Monday, August 07, 2006

Gay Rights? 8/17

Well, Radiology might be out of the closet, but the Massachusetts Nurses Association has filed suit against Essent for denial of healthcare benefits for a spouse in a 'same-sex' marriage.

“This is a blatant case of discrimination by an overzealous, out-of-state employer who purposefully chose to discriminate against their gay and lesbian employees when they could have treated all spouses equally and complied with their contractual obligation not to discriminate,” said Roland Goff, director of labor relations for the MNA, the union representing the nurses at Merrimack Valley Hospital.

“Without telling us they were doing it, and with the authority of officials living and working outside of our state, Essent went out of its way to alter a right granted to our members now depriving them of equal access to health care benefits simply because the affected members are gay men and lesbians,” Goff said. “This was a deliberate and unseemly attempt to discriminate against gay and lesbian members of the bargaining unit.”
Guess it's a good thing that Bice and David are headed for Sharon, CT.


Anonymous said...

Well this should prove to be rather interesting, especially with Essent trying to dither with anyone in Mass.

Guess Essent didn't take East Coast Philosophies 101............hahahahaha!

I'm buying popcorn for sure!

Anonymous said...

Funny, this subject is hitting harder on the web than anything else--apparently it has gone national coverage.

But it covers so many things:
Big Business,
Absentee Employer,
and junkyard dog lawyers.

The only thing missing is pickup trucks, bars, divorce, and cheat'n hearts...and popcorn! Hey, they got a guy called 'Hud', think they could make a movie?

fac_p said...

Looks like the folks in Woo-ster MA found us (spelled Worcester). Did Essent commit a faux pas with this issue?

Seems like it is a no-win situation, you're bound to piss off someone. Now the question becomes: How do they defuse the issue? Since there is a fairly high percentage of gays in healthcare....

Anonymous said...

You just kind of threw that last part out there, didn't you? Doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, and where did you come by that statement?

I only found a few organizations for gays in healthcare:

American Nurses Association
Gay Nurses Alliance


American Medical Association
Lesbian & Gay People in Medicine

and both were on the East Coast.

Point taken...probably Will & Grace ...although I've never made it through an episode.

But, a quick surf found there is also the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists....Frank

Anonymous said...

The point being that whether "gay rights" or just plain ol civil rights, Essent has a very nasty habit of screwing with rights, PERIOD! The issue is Essent's flagrant disregard for or appreciation of their employees! And if they can squeeze a cent out of those same employees to garner a profit, they will do it, legally or not.

Whether they can skin out of it by being "self-insured" is another question. This little umbrella affords a lot of companies the capability of screwing a lot of folks out of good, solid healthcare. And that, in and of itself, is the Catch 22 here. We that work in medical, you would think, would have very good healthcare. But as we all know, THAT is not the case usually.

I think Essent will find that the East Coast folks have a lot more balls than we did here in Paris.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Chris Murphy, a spokesman for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts declined to comment on the lawsuit. He said self-insured companies such as Essent, whose account is administered by Blue Cross, are covered by federal law, which permits companies to define "spouses."

This also begs the question: Can they define to their own advantage what constitutes "children"? The answer is probably "yes". In a female dominated area as is healthcare, and with many single parents, what does that bode for those benefits?

Maybe the protection that unions represent isn't too unwelcome in such a case....

That's probably the closest thing to a rational reason for a union....Frank

Please excuse the spelling/ punctuation touch-ups....Frank

fac_p said...

Like it or not, other hospitals in the area provide the benefit package to spouses. As a matter of "accepted practice", this has the validity of "standard of care".

"Other local hospitals -- Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, and Whidden Memorial in Everett -- all extend healthcare benefits to same sex-couples, according to officials at each hospital."...the Boston Globe