Monday, March 26, 2012


The fever pitch of healthcare moral indignation rises once again on the national scene.  [Seems to occur most often when there is a national election power struggle.]  This time pharmacy plan regulations are the culprit.  They would require some measure of employer support for free contraceptive coverage availability for their employees, even if the employer morally objects to contraceptives.  Freedom of religion under attack?  There is some truth to the claim—employers forced to maintain coverage for medical care they disagree with.  Yet fundamentally even those of us opposed to the anti-life aspects of our health care are part of this problem. 

Almost all of us have had employer based health insurance, most of it from private insurance companies, sometime in our lives.  All of these national private companies offer abortion and contraceptives as part of their health business services.  They all offer this coverage in some of their packages.  You may not have abortion in your plan, but you are part of a system of your pooled health company funds that pays for abortion, and contraceptives. This is true for those with religious employers as well as secular ones.

ome states now ban private companies from covering abortion [8 states for all private companies, another 9 for any who’ll participate in the new state health exchanges--Michigan has neither of these bans in place].  But it is the federal government that has banned [Hyde Amendment] regular abortion coverage from all their health plans--Medicaid, Medicare, and public employees.  States can countermand this by offering their own abortion payment for Medicaid recipients.  Michigan does not do this.  

What I’m saying here is that subtleties of health coverage cloud the fact that a great many of us participate in medical practices we believe are wrong.  We invest our healthcare dollars through our employers in private insurance companies that violate our principles.  The insurers have a business model to follow.  When I called the Michigan Catholic Conference a few years ago, they couldn’t recommend any private health insurance company that they were certain did not include abortions {much less contraceptives which are widely available} in their coverage.  They are in the forefront in campaigns to respect life.  Their employees have BCBS of Michigan health insurance, as I’ve had with 2 previous employers.  BCBS of MI, as all the other private insurers, pays for abortion & contraceptives within its scope of available client services.   Authorities and political activists point their fingers at the federal government, but it is mostly private health insurers, and some state governments, that provide the abortion coverage.  Contraceptives are widely available in private & government plans, and subsidized by local health departments across the nation.
It is almost impossible not to compromise one’s principles in our society.  One can live without medical insurance, as I’ve done this past 3 years, depending on our own Health Services Account set up at a local bank.  Medicare, which doesn’t pay for abortion, will start for me this year.  But for most of my working life my private medical insurance companies have contributed materially, substantively, to the evil of a violent anti-life act I oppose.  {The justified violence of war, and the federal income tax that pays for it through my employers, has put me in the same position.}
Health-Care-Debate-Congress---by Jennifer Kohnke

With this in mind, the current dispute over how directly or indirectly a government payment for contraceptives may involve a religious employer is superficial.   Nuanced controversy that points fingers does not help.  We are most all of us compromised in our tolerance of anti-life violence.  Yet our churches’ moral positions are converted into a political football—red vs. blue.  What needs to be done is the creation of a national private health insurance, faith based, that addresses and meets our moral standards.  None now exists.

regnancy Care Centers have arisen to promote the responsible biblical sexuality which truly can reverse society’s dependence on contraceptives and abortion.  The evangelical staff I’ve met in volunteering at a center are full of prayer, concern and compassion for the people that come in with unplanned pregnancies.  They offer help, and not judgment, for those they serve.  We need more of this.

We live in a society that accepts violent death as a way of life.  We try to keep the executioners remote, at inconspicuous abortion clinics, and on foreign battlefields.  But the killing is accepted as unavoidable and necessary to maintain our way of life in the worldly kingdom where the opportunity for wealth and convenience must remain unthreatened and unencumbered.

In the United States our private insurance company and state government health care dollars do pay for abortions.  Our income taxes do pay for innocent death in foreign lands.  We need to remedy both lethal maladies.  God’s healing power can give us the courage to vanquish this culture of death.  We must replace murder with mercy on all fronts.

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”  Jn 8:7

All of us, especially middle-aged men, politicians, and clergymen, should pay heed to this remonstrance from Our Lord and Savior.  There is abundant need for God’s mercy for all who buy into a society that promotes lust, greed, bombs and bullets.

The Annunciation by Fra Angelico--Today is the feastday--an unwed mother is the Mother of God.

Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

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