There’s been quite a bit of political chatter the past month about whether or not the health care from your employer should cover things that the employer doesn’t necessarily agree with. For example, say, if your employer is a church and the church doesn’t like contraception. Should they be “forced” to provide you birth control?
The buzzword is that this is an issue of “religious liberty”, which sounds pretty compelling. After all, why shouldn’t employers be able to have final say over what health care services to provide?
One thing that’s gotten lost in all the discussion about whether or not an employer should be able to block your access to contraception coverage is that the health insurance that an employee gets for working belongs to the employee, not to the employer. It, like your wages, is compensation for the work you do. Demanding that employers be able to retain control over how benefits are used after they are earned by employees sounds downright Orwellian to me. It’s no different than saying that an employer should control how you spend your wages you’ve earned. This ad makes that clear: Regardless of conservative hand-waving around the issue, having your employer retain control over how you use benefits you’ve already earned is giving your employer far too much control over your personal decisions. It’s a violation of your religious liberty, just as surely as it would be if they forcibly deducted 10 percent from your paycheck to give it over to the church of their choice.
That’s right: your health insurance is yours. Your employer more or less arranges a group discount for you. But it’s yours.