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Another Federal Court Strikes Down PPACA Birth Control Mandate

church-state-street-signs

Late last week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest Federal Court to issue a ruling on the issue of whether the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employer-provided health insurance include coverage for birth control violates the First Amendment rights of employers who claim that providing such coverage would violate their religious beliefs. As I’ve noted before, this is an issue that has been making its way through the Federal Courts for the better part of two years now and we’ve seen judges come down on both sides of the issue. Just last week, for example, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the mandate. The Seventh Circuit’s opinion reaches the same conclusion, by the same 2-1 margin in a three judge panel, but its ruling is potentially far wider reaching, especially it ends up being the basis for a Supreme Court opinion:

A federal appeals court on Friday blocked a provision of the Obama administration’s health-care law requiring employers to provide birth-control coverage in employee insurance, ruling that it imposed a “substantial burden” on religious rights of two Midwestern companies.

The move by the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago marked the first time a federal appeals court has issued a ruling preventing the federal government from enforcing the provision. Federal appeals courts in Washington, D.C., and Denver have sided with plaintiffs challenging the provision on religious grounds but stopped short of issuing injunctions. Federal appeals courts in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, meanwhile, have sided with the Obama administration.

(…)

The plaintiffs sued the federal government over the so-called contraceptive mandate in 2012, arguing that it placed a burden on their practice of religion in violation of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the free-exercise and free-speech clauses of the First Amendment. The Justice Department, which is charged with defending the mandate in court, has argued that for-profit companies have no religious rights.

“The government draws the line at religiously affiliated nonprofit corporations. That line is nowhere to be found in the text of RFRA or any related act of Congress,” wrote Judge Diane S. Sykes for a 2-1 majority.

She gave the example of a Jewish deli, in support of the notion that for-profit companies also enjoy religious rights. If the restaurant had no religious rights, it could be denied the ability to observe Kosher dietary restrictions, wrote Judge Sykes, who was appointed by President George W. Bush.

The Seventh Circuit’s ruling contrasts with the decision last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which held there was “no basis for concluding a secular organization can exercise religion.” Still, the D.C. court said the owners of produce-distribution companies in Ohio could challenge the mandate as a burden on their own beliefs.

As usual, we turn to Lyle Denniston for his insights into the ruling:

The Seventh Circuit decision involved challenges by a construction company in Highland, Illinois, Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc., and its two owners, who together hold eighty-seven percent of the stock, and a Madison, Illinois, company that makes vehicle safety systems, Grote Industries, Inc., and the six Grote family members who together own the company and its parent corporation.  Their challenges, which lost in preliminary rounds in federal district courts, have been pursued on behalf both of the business firms in their own right and the owners as individuals — all relying upon religious beliefs against the contraceptive mandate and some related reproductive health services under the Affordable Care Act.

The mandate applies to companies that provide their employees with health insurance under group plans.  While the law and government regulations provide some exemptions from the mandate for churches and other strictly religious entities, there are no exemptions for profit-making businesses.

Circuit Judge Diane S. Sykes wrote the majority ruling finding protection for the religious preferences of corporations and their individual owners, when the companies are closely held.  That opinion was joined by Circuit Joel M. Flaum.   Circuit Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner dissented.

Five federal circuit courts have now issued rulings on the constitutional challenges, at least in preliminary decisions on the enforcement issue: the Third, Sixth, Seventh, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits.  The Third and Sixth rejected the challenges.  The split among these courts practically assures that the Supreme Court will agree to take on the issue, both as to corporations and to their owners.

Since the question of whether corporations have enforceable rights under the Free Exercise Clause, and under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is at the center of this particular case, it’s helpful to see how the Court actually reached its conclusion. In this section of the opinion, that the Supreme Court has, in the past, recognized the Free Exercise rights of incorporated religious entities, a fact which in and of itself would seem to severely weaken the argument that merely being an incorporated entity is sufficient in and of itself to defeat a claim under the First Amendment or the RFRA. Additionally, the Court goes through a trio of cases that show how the Supreme Court has in the past recognized the Free Exercise rights of for-profit corporations. Nonetheless, the Federal Government had made one more argument, which the Court felt necessary to address:

The government relies on a concluding statement in Lee as support for its position that profit-making is incompatible with free-exercise rights:

Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded  from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. 

Id. at 261 (emphasis added).

