Thursday, October 16, 2008

Keith Fimian Blocks His Employees' Freedom to Choose

I think Bryan Scafford is officially my new hero. He's done an amazing job of research and citizen journalism and uncovered Keith Fimian's true beliefs when it comes to a woman's freedom of choice.

As readers may recall, Fimian admitted he was personally opposed to abortion, a position I actually have no quarrel with. But he danced around specifics and claimed that voters in the 11th CD didn't care about issues like reproductive freedom. Indeed, he and his supporters roundly criticized many women, who would be affected by Fimian's votes should he be elected to the House of Representatives, for bringing up the topic on blogs and in letters to the editor of various newspapers. The Fimian party line was that supporters of birth control and abortion rights were being intolerant of his personal beliefs.

Bryan, however, went out and researched not Mr. Fimian's personal beliefs, but his actions as an impersonal businessman attempting to impose those beliefs and values on his employees. According to Scafford's report on Left of the Hill:
Since Keith has repeatedly emphasized his experience as a business executive when trying to explain why people should vote for him, it’s rather safe to say he believes the way he ran his business and treated his employees should give the public a good glimpse into his character. It turns out that looking into the policies Keith promoted also provide us with an idea of where he really stands on the issue of contraceptives and abortion.

In the health care plan offered to employees from the mid 1990's to about 2003 of US Inspect and InVision Technologies (the companies that Keith Fimian was CEO and Chairman of), it explicitly says that “oral contraceptive[s] used for birth control” were not covered. This is despite the fact that over twenty states have laws that basically say oral contraceptives have to be covered if the plan covers other prescriptions or outpatient procedures.
As Scafford points out, Keith Fimian has consistently touted his experience and performance as a successful businessman as his major credential for seeking elective office. So, it's fair to examine his business practices and the way he treats his employees to get a sense of what his real beliefs are. Here's more about how truly restrictive his employee health policy is.
Looking through the policy I also found an addendum that informed employees abortions would not be covered, “including those performed when the covered person’s health is in permanent jeopardy.” This was sent out in an addendum in order to overturn the original policy which means that this wasn’t just an oversight but that the leadership took direct action to make sure a potentially life-saving operation wasn’t covered. Under Fimian’s leadership, in other words, the health insurance his employees received would not cover a certain operation even if their life was at risk. Not including abortions as a means of birth control would be understandable, but this type of leadership goes well beyond simply being anti-choice.
Please don't write me in high dudgeon because you want to defend Fimian's right to run his business any way he sees fit. Of course he does in Virginia. It's not one of the states that requires a business to provide birth control coverage in health insurance as long as the health care policy covers other prescription drugs, so what he's doing is perfectly legal. And I don't want to get into a discussion about his personal and business rights.

This is about his beliefs and his willingness to impose them on employees who may not share his particular faith tradition and might even believe that limiting the amount of children they have is a responsible decision. Good people can disagree on some values. But the real issue is whether Fimian is willing to impose his beliefs on the citizens of the 11th CD and the entire nation. And apparently he is. And equally apparent is that until recently, he has tried to hide that.

I just received a mailer from his campaign where he finally proclaimed himself to be pro-life. It's about time he told the truth and allowed the voters in the 11th CD to decide whether that fact matters to them. It's all we asked from the beginning.

And thank you Bryan for your tireless work to bring this to light.

10 comments:

Isophorone said...

So, forcing people to join a labor union is not imposing your will on others? Forcing the taxpayers to cover abortions (as Obama wants to do) is not imposing your beliefs on others?

If Fimian's employees do not like the health plan offered, they can work elsewhere. And by the way, thanks for helping to prove why McCain's health care proposals are superior to Obama's!

Pro-Life Democrat said...

Keith Fimian is pro-life, which means he believes that abortion kills a baby. And you claim he is supposed to personally pay for his employees to have abortions? It's his money!

I'm voting for Fimian.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

pro-life, if you agree with Keith Fimian's positions, you should by all means vote for him. And if you read my post carefully, you would see that I am not taking issue with the way he runs his business and what he chooses to pay for in his employee insurance plan. I thought I said that clearly.

The point that both Bryan Scafford and I were making is that Fimian touts his example as a successful business leader as a model of the type of representative he would be in Congress. Based on the choices he made in his business pertaining to his employees' health benefits, I personally wouldn't trust how he would vote on issues of reproductive freedom.

He personally opposes abortion, obviously, even to save the life and health of a woman. To me, that is too extreme a view for a Congressman to have. A medical decision on a woman's life and health should be between her, her family, her physician, and her God. Not between her and the state.

And if a couple wants to practice birth control, which has nothing to do with the life of a fetus, that should be a decision that they make in the privacy of their home. Again, that should not be something they have to ask the state's or Keith Fimian's permission to do. And Fimian needed to make his positions clear so that all voters, not just you, have the opportunity to make an informed decision on Election Day.

And Iso,As for forcing taxpayers to fund abortions, that is a separate issue. Here we are discussing the simple freedom to choose family planning (birth control, not abortion) or the right to have a possibly life saving medical procedure. I don't think we discussed funding. We are discussing basic rights that the patient would be paying for.

