Where’s a Political and Religious Prophylactic When You Need One?

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There are several ways in which the Catholic clergy’s attempt to engage in unprotected religious purism and the GOP’s attempt to engage in unprotected political stupidity in the contrived stink over contraception coverage in insurance plans for employees of public Catholic institutions has been joyous for the reality-based community.

Delightfully, there are few imaginable episodes which could have better highlighted the degree to which employees’ and citizens’ health choices are subordinate to employer control, along with the ever-present insurance company hegemony over coverage.

The, biggest, tiredest, dumbest lie perennially promulgated by the vested insurance interests and the American right about health care is the insistence that other nations’ streamlined, single-payer coverage somehow is more ominously bureaucratic than our gazillion co-mingling, overlapping plans and systems, with their staggeringly varied and unpredictable treatment and coverage dictates and offerings

Helpfully, with this latest outbreak of political and religious malpractice, Americans are reminded of the degree to which employees, citizens and patients remain under the employer and insurance company thumbs, how little freedom, access to care, reliability and peace of mind Americans have about their health care relative to citizens under the systems utilized by other nations. This otherwise pointless melodrama has magnified for Americans and reminded them of the degree to which they may be chained to their current jobs and their current circumstances simply because of the binding connection between health care and employment in the United States.

There are several layers of wonderful absurdism here for those of us who are aficionados of the genre: One gets the cockamamie conceit that offering a health plan that covers contraception is paying for contraception, on top of the conceit that anyone under any circumstances is being forced to use contraception, on top of the conceit that Catholics, 98% of whom use contraception are being protected from the scourge of contraception. Boiled down, in other words, this entire kerfluffle is about something, birth control, which only Catholic clergy still consider an issue, when virtually no Americans or even Catholics do. This makes Republicans’ effort to galvanize around this surreal cluster fuck look remarkably stupid, cynical and craven. Keep up the good work, knuckleheads, it’s an election year.

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