The government apparently reads this passage as foreclosing all religious-exercise claims arising in the course of commercial activity merely because the context is commercial. That reading is both unsound and extraordinary. Unsound because it would nullify the rest of the Court’s opinion, which considered the Amish farmer’s claim on the merits even though his activities were for profit; the commercial context did not defeat the claim. And extraordinary because it would leave religious exercise wholly unprotected in the commercial sphere. At bottom, the government’s argument is premised on a far-too-narrow view of religious freedom: Religious exercise is protected in the home and the house of worship but not beyond. Religious people do not practice their faith in that compartmentalized way; free-exercise rights are not so circumscribed.

If the government’s view is correct, commonplace religious practices normally thought protected would fall outside the scope of the free-exercise right. The Jewish deli is the usual example. On the government’s understanding of religious liberty, a Jewish restaurant operating for profit could be denied the right to observe Kosher dietary restrictions. That cannot be right. There is nothing inherently incompatible between religious exercise and profit-seeking. The better reading of the concluding dictum in Lee is that it foreshadowed the coming holding in Smith eight years later. The references to “incidental burdens” and “statutory schemes binding on others” suggest as much.

In short, nothing in the Supreme Court’s free-exercise jurisprudence prior to Smith categorically forecloses RFRA claims by profit-seeking entities.

The Court seems to me to have gotten it correctly here. While I was skeptical of the argument when it was first raised when the mandate first became public, it’s become rather apparent as the issue has made its way through the Federal Courts that the religiously motivated employers have a fairly strong Free Exercise claim here, especially when viewed in light of both past Supreme Court precedent and what would seem to be the exceedingly clear language of the RFRA. Just as the publishers of The New York Times don’t lose their First Amendment rights because the Times is incorporated, the owners of these businesses should not lose their Free Exercise and RFRA rights merely because they chose to organize as a corporate entity, most likely for tax and asset protection purposes. As with the Plaintiffs in the case handed down by the D.C. Circuit a week earlier, the business owners here would have obviously been able to exercise their Free Exercise rights had the remained a sole proprietorship or a partnership, so there is no logical reason why they should not be able to do so merely because they have incorporated.

Obviously, this issue becomes more complicated if you move beyond the closely-held, mostly family owned, corporations that have been at issue in the cases making their way through the Federal Courts. For one thing, it would be much harder for the Court to identify a particularized religious belief that the large scale corporation could be said to be exercising. However, that issue hasn’t been before any Court to date, and it wasn’t at issue in this case. The sole issue was the question of whether or not individuals retain their rights even when acting via a corporation. It seems clear to me that they answer is that they do.

The Supreme Court is likely to weigh in on this issue very soon. Indeed, several of these cases are now at the stage where they would be available for SCOTUS review before the end of this term. At that point, we’ll get a final ruling on this question. Until then we’re sure to see more Federal Courts weighing in. It will be interesting to see which one the Supreme Court finds most persuasive.

Here’s the Court’s opinion:

Korte et al v. Sebelius by dmataconis

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    What I find interesting is that there is virtually no discussion of the rights of employees and the government role on protecting those rights.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  2. Pinky says:

    @Scott: Really? That’s all I ever seem to hear about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  3. C. Clavin says:

    @Scott:
    SCOTUS has been very clear that the rights of Corporations trump those of Individuals. Money talks…not people.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

  4. Tim D. says:

    @Scott: Exactly. I would have thought that singling out a women’s health issue for non-inclusion in a company health plan would be prima facie sex discrimination. I also imagine that cases on contraception and sex discrimination were litigated decades ago, I’m just not familiar with what they found. Perhaps a lawyer like Doug might helpfully review the situation and recap it for us layfolk?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  5. WR says:

    As always, the “libertarian” love of freedom extends exactly as far as the freedom of owners and corporations to control the lives of employees. Freedom is for those who can pay cash. Everyone else just has to suck it up and follow the whims of their betters.

    This is libertarianism. It makes Tea Party philosophy look sane by comparison.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 3

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    The Sixth Circuit is usually considered the most conservative of the federal courts of appeals. The Ninth is usually considered the most liberal. It’s also the most reversed.

    The DC and Seventh Circuits are not, generally speaking, composed of right wing firebrands. My tentative conclusion is that whatever its policy merits the birth control mandate as written is bad law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  7. JKB says:

    @Scott:

    The rights of the employees are not at issue since their rights are not being constrained. No argument has been made that employees of these corporations cannot use contraception on their own. The issue is whether someone whose religious convictions do not permit contraception can be forces to purchase non-therapeutic contraception for others.

