What does Chick-fil-A have to do with PPACA?

By Emily Hutto

ProducersWEB


What does Chick-fil-A have to do with PPACA?

Well, not much. But if you consider the stance that the Catholic Church has taken on health care reform, the recent controversy over Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s public anti-gay messages might actually relate to the changes in health care happening in the United States.

In February, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement expressing their opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “We objected to the rule forcing private health plans — nationwide, by the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen — to cover sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion,” it says. “All the other mandated "preventive services" prevent disease, and pregnancy is not a disease.”

Some Catholics believe PPACA denies their right to religious freedom because it will force them to purchase health coverage that includes reproductive health services. As an employer itself, the Catholic Church is morally opposed to providing this health coverage to its employees who might want to use these reproductive health services.

I have no doubt that just as the Catholic Church has employees who would want to use reproductive services, the employees at Chick-fil-A also want to use the services available to them under their employee benefit plans, which include health, dental and vision coverage for staff members and their dependents. I also have no doubt that Chick-fil-A has many gay employees who, in states where same sex marriage is even legal, want to use their benefits to help support their spouses and families.

Will PPACA deny Chick-fil-A’s right to religious freedom because it will indirectly support families with same-sex marriage through the company’s 401(k) and company-paid defined benefits pension plans? My guess is that’s where Cathy is heading. He’s already interviewing prospective employees to uncover whether they have ‘been sinful or done something harmful to their family members,’ according to an article on Chicagoist.com. The last time I checked, that’s illegal, euphemized or not.

So what does PPACA have to do with Chick-fil-A? About as much as being Catholic has to do with health care.