do it yourself

Hobby-Lobby

So, the Supreme Court has ruled that there is no Constitutional basis for agents of government requiring employers to provide particular kinds of health insurance coverage to their employees. But, I’d go further and argue that, if health services are part of the general welfare responsibilities of government, delegating those to employers is both irresponsible and inefficient. Adding a layer of middlemen in the form of insurance companies is bad enough. Expecting employers to pay the bill is adding insult to injury.

One is reminded that the industrialized agriculture that was developed in the American South expected plantation owners to provide medical services, however rudimentary, to the slaves. Since reproducing themselves was one of the critical slave functions, that expectation made economic, if not humanitarian sense. Now that workers are free to labor for themselves or others, employers have little practical interest in their physical welfare. Which means that the health insurance (which assures nothing at all) “benefit” is simply, because targeting specific populations for deprivation has been declared taboo, another component of the coercive culture of obedience seeking to encompass one and all.

“Single payer” was a misnomer for the “public option,” which tried to have it both ways by renaming an obligation as an option. The bottom line is that the public health is a public responsibility and our public servants are tasked with delivering it. Making it a profit-center for some middlemen does no-one any favors. Making the SCOTUS decision a rallying cry for disaffected Democrats is deplorable.

Yes, corporations, being subsidiaries of the states that create them, can be ordered to follow particular regulations, especially when it comes to how the currency, which the federal authorities helpfully provide, is to be employed. However, as is often the case, here the stricture — “if you want it done right, do it yourself”– seems particularly apt. If the persons within the jurisdiction of the Constitution are to be provided with medical and preventive care, then the Congress should see to it and not pass it off to corporations whose primary mission is making widgets or, worse, destroying the natural environment. It makes no sense to expect munitions makers and the purveyors of mobile cages with wheels (cars) to supervise the health care of their employees. Never mind the corporations that make poisons like DDT and ‘Roundup.’

Of course, the American fascination with death to whatever we don’t want is part of the problem. Perhaps the Hobby Lobby people have a point in not wanting to be part of it.

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Image: All your vaginas belong to Hobby Lobby created by DonkeyHotey (the source image the Hobby Lobby storefront is from Nicholas Eckhart) both are from their Flickr photos streams and used under creative commons license.

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."