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Paul Giorgio: Another Attack on Healthcare

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

 

The Supreme Court has already ruled that the Affordable Care Act is legal, now they must stop the religious right from trying to gut the law based on religious grounds, believes Paul Giorgio.

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a case that pits women’s rights groups against closely held corporations. At the crux of the issue is whether companies can refuse to pay for healthcare benefits if they object on religious grounds. In the case before the court, the issue is coverage for contraceptives.

Companies' religious rights

The Hobby Lobby Stores and the family that owns them say that, "religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception."

The Hobby Lobby has more than 15,000 full-time employees in more than 600 stores spread out in 41 states. According to reports, the owners, the Green family, describe themselves as evangelical Christians.

The other company involved in the case before the Court is Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., owned by a Mennonite family and employing 950 people. The company makes wood cabinets.

The Obama administration says a victory for the companies would prevent women who work for them from making decisions about birth control based on what's best for their health, not whether they can afford it.

Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center said that, "Women already have an income gap. If these companies prevail, they'll have a health insurance gap, too." The contraceptives at issue before the courts are the emergency contraceptives Plan B and two IUDs that are regularly prescribed to prevent conception.

We have heard these same arguments previously from religious groups who don’t want to pay for women’s healthcare.

If these two companies prevail, what will stop other businesses from denying healthcare coverage based on religious grounds?

How far is too far?

What if a business is owned by a Christian Science family, who do not believes in healthcare at all, but rather believe in the power of prayer. Should they be able to deny healthcare to someone who is Catholic or Jewish? I think not.

What if some company believes that based on their religion, cancer is punishment from God and should not be treated. Would they or should they be allowed a religious exemption?

Should a company headed by a member of Fred Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church be allowed to exclude the treatment of AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases, because they believe that God is punishing gays?

Should a company, whose owners are Jehovah Witnesses, refuse to cover blood transfusions for their employees? The answer again is no.

A slippery slope

The slope becomes steep and very slippery very quickly. The Obama Administration has also raised the issue of companies opting out of other laws based on Religious Freedom. Laws such as immunization or Social Security or minimum wage laws could be next if the plaintiffs in this case prevail.

Currently, this issue is confined to family owned businesses with a limited number of shareholders. But what happens if a publicly traded company’s shareholders decide to limit their healthcare coverage?

Obamacare or the Affordable care Act is meant to supply healthcare coverage to all Americans regardless of religion, race or sex.

If your religion prohibits you from having an abortion and you believe the tenants of that religion, then don’t have one. But please don’t use your religion to deny the rights and benefits to others who have a different belief system and religion than you.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that the Affordable Care Act is legal, now they must stop the religious right from trying to gut the law based on religious grounds.

 

Paul Giorgio is a longtime Democratic Party Activist who has worked on numerous campaigns. He was a Lead Advance Person for President Clinton & Vice President Gore. He was Deputy Director of Special Events for President Clinton’s first Inauguration. He has been elected a delegate to numerous Democratic National Conventions and recently served as one of President Obama’s representatives on the Platform Committee. In 2013 he was chosen as a Presidential Elector. He is the President of Pagio, Inc., publishers of Pulse Magazine, Vitality Magazine and Worcester Medicine.

 

Related Slideshow: Women Leading in Central Massachusetts

Who are some of Central MA's high-level female bosses?  GoLocal takes a look at some of the leading women in the region in their respective industries, in the private and nonprofit sectors.  

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Lisa Piehler

 

Piehler has been the Regional CEO of the American Red Cross of Central and Western Massachusetts since 1993, overseeing a regional area of 1.7 million people in over 200 cities and towns in Central and Western Massachusetts, and a staff of 30 and 400 volunteers.

Prior to working at the American Red Cross, Piehler was the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city or Worcester. Piehler received her bachelor’s degree in park administration from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree from Clark University with a concentration in non-profit management.

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Victoria Waterman

 

Waterman is currently the CEO of Girls, Inc, the non-profit organization meant to help girls navigate through the challenges of growing up female and to gain the skills and confidence to achieve their dreams.  Waterman had previously been President of Leading Women Massachusetts, an organization that provides leadership development solutions for women in organizations.

