A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, August 07, 2010

This is dumb.

Milwaukee's teacher's union would rather have the district's insurance cover Viagra than make sure colleagues who are laid-off From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association has filed a civil suit claiming that MPS' exclusion of Viagra and other drugs that treat erectile dysfunction from its health insurance plans constitutes sexual discrimination against male employees.

Last September, an administrative law judge dismissed an earlier ruling that sided with the union, which filed an equal rights complaint in 2008. The state's Labor and Industry Review Commission upheld the decision in June.

The union now seeks a review of that decision by a Milwaukee County circuit court judge.

"This is an issue of discrimination, of equal rights for all our members," said Kristin Collett, spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association.

According to documents contained in the MTEA lawsuit filed last month:

MPS first agreed to cover drugs that treat erectile dysfunction in 2002. By 2004, there were 1,002 claims for such drugs from MPS employees. During negotiations with the union for its 2003-2005 contract, MPS tried to stop coverage of the drugs, citing rising costs. An arbitrator sided with the district in 2005.

In 2008, the teachers' union filed a charge with the state's Equal Rights Division, complaining that not offering the drug violated the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act.

"The exclusion of an FDA approved, medically necessary drug from an otherwise comprehensive pharmacy plan violates Wisconsin's prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex," the union argued.

Lawyers for the union claimed that because treatment for female sexual dysfunction such as vaginal cream and estrogen replacement medication is covered, the removal of Viagra from the health plan unfairly disadvantaged male employees.

The school district has countered that the elimination was a cost-saving measure and non-discriminatory because the drugs are mainly recreational.

Setting aside both arguments, a judge and later the Labor and Industry Review Commission dismissed the suit, ruling that MTEA, by acting collectively for its members, did not offer proof that any specific individuals had experienced discrimination, and that the statute of limitations for discrimination suits had passed.

Collett said she was aware of at least one member who had formally complained about the lack of Viagra coverage, but that the MTEA was not seeking relief for an individual member. Rather, she said, it is seeking to stop a discriminatory policy for all members...

There's more if you care to read it at the link. Look, there are some things related to the pharma industry one may have to pay for themselves. I personally would rather that all "sexual enhancement" meds (for females or males) be on your own dime (since we can't seem to get real health care reform in this country) and instead see all autism treatment be covered, for instance, or family planning services. One is definitely more of a "quality of life" issue than the other.

I understand principles. But in a time of lay-offs, it's about another "p" word-- no not that one, you nasty minded things. The one I was thinking about is "priorities."

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At 8/7/10, 10:01 PM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

Well, they say it's discrimination. So I guess all they need to establish is that the plan covers female erectile dysfunction, and they'll have an open and shut case. Some days I'm really happy to not be a lawyer.

At 8/8/10, 8:55 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I'm all about non-discrimination. But I am sick of the whole Viagra thing, especially as the mom of a little kid who keeps asking me what erectile dysfunction is from the never-ending commercials.

At 8/8/10, 9:05 AM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

Ya ever see the Cuba Gooding cialis commercial? copy and paste


At 8/9/10, 2:58 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Wow. I think my favorite part was the hands-free driving-- the elevator part made me shudder in sympathy ( I used to play cymbals in the marching band and..... ow.).

You are SO wrong!

At 8/9/10, 7:34 PM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

Maybe this is the product that needs to be advertised in limerick form. I can think of a couple, but I'll spare you.

At 8/10/10, 1:51 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

My-- we ARE feeling some end of the summer euphoria, aren't we???

At 8/14/10, 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering birth control, fertility treatments, IV Fertilization, and the like are all covered for females, why would one want to discriminate against a pill that helps males regain function?

Birth control pills cause disfunction. BCPills are for the enjoyment of sex w/o fear of conception. Seems to be no problem with paying for women to "get some" at public expense.

At least viagra make a man "normal" again.

If men don't get it, then neither should women.

At 9/14/10, 10:03 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Hmm... Anonymous, this is one woman who used birth control WITHIN marriage, so don't pawn that promiscuity crap on me, especially since I don't recall seeing men on Viagra being painted as anything but lucky devils who are cheating nature. Boys will be boys, hm?

At 9/14/10, 10:05 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

And are you saying that men receive no benefit from in vitro conception, or, indeed birth control pills? The last I checked, it takes two to tango. Jeez. Wipe your Cro-Magnon brow.


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