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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Conveniently Ethical

Fox News reports that Franciscan University has dropped student insurance coverage because of ObamaCare. Maybe it has. But I think the real reason is buried in the middle of the story, where two far-flung sentences should really appear much closer together:
"[T]he employee health insurance program will remain unchanged....the school says fewer than 200 of its students had been buying insurance from the university."
Pardon my cynicism, but I smell a rat here.

Why is ObamaCare acceptable for the employees but not the students?

Well, maybe because not enough students were buying insurance through the university.

You see, it costs, money to keep a university-run insurance program in place.
I would bet hundreds of dollars that Franciscan U turned at least a dime off of every insurance policy a student bought through the university.

But there were less than 200 students still doing that.

I'm just guessing here, but I would bet that running a student insurance program through the university would take at least a half-time secretary. So, if the revenue coming in didn't pay the secretary's salary and then some, FUS would not be turning a profit off the student insurance program.

What to do?

Well, ObamaCare is a great excuse to drop the expense of internally tracking the coverage. By announcing the drop of a program that wasn't making money anyway, FUS looks really good, and it saves them the expense of dealing with it.

After all, if this were really about not submitting to ObamaCare, wouldn't they drop employee coverage too? Isn't coverage for university employees going to require the same kind of payment for contraceptives, abortions and sterilizations starting August 1?

But, they DO NOT drop insurance care for their employees, because the employees would scream bloody murder. if they dropped employee insurance, which is an untaxed benefit, they would have to increase salaries to compensate. That would mean more money in unemployment insurance costs from FUS to the state and more city, state and federal tax due as well for both the university and its employees. We cannot have that.

Now, maybe I'm entirely wrong and FUS is really doing it for the reasons stated. Maybe they are all philanthropists at heart. But, I attended that campus, got my degree there, I interacted with the administration there. I really don't trust FUS, or any other "Catholic" university for that matter.

As I said, call me cynical, but I really, really doubt that this is FUS being the pure white hat they promote themselves to be.


As the wives of two FUS employees implicitly point out by their comments below, the FUS spokesman is actually a liar. If you read the transcript carefully, FUS spokesman Hernon first says that FUS "offers" student health coverage and FUS is dropping the coverage. Then when pressed repeatedly by the Fox News anchor, Hernon cryptically admits that FUS doesn't actually offer any coverage at all to the students.

So FUS is NOT dropping student health coverage, rather, it is just dropping the requirement that students pay for their own health coverage.

Which sounds a lot less impressive, when you get down to it.

But you would never know any of that if it weren't for the Fox News anchor basically beating the truth out of official FUS spokesperson Hernon.

I want to thank Laura and Justine for their careful attention to the lies the FUS spokesman was attempting to promulgate. I failed to read the interview closely enough. I'm sure Hernon will get out there and correct the record with all the news agencies that are reporting FUS is dropping student health coverage.

The could start by calling up LifeSiteNews, for instance, and telling LSN that their coverage is all wrong!  Cough, cough, cough.


Yeah, like I thought. See this interview with Fox News.

Here's the money quote:
HERNON: Yes. We are going to be fighting, as we started in the summer, or early fall, fighting for religious liberty, and we'll continue to do so. For our employees the direct impact economically doesn't hit us as of today. But it does impact our students.
See? It's only worth acting on the morality with our employees when it hits their pocketbooks. If it isn't hitting their pocketbooks, then taking the moral high ground isn't really worth it. 

Oh, and don't you just love this?
And our students have been out there in front, really saying we cannot comply. 
Yeah, the students have been out in front.

The faculty - you know, the people who are supposed to be well-versed in Catholic principles, the ones who take the mandatum, the fully-formed adults - they've apparently been leading from behind. All those good Catholic FUS professors are content to sit on the sidelines, hugging their health insurance plans to their chests. And the administration is right there with them... with the faculty, that is. On the sidelines. You know. Waiting for the money to be a problem. After all, FUS has its priorities.

Yep, that's the FUS we all know and love.


And for those of you from Rio Linda, there is no state or federal requirement that forces employers to provide their employees with insurance.