Waterman, who has 20 years of experience in the mortgage banking industry in the marketing sector, received her bachelors of science in marketing from Bryant in 1985.  Waterman's awards include the Stevie Awards Honoree for Women in Business in 2010 and the excellence in Board Leadership in 2012. 

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Deborah Penta

 

Penta is the Founder and CEO of Penta Communications, the regional integrated marketing, advertising, web, interactive media, and public relations firm.  

Penta has helped senior level management teams develop shape strategic and effective marketing, advertising and public relations programs, and has served on the Board of Directors at Worcester County Food Bank, the Board of Directors at Worcester Regional Research Bureau, and the Board of Directors at Worcester Community Action Counsel. She received her bachelor’s degree from Stonehill College and her executive education from Harvard University.

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Laura Sen

 

Sen has been the President and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club for over 4 years, having previously over 20 years of experience with BJ’s, including having roles as Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President of Merchandising and logistics,Vice President of Logistics, and Senior Vice President of General Merchandise.

Prior to working at BJ’s, Sen has nearly 30 years of experience in mass retail, working with Zayre Corporation and Jordan Marsh Company.  Sen has served on the board of Saint Coletta and Cardinal Cushing Schools of Massachusetts and has provided support to non-profit organizations including the Women's Inn at Pine Street, the Neely House and the Cardinal Cushing Centers Springtime Event.

Sen received her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College.

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Liora Stone

 

Stone founded Precision Engineering with her husband Peter in 1988. Located in Uxbridge, Precision Engineering focuses on custom metal sheet fabrication.

The company has grown to include 40,000 square feet of manufacturing, assembly and warehousing space, encompassing two physical plants within Quaker Industrial Park.

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Susan Engelkemeyer

 

Engelkemeyer was appointed the 7th President of Nichols College on August 1, 2011 and was officially installed on October 21, 2011, where she now oversees  a student body of 1,500 students.

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Engelkemeyer received her Bachelors degree from Stephens college, her Ph.D in Industrial Management from Clemson University, and her M.B.A from East Carolina University.  She serves as a peer review team leader for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and served on the board of directors for GOAL/QPC for 20 years. 

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Paula Rooney

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In addition, campus improvements such as new building construction and renovation and Dean’s wireless technology environment have dramatically transformed the campus" -- and under Dr. Rooney’s helm, "Dean College’s financial status has been solidified as endowment has quadrupled from $7.9 million to $32 million."

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Gail Carberry

 

President of Quinsigamond Community College, Dr. Carberry holds Certificate in Small Business Management from Springfield Technical Community College, a B.S. from Worcester State University and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, specializing in organizational development, strategic planning and staff development. 
 
She currently serves on numerous local, State and national Boards including the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Latino Education Institute, Bay Path Regional/Vocational High School Foundation, National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, Worcester Educational Collaborative, Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, Central Mass Workforce Investment Board, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Worcester Business Development Corporation and the Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives. She co-chairs the Mayor’s Commission for Hispanic Education Excellence and chairs the Early Education Matters Task Force.
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Kristin Carvalho

 

Milford National Bank President and CEO Carvalho is both a prominent corporate and community figure, who with the bank has supported causes such as the Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund, the WMRC radiothon, and while at the bank. and received an “Outstanding” rating from the Massachusetts State Division of Banks for its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) compliance. 
 
“Very few banks achieve the ‘Outstanding’ rating so we are particularly pleased to have achieved this,” said Carvalho at the time.  “As a community bank, our primary focus is to help people in this area buy homes and finance small businesses. Earning the ‘Outstanding’ rating is an indication that our efforts are successful.” 
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Tina Sbrega

President and CEO of GFA credit union,  Sbrega has been Director of the Massachusetts Share Insurance Corporation, Trustee for Mount Wachusett Community College, and Trustee of Heywood Hospital Credit Union and Freedom Credit Union, and acquired a credit union technology service in Rochester, New York. 

 
 

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