for those who want it.
    This is the key thing to keep in mind: Obamacare doesn't force anyone to use birth control. It just makes it available, like any Walgreen's. If you want to manifest your religious beliefs and not use birth control, you are completely free to do so. 
    Just as those who feel no moral qualm about using birth control can use it. 
    That isn't how Wheaton College spins the situation of course. They make it a matter of their freedom being trampled on by the government. So rather than participate in a system of health care that might allow students to make a moral choice of which they don't approve, Wheaton College is yanking health care away from everyone, over a thousand students, giving them just a few weeks to scramble and find insurance coverage on their own. 
    That's the 2015 version of stoning a whore. 
    Religion should be voluntary. I don't know anybody who disagrees with that, at least publicly. That's why the government should be religion neutral: provide the full health care system and let individuals decide what part they avail themselves to, based on their individual moral beliefs. That's the only way a pluralistic society can work.
     Wheaton College doesn't buy into that because, at heart, they lack the courage of their convictions. They can't tolerate a system where their students don't use birth control because they believe it's morally wrong and avoid it. They have to make it unavailable to them. If they were secure that their students would make the decisions they believe their faith demands, they wouldn't care what the government offered. Because they know that young people actually want access to birth control, their supposed dogma be damned, the school tries to reach over their heads and swat it away. The risk that students, caught without health care, could suffer and die, well, Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. 

72 comments:

  1. When the students signed up, was health coverage in the contract?
    If so, let the lawsuits begin!

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  2. Student health insurance is often pretty lousy, so the students may all be better going onto the ACA marketplace in any case. But an excellent column.

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    1. But Ann, that misses the point and lets WC off the hook.

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  3. I don't quit understand why the Affordable Care Act has to mandate ordinary birth control coverage. But leave that aside, a technical point, healthcare and health insurance are two separate entities. If you are uninsured, in an emergency situation you can receive treatment, hospitals don't just let someone die if they don't have insurance. You can get stuck with a very large bill, hospitals are flexible with payment plans. The problem you can have is things that are not an imminent threat, like a heart bypass etc. Then the hunt begins for a hospital that does charity cases, or attempt to crowd source funds, which can work well for a cute infant or child.

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    1. The ACA has to "mandate ordinary birth control coverage" precisely because entities like Wheaton College exist in this world.

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    2. Bitter Scribe:
      You may find it hard to believe, but I'm actually trying to be serious. There are a wide range of maladies that are not covered, and people deal with themselves, with aspirin, band-aids, topical pain relief, allergy and cold medicines, and so on. For the most part birth control falls within this class, and people make there own decisions during the course of their lives. The traditional purpose for insurance is to spread cost risks among those being insured. When the ACA was being formed and debated, the Administration pointed to the case of Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University student. She has a rare medical condition, requiring an expensive form of birth control. Now I can see a case for Sandra's condition being covered, despite Wheaton College or Georgetown's objection. It doesn't help make coverage more affordable for everyone if we keep adding in extra benefits.

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    3. If you're just looking at this as an economic issue, Bernie, does it help make coverage more affordable if many women having sex end up having babies that they didn't want to have? In that light, birth control seems like very effective "preventive care" that saves a ton of money in the long run.

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    4. Bernie, you are splitting hairs.

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    5. Well Jakash, the government used to agree with your logic, Illinois among other states extended medicaid coverage, to slightly higher income individuals, for family planning services. Now you either qualify for medicaid and receive these services, and if not your private insurance must cover you. I like to believe college coeds understand the economic choice of engaging in unprotected sex, merely because birth control isn't free, is a poor one. Also men, who don't want to bother with prophylactics, should reflect on the fate of Walter Scott, if they thing they can avoid paying child support. Unfortunately little, if anything, in the ACA will reduce overall medical costs for Americans. If we're still posting here in a few years time, and many of us are celebrating another drop in healthcare premiums, feel free to mock my pessimism, I won't mind.

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    6. Good point, Bernie.

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    7. The extreme right and left like to peg people, they forget about moderates.

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    8. We're speaking of college women at Wheaton, though, Bernie! ; ) Nothing wrong with your point, but, as far as I can tell, it doesn't refute mine. The cost to the insurance company of paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than it having to pay for prenatal care and childbirth, let alone the mountain of costs after the child is born. What insurance should and should not cover is a huge argument, of course, but, it seems to me, birth control is a very good value, all things considered.

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  4. Seeing that they eliminated the stonings and beheadings, could this and other acts based on the Bible just be considered Sharia Light?

    W.R.

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    1. NO WR since Jews or Christians aren't beheading people in today's society. It's not the same.

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  5. Perfectly on point, as usual, Neil. If religious leaders think that women should not have sex unless they are willing to get pregnant, let them persuade women that this is a good idea. Coercion, restrictions and pressure are cheating.