Oh, and get this! Ave Maria University - famed in song and story as Tom Monaghan's personal jungle gym - saw how much free publicity FUS is getting out of dropping student health insurance and they want in too!

Tom certainly knows how to get free press when he can.
Of course, they aren't going to drop employee insurance any more than FUS did!
Silly of you even to propose it, really.

Anyway, just today (May 17, 2012) the wife of one of the professors at AMU took issue with my characterization of FUS above. She found it mean-spirited, don'cha'know.  Of course, she only unsheathed her claws after AMU started getting press for jumping on the NObamaCare bandwagon...

Ahhh... I love Catholics!

Everything I've said about FUS is doubly true AMU.
In good conscience, I never advise anyone to attend FUS, but I make it a point to tell everyone to actively avoid AMU. 


Kathy said...

The "requirement" to buy insurance was a joke. I knew a number of students without any. There was no verification process. I personally bought the insurance. But most students not on their folks insurance just "trusted God" and went without.

Katy Anders said...

This is what I suspect might have something to do with it.

I have gone to public and private universities.

The REQUIREMENT to have health insurance was something I only required at the private university.

The only reason that a student would NEED to buy health insurance through the university would be that he or she can't go on anyone else's insurance.

Obama's health care deal really did raise the age at which kids can go on their parents' health plans, thereby making all those graduate student buying in who used to HAVE to go through the university sort of extraneous.

So you're right - with kids covered through the age of 27 through their parents' plan, the pool of covered kids was just too small to be worth it.

laura said...
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Justine said...
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Steve Kellmeyer said...

Ah, the FUS canard brigade enters!
Nice to have you here.
Take a seat, everyone, and we'll get started!

A) An official FUS spokesman was explicitly and specifically asked - not once, but twice - why FUS is not dropping employee coverage. I took him at his word.
That makes me stupid, according to Justine.

So, is it more charitable to agree with her and say I *AM* stupid for thinking the FUS spokesman told the Fox News anchor the truth? Or would it be more charitable for me to call the FUS spokesman a liar? Hmmm...

Hernon said, "As soon as the ObamaCare HHS mandate came out this past summer saying we had to cover things like drug inducing...We require our students to have this and we think it's a very reasonable thing to offer affordable, basic health care for students."

Wow - that sure sounds like FUS was covering it, doesn't it? The official spokesman said FUS offered it, and didn't simply require it. I guess I should have simply assumed he was a liar?

The Fox News anchor even asked if this was mostly an economic decision and Hernon said "That's what triggered it... The economics might not be enough to do it..." [but then again, it might, right?]

But I'm not supposed to believe that part, because Justine told me not to.

Thanks for that heads-up, Justine. I'll just make a note of that. Wives of FUS employees insist that FUS spokesmen are liars and we are fools for taking them at their word... Got it.

B) Laura, sorry to hear about your son. But that doesn't change the economics here or the moral issue, right?

I mean, if it's the right thing to do, then as Catholics, we are supposed to accept that it's the right thing and do it, regardless of the suffering.

So, pulling out the example of your son is really not relevant to the moral calculus.

If my son is dying of a weak heart, but I can save him by pulling out a gun, shooting you in the head, and taking your heart for transplant, that's too bad - I can't do it.

And it seems unfair for me to scourge you with the fact that my son could be saved if only you would die a little faster.

So, why are you trying to scourge me with your son's malady?

C) What makes you think I don't pray for sick people? Isn't it kind of uncharitable of you to think that about me, right?

I could ask "Are you praying for me?" But obviously, I can't, because that would be ... wrong of me, or something.

I'm the only one here being uncharitable. You are the very light of charity, because you have a sick son. Is that how this argument works?

This is logic - ignore official statements, invoke emotions, and attack the messenger.

Anyone want to guess why I don't give money to FUS?

Justine said...
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Justine said...
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laura said...
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Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, so first it was primarily an economic football (we'll lose coverage and can't afford more!) now it's a political football.

When does it become a moral issue? When costs and politics are factored in...

Could you name the real bad guys, Laura? Would the USCCB number among them - they've been helping Barack push this stuff since the get-go. They only got upset very recently, and only about the HHS mandate, not about any other part of the bill.

