Stepping into the world of Social Work

An open letter to Rush Limbaugh

Dear Mr. Limbaugh,

I hate to waste space and time to you on my blog, but I just had to say my piece about your ridiculous comments on birth control and the recent hearings.

First, the issue is not about giving anyone money. It is about insurance covering FDA approved medications that are legally prescribed by a doctor. Covering any of these medications should be no more controversial than covering those for erectile dysfunction.

It is also not about what we have to pay for as taxpayers. It is about what a “comprehensive medical insurance package” looks like. If employers do not provide this, they are increasing the risk that you and  I will indeed end up paying for medical care that could have been avoided through good preventative coverage. For example, not covering cholesterol medications now will lead to expensive heart procedures later.

This isn’t an entitlement issue. University students pay for their medical insurance along with their tuition (I can provide the evidence – my own bills from USC if you like).  Employees typically receive their insurance as part of their compensation package, with their “contribution” deducted from their salary). I don’t see the taxpayer involved anywhere here.

It isn’t even about supposedly promiscuous college students. Contraceptive medication is medically indicated for many medical issues, including painful ovarian and menstrual conditions. These same medications would be prescribed even if the woman were a cloistered nun. They must be taken daily to work properly, whether the woman is sexually active or celibate, unlike those for erectile dysfunction. Perhaps your familiarity with Viagra and similar medications is why you jumped to the conclusion that $3000 of medications over 3 years indicates “a lot of sex.”

You indicated that a particular woman’s family should be ashamed of her for her testimony. I submit they should be exceedingly proud. She was standing up for a friend and roommate who required a medical treatment the university was denying, even though the condition and the treatment are typically taboo.

Further, it is not about freedom of religion. Employers do not have the right to dictate their religious views to their employees. There are limited exceptions such as churches, but the idea is this: simply because an organization has some connection to a church does not make it exempt from labor laws. Do we allow employers to object “morally” to laws regarding rest and lunch breaks? Can they say their religion forbids them to pay overtime or a minimum wage? Can they ignore occupational health and safety regulations?

The important point is this: the patient, due to the university’s refusal to cover an FDA approved medication, required painful and expensive SURGERY.  Medically and economically, this was an unacceptable outcome. This is what health care reform is about; recognizing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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