Monday, March 05, 2007

I Like Intelligent Conversation

Scott Rodriguez is suing Scott Chemicals.

Scott fired Scott because during his employemnt drug testing, he tested positive for nicotine. Turns out that Scott has a policy that they will no longer hire/employ smokers because the costs are too high for the health insurance. And this is perfectly legal in Ohio, where Scott is headquartered.

So, I'm listening to the story on NPR this weekend and my first gut reaction is that this is a frivolous lawsuit. Scott legally set the policy not to hire smokers. Scott R. knew this and applied anyway.

But then, listening to Scott R's lawyer, I thought better about my reaction. Maybe it is a slippery slope -- if a company can fire you because you smoke, what about if you have a genetic defect or all the men in your family died early of heart disease? Smacks of Gattica.

The problem, of course, is that companies are the ones responsible for the vast majority of American's health insurance.

I've had insurance and I've been uninsured. And the former is definitely preferable. But I'm also 1) friends with the woman responsible for benefits at my company and 2) work in an industry where we closely examine the costs and profits of health insurance. I know precisely how much it costs for companies to offer these benefits and how knowing and/or avoiding those risks can affect premiums, deductibles, settlements.

And so there's this part of me that thinks, sure, employers have every right to mitigate their risks. And then there's part of me that went through Democracy School and thinks that creating an even more uneven playing field -- for corporations (or the insurance industry) v. the little guy -- is really a bad idea.

So, I'm not exactly sure what the solution is. But I don't think it's clearcut or simple.

And, in lookng into this, I found a very interesting blog. I don't agree with the majority of posts on the site. But what I really like is that the comments, both in support of and against the original posting, were intelligent, articulate and - get this! - courteous. No flame wars here. So, without further ado: Reason Hit and Run.

May intelligent discourse commence.


Mr. Zips is very tired. This is not surprising. I mean, the boy has been burning the candle at both ends for about six weeks now, working basically 70 hours/week. With nary a day off in between. And I remember when I was working those kinds of hours. You get so tired you get dumb.

It's making me feel really sad and really helpless. Because I see it in his face and can hear it in his voice when he talks. But what am I gonna do? You can't sleep for someone else.

Of course, the obnoxious holier than thou part of me wants to point out that perhaps, on Saturday night, instead of going to his buddy's house, he could have stayed home and gotten some R&R, like I did. (OK, well, I took heavy drugs, but I've got to get back on my feet before this durned tradeshow. So I was massively doped up, but all for the theoretical greater good. But I digress.) Or, perhaps, last night instead of insisting that we stay up to watch Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (NSFW!) (which, by the way, no matter what the critics say, is hilarious) he could have gone to bed early, when I suggested it.

But none of that really matters now. What matters is that he's so tired and my heart breaks seeing him like this. Because I know the pain and I know how it feels to be so at the end of your rope and you can barely function. And, as a woman, I could get a way with breaking down and crying, but what can he do?

I can only hope that while I'm gone and he's holding down the fort he can actually get some rest.