And how many FUS professors fully back whatever the USCCB does, or at least keep their traps shut in order to keep feathers from ruffling?

I know, for example, that theology professors like Scott Hahn and Ron Bolster have long histories of publicly going along with whatever the USCCB pronounces.

So, didn't FUS bring this on themselves? And now they're the victim? And they're deliberately lying about their actions in order to whip up public support?

Please. They play both sides against the middle, the middle being the hoodwink of the students who fork out tens of thousands of dollars to attend a faux-Catholic university like FUS or AMU. But at least these two are faux-Catholic, I guess. Georgetown and ND aren't even Catholic. That's the sum total of FUS' defense, really. They aren't as bad as the others.

Steve Kellmeyer said...


Pay attention.
Your FUS spokesman lied.
He began by saying that FUS offered health care, then was forced to recant and admit it didn't offer health care at all.

He tried to make it look like FUS was dropping something, and it turns out FUS never had it to begin with.

No one is mentioning the fact that FUS, by their silence, colluded with the USCCB in getting the Health Care bill passed. FUS and the USCCB are just as responsible for this thing being law as Congress - they helped push it through Congress, either actively (in the case of the USCCB) or passively (by the FUS silence which refused to publicly call out the bishops for being fools).

Why am I supposed to feel sorry for FUS, AMU or any other Catholic university? They didn't have principles before, but they intend to grow some real soon now? Is that the basis for me to pity their situation?

laura said...
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Steve Kellmeyer said...

Yes, Laura, there are "a broad spectrum of opinions how how to handle things."

Apparently, though, my way is not part of the "broad spectrum" that you reference.

I make a great many bald assertions, but you won't name what any of them are, which makes your statement a ... bald assertion.

Let me guess - you're married to one of the philosophy professors?

I had a conversation with Healy and his son on this blog and they engaged in EXACTLY the same logical fallacies you use here.

That's how I know you really ARE an FUS apologist.

Andrew said...

Steve said: "No one is mentioning the fact that FUS, by their silence, colluded with the USCCB in getting the Health Care bill passed. FUS and the USCCB are just as responsible for this thing being law as Congress - they helped push it through Congress, either actively (in the case of the USCCB) or passively (by the FUS silence which refused to publicly call out the bishops for being fools)."

Exactly. And that is one of the many reasons why the whole "This isn't about contraception, it's about the 1st Ammendment" argument is a really bad one for the USCCB. It's entirely hypocritical. If the mandate is bad because it's unconstitutional.....then why isn't healthcare run by the Federal government bad because it's unconstitutional? The ENTIRE bill is unconstitutional.


Justine said...
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Steve Kellmeyer said...


I have expressed my opinion.

I have provided all the necessary links for people to form their own opinions about what was or was not said.

I have not deleted any of your comments, nor modified them in any way. Anyone has all the information they need to form whatever judgement they would like.

My opinion is not actionable, unless you can prove malice, and I don't see how you can. You may not understand the logical consequences of what you've said, but that doesn't mean those logical consequences aren't there.

Since neither of you have even provided your last names, no one knows who you are. Your reputations cannot be damaged by my opinion of you since your remarks are right there to rebut my opinions.

Go ask a lawyer, honey. I'm related to two of them. They're both laughing at you.

And I want to really thank you for the Christian charity you are showing by threatening to start a civil action against me for simply conversing with you.

That's real sweet of you. You're praying for me while your contemplating prosecuting me in the civil courts, right?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, and Justine, just thought I'd mention...

I'm a fairly regular commentator at Fox News Dallas on matters of religion.

If you want to go after me with some kind of lawsuit, I'd be MORE than happy to bring your allegations to the attention of Fox News Dallas and every other MSM outlet.

Since this is currently in the news, I'm sure they'd be interested in a close examination of exactly what FUS did and didn't do, why this looks a lot more like a publicity stunt than a morally driven decision, etc., all from my Catholic perspective as an FUS grad.

So, you do whatever you think best.

Anonymous said...

Nice work, Steve! I'm always glad to see people willing to call FUS on the carpet for what it is, a money- and publicity-grubbing diploma mill that traffics in the faith to gain adulation from those more gullible among the true faithful.