When I was growing up in Seattle, my family rode the Boeing roller coaster. Long time residents know what that is: the constant cycle of hirings and layoffs by the company. My father was always trying to get employed there, but it was always temporary as Boeing constantly expanded and contracted its workforce. So one year, we’d move into some nice new tract house in the suburbs, live well, and take advantage of all the benefits: vaccinations, regular check-ups, and lots and lots of dental appointments. The next year, Dad would get laid off, have to take jobs pumping gas, or reading water meters, or doing custodial work (or multiple combinations of the above to make ends meet), we’d move again into some shabby rathole, and no more visits to the dentist or doctor. We really were at the mercy of Dad’s employer for basic health care.
So good news for Boeing employees now! They still try to provide good worker benefits, and you’ve got your choice of two health care providers. You can choose UW Medicine, cutting edge stuff from one of the best universities in the country (said as an alumnus, of course), with access to all of the latest treatments. Or you can choose the Providence/Swedish plan, if you like good care for all of your bits except the nasty ones, which you think deserve only medieval punishment.
Because Providence/Swedish is a Catholic health care ministry, employees who choose the Providence/Swedish option will be subject to care that is limited by Catholic doctrine as laid out in the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care. Providence very clearly says that “As a Catholic health care organization, we require adherence to all Ethical and Religious Directives as a condition of medical privileges and employment.” These ERDs forbid contraception, “direct” abortion in all circumstances, research that relies on embryonic stem cells, and participation with WA’s Death with Dignity Law.
Wow, what a tricky choice.