|Some marriages are more equal than others…
A number of workplaces across the nation including many ivory towers of enlightened thinking have, in the last several years, extended employee benefits to same sex partners. It was surmised that it since same sex partners could not legally marry, that it’s only fair that the partners enjoy the same benefits that their heterosexual married colleagues have. This is the case at Dr. J.’s place of employment and he’s on the record stating that New Atlantis Ivory Tower University is a private institution that is within their rights to do what they feel is in the best interest of the institution. Dr. J.’s gay colleagues are, to a one, consummate professionals, and extending benefits to their partners in order to retain them is a small price to pay to insure the successful mission of the institution. Furthermore the it the institution’s choice to do extend this (or any) benefits to its employees.
Dr. J. also feels that a religious institution such as the the local Catholic Hospital is within its rights not to extend benefits to the same sex partners most likely siting the logic that it would not do so for cohabitating heterosexual unmarried couples. Yes, Dr. J. knows that may seem ambivalent and capricious, but he believes in freedom.
Now that Dr. J.’s gotten his preamble out of the way, he can get onto the meat of the post. You have heard Dr. J. mention multiple times that the healthcare industry bubble is on the bring of bursting. Because of the overwhelming amount of regulation coming to bear on the healthcare industry including, but not limited to Obamacare
, meaningful use
, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program
(part of Obamacare), and even sequestration
(which hits academic medical centers harder than for-profit or non-academic not-for profit hospitals harder because of NIH grants and the clinical margin needed to subsidize research to the tune of 33¢ of clinical ‘profit’ for every $1 in NIH grant funding) medical centers are tightening their belts to stay afloat. It doesn’t help that our patient censuses (censi?) are shifting from private insurance to medicare at a rate of 2%/year.
You can imagine that medical centers who are trying to cut up to $100 million from their budgets in the next year are looking at every way, shape and form.
|You knew that title wasn’t going to happen without a picture of the Reverend.
The Mayo Clinic
is looking to same sex marriage, YES, same sex marriage to help shore up its bottom line. One of the biggest employee related expenses is health insurance. Premiums are going up, up, up, so having less spouses on the plan helps the bottom line. Now that same sex marriage is the law of the land in Minnesota, all gay couples MUST be married by the end of 2014 to retain their benefits. Dr. J. would have dropped the hammer this year, purely in order to shore up the bottom line sooner, rather than later, but he knows that the budgets were before the SCOTUS spokeused, and given that Mayo is a very profitable entity with numerous wealthy clients from around the world, they have some wiggle room.
We have heard companies consider doing this. We have not heard of any companies that have actually done this and from our perspective it is a bad idea to require them to marry…I don’t think (Mayo Clinic’s) intentions are bad. We would certainly understand why a company would think would be an appropriate route, but I think when you put a little thought into it, it’s not necessarily the best for the employee.”
Dr. J. sees this as the price for equality. Many gay couples want their union legitimized through marriage. Now that it’s the law of the land in Minnesota we will get to see how the gay activists and couples who don’t want to marry react when their special carve outs for ‘not being able to marry’ go the way of the dinosaur.
Ironically, it took the belt tightening caused by Obama’s #WarOnHealthcare™to give gay couples a taste of true marriage equality…