    A side note: It makes me crazy when someone frames a debate like this as "employers forced to pay for birth control." Health benefits belong to the employee, not the employer, because the employee pays for them with her own labor and/or money. The employer does not "pay for" her contraceptives any more than he "pays for" her rent, groceries, or anything else she needs or wants that she chooses to spend her money on. Providing an opportunity to earn something does not confer the right to dictate how it will be used.

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  6. What do you expect from born again fundamentalists? Don't put all Christian religions in one basket. They fired an English teacher some years back, cause she converted to Cath. She wan't even teaching religion. Guess they think Cath, Episcop, Presby or Luth not good enough. They are mostly Republican fanatics too at that school.

    Places like WC and Holly hobby are looking for excuses so they don't have to cover insurance and thus save money. Piss on all of them.

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  7. I wonder if those motherfucker hypocrites in the admin. there will pay for Viagra though. They make me steaming mad. If I could hit them and get away with it I would. And then give mainstream non fanatic Christians a bad name.

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    1. (they give, not then give)

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    2. Well, hitting them would not exactly give ANY Christian a GOOD name. : )

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    3. Maybe I'm not a good Christian, by some standards. wink

      I'm leary of some so called "good Christians", good Muslims, etc.

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  8. Don't listen to the old Testament. It was written by Orthodox Jews who were against change.

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  9. Same goes for the Torah or is Talmud, whichever is like the OT, pay no attention to it. Or to extreme passages in the Koran.

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  10. If one must be spiritual, stick with Presby, Episcop, Luth or Reformed Judaism. They don't boss people around. I don't know enough about Greek/Russian orthodoxy Christian philosophy. I know their priests but not bishops can marry at least.

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  11. If a student really wanted to, they can get sperm killer foams or vag suppositories, condoms at a cheaper rate if they can't afford b.c. pills. Guys have to take some responsibility too. Not siding with them just saying to them, hey assholes, we'll find some b.c. after all. They don't believe in freedom of choice, obviously.

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  12. Christianity could be a a generally unqualified force for good were it not for the disastrous obsession of church leaders with sex. A couple of priests writing in todays Sun-Times about the decision to allow gay Scout Leaders express concern "that the resolution articulates a position on adult sexual conduct that dos not make clear that sexual behavior should be reserved to a husband and wife in marriage."

    The question this begs is, of course, "then why does the Church not allow, indeed promote, the marriage of gay adults?" But beyond that, a person at all acquainted with the God-given animal nature of man will agree with Anatole France's observation that "of all the sexual aberrations chastity is the strangest."

    Tom Evans

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    1. yes, it does some good with charitable works, but the Vatican needs to sell all those bldgs. and help the poor

      this new Pope a good talker but he can't change it all

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    2. I agree that the obsession with sex seems to be about the worst feature, in this culture, at this point in history, T. E. But to say "Christianity could be a generally unqualified force for good" seems like a pretty big stretch, both historically and with respect to other cultures today. There was and still is quite a "ramming it down other people's throats" aspect that has more to do with demanding conformity than dealing with sex, per se, IMHO. Also, it depends what version of Christianity one is discussing. I personally don't see Huckabee's belief that the world is about 6,000 years old being much good for anything or anyone -- a President, in particular -- for instance.

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    3. Don't forget historically, Jakash, the Muslims did some nasty things too, centuries ago. There is criticism of the Crusades but without those much of Euro would have been forced into Islam And look what Turkish Muslims did with Armenian Christians, same with Assyrian Christians prosecuted in Muslim Iraq. It isn't just one way.

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    4. Oh, so sorry, I must have missed the reference to the Muslim college in Neil's post. Perhaps you'd like to fill me in on the Muslim mistreatment of indigenous residents of the Western hemisphere, as well. Actually, I don't recall the part where I said it was "one way", at any rate. : )

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    5. Don't be so rigid, one topic can lead to other discussions. I'm replying to your comment.

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  13. Yes, priests should be allow to marry and there should be female priests too. Church doesn't want to share the wealth or know can pay less if someone doesn't have mort, spouse and kids. Some born agains won't allow female ministers. Usually mainstream prots do.

    They need to worry about their child molestors instead.

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  14. I don't see how they can admit gay students if their religious beliefs prevail.

    This is a very ugly step to take weeks from term. If my child were enrolled, I would seek legal action.

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  15. Only a brainwashed fanatic would go to that school. No offspring of mine would be given even a dollar to go there. I'd question how their science dept runs. They prob think the earth is 10k years old.

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  16. There are other private, religious colleges but none run like a dictatorship these days like that one is.

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  17. And those born agains give moderate Republicans, what few are left, a bad name.

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  18. Why should a university pay for students' medical insurance at all? It just raises the overall cost of the education.Itsbetter if they buy their own medical insurance so they know the true cost and can make a better-informed decisions about both purchases: university education and medical insurance

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    1. you have a point, Phil

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    2. Per the linked article, students were not required to get coverage through the school. "Even though the federal government does not require higher education institutions to provide health insurance, Wheaton added a requirement in 2010 that students enroll or provide proof of comparable insurance every year...Most college students are covered under their parents' health plans."

