Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I’m probably a Hedgehog

While I was listening to NPR’s Talk of the Nation not too long ago. The show was about the human brain and how it handles flip-flopper politicians. One of the guests talked about how people can generally be grouped into two groups: hedgehogs and foxes. Hedgehogs tend to view the world through a single lens (or idea) while foxes tend to view the world through multiples lenses.

I was thinking about that in context of one of the country’s hot issue of the moment: mandated coverage for contraceptives.  Read a Washington Post article here.

President Obama would like employers that offer health care coverage to have that coverage provide contraceptives at no (apparent) cost. This is particularly controversial for Catholic backed employers that do not provide contraceptive coverage due to their religious beliefs.

I suppose if I was a fox, I would support this. After all, I would prefer that there would be coverage for contraceptives. I think it’s a good idea. Because, however, my lens is bent toward a libertarian view point, I am actually against it and I’m in the minority on this issue.

My view is that employers don’t have to provide health coverage at all. Whatever benefits a company wants to offer is their business. If, because of their religious beliefs, contraceptives are not part of that package, so be it. In the real world though, companies would want to provide a benefits package that can attract and hold on to valuable employees as long as it is cost effective. For people who choose to work for a Catholic backed employer--know who you're getting into bed with.  Either buy additional coverage out of your own pocket or go to an employer that offers it.  So this goes to the freedom of the individual (the employer) to offer what it feels is a valued benefit and to the freedom of another individual (the employee or prospective employee) to associate or not.

My view is also that the government should not force companies to offer benefits packages. If the government can tell a company that they must provide coverage for contraceptives, why not go further and tell them that they must provide a 401k, or hell—a pension. They can argue that it would relieve the pressure on Social Security.  And this goes to a freedom of the individual from a federal government that, in my view, does not have this power.  It is one reserved to the states.

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