Further, the Employee Free Choice Act is a completely separate issue. There are employees who have been threatened with being fired by their employers for organizing and voting for union representation. This legislation is needed to give employees a real choice as to whether they want union representation.

This is an issue that I will have to write more about after the election since it probably won't come up for a vote before Election Day.

Isophorone said...

Karen,

Nice try. The Obama/Connolly position is that all health insurance must fund abortions, and that the Federal government should have the power to overrule any state restrictions on abortions. They also want to take a away the "conscience clause" a doctor might want to use to avoid performing an abortion.

Again, you help show the superiority of McCain's health plans. If people could have their own policies, then the employer could not dictate what they could or could not do.

The point about the forced unionization bill is that it also takes away individual choices in terms of whether an empoloyee even wants to join a union. Your advocacy of choices (or rights thereof) are therefore inconsistent. And remember, there have been many cases of union thugs who have intimidated (or have lied to )employees to get them to sign card checks. If you get your way there will be plenty more. But I guess you feel that two wrongs really do make a right!

Anonymous said...

What is the alternative? Connolly? My latest mail sent by the National Association of Realtors and reading the Washington Post Outlook today on the plans to develop Tysons Corner with no provision for increased traffic and population density should make voters examine his true allegiance. The Fairfax County tax equalization board (oxymoron) allows reduced tax valuation on business real estate. They have given them over the years reduced taxes that fueled the monetary coffers of the commercial property speculators who now are in a panic to unload. Now with the bubble bursting, they need a friend in the Congress to help bail them out. It’s the economy stupid – in comparison any woman who wants an abortion can get one regardless of the law. She can not however stop the PAC committee corruption of the political process with special interest pork barrel politicians to do their stead in the Congress. We need a change in the way government is run. Connolly is a prime example of what is wrong with the country today.

Ethicist said...

If Fimian was intent on imposing his personal morals on his women employees (even if it costs them their lives), we can presume he will attempt to legislate the same kind of draconian "morality" on all American women if, God forbid, he was ever elected to Congress.

Isophorone misses the point when he/she suggests that Fimian's women employees can work elsewhere if they do not like the health plan he offers.

Most people don't read the fine print of the health insurance plans they buy through their employers until they have a health problem. Most people don't find out a procedure is not covered by their insurance until they are told by the hospital or doctor.

So if one of Fimian's married women employees got pregnant and subsequently found out she would die if she carried the pregnancy to term, Fimian's policy would let her die.

This language is not found in a conventional (or even rational) insurance policy. How many insurance policies deny a recognized procedure even "when the covered person’s health is in permanent jeopardy?”

Not many, if any. Keith Fimian is a zealot pretending to be a moderate in the mold of Tom Davis.

I know Tom Davis... and Fimian is no Tom Davis.

You'd be surprised at how many "Davis Republicans" are joining Democrats in voting for Gerry Connolly.

Anonymous said...

Love the comments made by "Ethicist". Fimian is known by many of us who are devout Catholics as being one of the biggest hypocrites around regarding the faith. He talks a good game, but the rules don't seem to apply to him when the rubber meets the road. He said in his latest debate with Connelly, he believes in "contraception". Really, Keith??? At a time when the Vatican and almost every diocese is chastizing the faithful about Catholic politicians who support anti-Catholic dogma, you are in support of contraception? Hypocrite! Oh, but I forgot...you're trying to get elected, right? So you'll say anything that might be in your own best interests, even if it is in opposition to your "faith". Suggest you read the bible about the challenges of hypocrites and rich men in finding a place in heaven.

Fimian also acknowledged in his lastest debate that as a freshmen legislator, he would be spending a lot of time "networking". Really? Networking rather than doing the work of the people? Oh, but I forgot...Fimian's skill at "networking" and using people for his own gains is what got him to center stage currently. It's a skill at which he has excelled.

Fimian, in my opinion, is a marginal candidate because when it comes to moral authority, the rules and standards he holds for himself and his inner circle are quite different than those he expects from those outside his circle to maintain, hence his health insurance plan. He is an individual who has lived a charmed life because he knows how to charm...that's the difference between him and most other devout Catholics...we don't sell our faith to the highest bidder in order to line our pockets and obtain center stage billing.

Fimian will not get my vote.

Elizabeth said...

Ok, I wound up having an argument about this with one of my neighbors at our homeowners' association meeting... does anyone have data on whether insurance plans that don't cover abortion usually have "health and safety" exceptions? I can't find it on the web.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

I don't know that one either but it's a good question. And I don't know if they'd have religious exemptions.

I do know I'd hate to be one of his employees because it's true that you seldom know the details of your health plan when you first take a job. Generally in an interview, all an applicant would ask is if there is health coverage. At that point, you're more focused on finding employment.

And I'm not sure Fimian spells out the details of his employees' health coverage in the job interview either, though he might.

But the main point is he has asked that voters judge him by how he's run his business. So, the question is do voters want their health insurance legislated to deny coverage for medical procedures that Fimian deems immoral based upon his interpretation of his religion even if other voters don't even share Mr. Fimian's religion.

That's it.

Anonymous said...

I think most people are more concerned about being helped w/ real health care problems by their employers. Anybody making min. wage can buy condoms. It will be a sad day indeed when the fed govt. runs out of money for education, cancer & aids research, and money for vets because we were buying the nations condoms