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  19. Wheaton is not taking away health care. Birth control is very cheap and very easy to get -- especially students. No one needs insurance to afford birth control. The cost of the insurance is more than you would pay for any method of birth control. But bring on the hysterics.

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    1. No one needs employers restricting payments for birth control because they think women should risk getting pregnant whenever they engage in intercourse. But bring on the hysterics.

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    2. Matt, I don't understand what you're saying by "Wheaton is not taking away health care." It's not like they're just not providing contraceptive coverage; they're no longer providing health insurance to those who had it.

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    3. OTOH, when I see how much the students were paying for the plan, they're probably better off shopping elsewhere.

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    4. Could thing for the ACA coverage being available as a choice.

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    5. Coey, you don't need insurance to get birth control. It is cheap and readily available. The insurance costs far more than birth control. It makes no financial sense to get birth control through insurance. The reason health insurance is so expensive is we demand they cover everything. When your car battery dies do you put in a claim for that with your car insurance? Nope. That is why car insurance is affordable and health insurance is not.

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    6. I realize that, Matt. But I don't think the students who can no longer get their insurance through the college were purchasing it just to get birth control, especially the men. They had health insurance through the college and now they do not.

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  20. Matt, your theory is full of beans.

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    1. Matt is correct.Insurance is for large, unexpected expenses, not small quotidian costs. Expecting medical insurance to pay for your contraception is ludicrous, akin to expecting your auto insurance to pay for oil changes or your homeowner' insurance to pay for lawn mowing. Yes, insurance companies *could* provide such coverage, but the cost would be more than it would be worth.

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    2. So, insurance shouldn't pay for a physical? Would you like to tell us at what point the price of a prescription goes beyond "small" and "quotidian"?

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  21. Jakash,
    Your physical (exam) is a routine procedure that costs a lot more than it would if you were to just pay for it out of pocket. It's not really insurance if it's used for routine expenses. It's pre-paid medical plan

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    1. Fine, Philippe, if you want to overhaul the entire health insurance system, good luck with that. In the meantime, coverage for birth control for women is no more "ludicrous" than is coverage for a host of other quotidian medical issues.

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  22. Physicals or even bloodtests are not cheap, Phillipe. Obviously you must not have a spouse and kids to worry of. And if one has thyroid tests,bp problems, or has to check for blood sugar they'd be in the poorhouse with your thinking. Prescriptions can be hightoo. What of prostate checks? mammo's paps, ctscans for various things?

    Insurance can't just be for catastrophic surgery.

    Phillipe sounds like a conservative.

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  23. Doctor visits aren't cheap either, Phillippe.

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  24. Phil, you must be independently wealthy.

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  25. Argumentum ad hominem is a fallacy, anonymous. You're right that those procedures are expensive, but you're only fooling yourself if you think you aren't paying for them if it's covered by insurance. Have you ever learned any economics? TANSTAAFL.

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    1. That's "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch", for those scoring at home... ; )

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    2. Phil, I have an acronym for you as well-

      GFY, how's that?

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    3. Mr. Logic stood you up, eh? I'm gone.

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    4. don't be illogical, Orleans

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  26. I know some econ, Phillipe but saying that people can afford to pay for those items even if they'd be less with no insurance, isn't the answer either. Some maybe you need to get your nose out of the theory book and into real life family realities.

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    1. Oh yes, let's see, a basic check up would be 220 rather than 240 at some doctors offices and that's for no tests or not a specialist. Sure, that's a deal.

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    2. No one said we weren't paying them but insur. esp. HMO, does get a discount from docs and hosp to be sure the prices aren't too outrageous. And they send more clients, but there are restrictions.

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    3. I'm well aware of realities, anonymous, like the reality that insurance is not cost-free to employees. It decreases the resources available for other forms of compensation, I.e. Cash. For those interested in unseen costs, I would recommend the writings of my fellow countryman, economist Frédéric Bastiat.

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    4. I like John Maynard Keynes myself. He influenced FDR's policies a good deal.

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  27. So what do you propose as a solution, Phillippe (duc d' orlean)? No insurance???

    Merci.

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  28. Perhaps he prefers one of those insurance savings plans. But that could be wiped out quickly.

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  29. Au contraire. Insurance is a great solution for large unexpected medical expenses. For everyday expenses like contraception, not so much.medical savings accounts are good for things like physicals and routine visits. The most important thing I would propose is transparency in pricing, so everybody knows what costs are, so everyone can make educated decisions. This would probably mean severing the artificial, accidental link between employers and medical insurance everyone shoul be choosing/ buying an medical insurance plan that fits their own needs/budget. That's probably not going to happen though. Not enough opportunity for graft.

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  30. thanks for explaining

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  31. We need full Nationalized medicine! it's not perfect but not a constant worry either, but that won't happen, not enough profits for corps

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    1. Ya. Because politicians and bureaucrats run things so well.

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  32. They will probably pay for Viagra though. Such hypocrites those born agains.

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  33. Don't go to that crappy college-that's the first thing.

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