Insurance companies brainchild
Tim Seims appears somewhat misinformed. While the exact criterion that differentiates religious from secular may need work, churches (Catholic or otherwise) are explicitly excluded from the birth control coverage requirement for employees functioning primarily within their religious domain. Only when a church ventures into intrinsically secular activities are religion motivated constraints blocked for the coverage it provides.
In his letter, Seims failed to recognize that employer furnished health insurance was actually the brainchild of the insurance companies many years back. A company’s employees typically have an age distribution that computes, from the term insurance perspective, to a relatively low risk group. Normal turnover keeps it that way. They sold the concept to business managers nationwide who then used the favorable rates as carrot to acquire people they wanted and the subsequent lack of portability as a stick to keep them. Employees bought into this, because individual insurance packages, which have always been available, carried rates that were exorbitant by comparison. This all happened in a strictly free market competitive environment without government intervention; i.e., Seim’s thought experiment was actually carried out in the real world and produced exactly the result he now deplores.
The prices he quoted for sales of contraceptives in Egypt are meaningless as we do not know to what extent government and/or manufacturers and/or various third parties subsidized these sales. Nor, do we know if the safety and efficacy criteria applied to these products matches what was then standard for purchase in the U.S. Nor do we have a numerical handle on the raw profit manufactures built into U.S. sales.
He is also off the mark on the cost of collecting and mining data, processes which computers have rendered cheap as dirt. Prescription related data collection requirements are defined primarily by the insurance companies, and attempts by government to limit the nature, amount, invasiveness, and subsequent careless handling of that data have routinely been shot down or severely compromised by corporate pressure.
Seims seems to feel that birth control pills should be over the counter meds. He may well be right on that, but I rather suspect that any attempt to make it so will be vigorously opposed by the very people his letter was supporting.
The “group think” issue is moot as all parties concerned have been at it since their inception. Our only real defense is to think individually on our own.