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Employer's Morals, Your Insurance53:42
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With Mike Pesca in for Tom Ashbrook

Should your employer’s moral beliefs determine your health insurance coverage? We’ll look the new push.

Pam Semler, of Fairfax, Va., works the register at DMC Pharmacy in Chantilly, Va. on Monday, Oct. 20, 2008. The pharmacy bills itself as "pro-life" and carries no contraceptive products. (AP)
Pam Semler, of Fairfax, Va., works the register at DMC Pharmacy in Chantilly, Va. on Monday, Oct. 20, 2008. The pharmacy bills itself as "pro-life" and carries no contraceptive products. (AP)

Two bills before Congress would allow employers or insurance companies to deny health care coverage on moral grounds.  That’s right, your previously existing condition might be that you are a 'bad person' — however your employer defines 'bad person' — that is.

President Obama's compromise on the question of Catholics and contraception clearly inspired these provisions.  The House version is titled the "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act." But does that mean an employer's moral objections could deny HIV care, diabetes testing, amniocentesis, blood transfusions? Could any employer offer coverage that covers almost nothing? What if an employer was morally opposed to the concept of insurance?

This hour, On Point: The morality of medical coverage.
-Mike Pesca

Guests

Noam Levey, health policy reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Anna Franzonello, staff counsel and former legal fellow with Americans United for Life.

Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics and professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Amanda Marcotte, blogger at Slate.com and author of Get Opinionated: A Progressive's Guide to Finding Your Voice (and Taking a Little Action).

From The Reading List

The Daily Beast "A possible amendment to a bipartisan highway bill aims not only to reverse Obama’s birth-control rule—but to let employers pick and choose which health-care services to cover based on their religious or moral beliefs."

USA Today "Republicans in Congress are exerting their legislative muscle to fight the Obama administration's recent ruling to require religion-affiliated employers to expand health insurance plans to cover women's contraceptives, but the confrontation risks alienating crucial voting blocs in an election year in which voters continue to care more about the economy than social issues."

Pew Research Center "About six-in-ten Americans (62%) have heard about the proposed federal rule that would require employers, including most religiously affiliated institutions, to cover birth control as part of their health care benefits. Among those aware of the issue, opinion is closely divided over whether these institutions should be given an exemption to the rule if they object to the use of contraceptives: 48% support an exemption and 44% say they should be required to cover contraceptives like other employers."

This program aired on February 21, 2012.

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