    We should also acknowledge that the government lied in their arguments on this case. Namely that the contraception was to promote women’s health. Several of the required contraception methods in the law are known carcinogens. How can the provision of known carcinogens for discretionary use be to promote women’s health?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 12

  8. WR says:

    @JKB: “Several of the required contraception methods in the law are known carcinogens. How can the provision of known carcinogens for discretionary use be to promote women’s health? ”

    Chemotherapy drugs are actually poisons. How can the provision ofknown poisons be to promote the patient’s health?

    Most pain medication are strong, addictive narcotics. How can the provision of known addictive drugs be to promote the patient’s health?

    Can you actually make an argument based on anything other than disingenuous misinformation?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

  9. Scott says:

    @JKB: I disagree. In this country, we have a system of employer-based health insurance. It is part of the employee’s overall compensation package. Just as there are rules of cash compensation, workplace safety rules, etc, there are also set in place rules and regulations governing the content of that compensation package. In this case, the content of the health insurance compensation.

    The employer is also not being forced to go against its religious beliefs. It also has a choice. It can give employees cash to purchase health insurance on private exchanges or the state and federal exchanges.

    I see this as a very slippery slope where employers can then dictate employee behavior on a number of grounds, including religious.

    If this pushes the US to get rid of employer-based health insurance, so much the better, Employees will end up having more freedom, not less.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  10. C. Clavin says:

    @WR:

    Can you actually make an argument based on anything other than disingenuous misinformation?

    Oh wait…I know the answer to that…no.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  11. C. Clavin says:

    What the court and JKB and the rest are saying is that this de facto form of religious discrimination is acceptable.
    It would not be OK for company x to say we are only going to hire Christian zealots.
    But the court is saying it is OK to limit their benefits package to something acceptable only to Christian zealots.
    Effectively a litmus test.
    For Republicans freedom of religion is the freedom to impose their religion on others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  12. Mike Adamson says:

    The trend towards recognising constitutional rights for corporations or recognising rights enjoyed by individuals through corporate structures does not seem healthy to me. I’ve never been a fan of slippery slope arguments but boy oh boy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  13. Crusty Dem says:

    I’m still confused as to how a corporation can have religious beliefs. I understand that the law had granted corporations amazing and broad powers, but beliefs? That’s insane.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  14. JKB says:

    @WR: Can you actually make an argument based on anything other than disingenuous misinformation?

    Chemotherapy and pain medications are not provided for discretionary use but rather for therapeutic treatment. in fact, discretionary use of pain medications is illegal and the basis for the drug war.

    Discretionary use of contraceptives, i.e., not as treatment for medical conditions, is not for women’s health unless your argument is that fertility is a condition in which the risks of cancer outweighs pregnancy when abstinence is a much more effective treatment for the risk of pregnancy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:

    abstinence is a much more effective treatment for the risk of pregnancy

    Abstinence is just another Republican myth.
    You clowns are such idiots.
    What’s next?
    Tax Cuts that pay for themselves?
    WMD in Iraq?
    Creationism?
    Evolution is a hoax?
    You and your crazy f’ing theories.
    All of them wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  16. Rafer Janders says:

    I’m still not clear exactly what religious rights these business owners claim are being violated. They are neither being forced to use birth control themselves nor to dispense it.

    Yes, it’s true, birth control coverage is included as part of the health insurance package, but the insurance is compensation and belongs to the employee as compensation for labor, not to the employer. An employer who offers birth control as part of a health insurance no more pays for birth control than it does if that an employee cashes in a paycheck to buy condoms.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  17. C. Clavin says:
  18. Rafer Janders says:

    While I was skeptical of the argument when it was first raised when the mandate first became public, it’s become rather apparent as the issue has made its way through the Federal Courts that the religiously motivated employers have a fairly strong Free Exercise claim here,

    How, exactly, are the employers being prevented from the free exercise of their religion?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. Rafer Janders says:

    While I was skeptical of the argument when it was first raised when the mandate first became public, it’s become rather apparent as the issue has made its way through the Federal Courts that the religiously motivated employers have a fairly strong Free Exercise claim here,

    How, exactly, are the employers being prevented from the free exercise of their religion?

    If my employer is a conservative Catholic, and I withdraw money from my bank account, a bank account funded by my paychecks, to buy condoms and porn, my employer couldn’t very well claim that my using my own money to buy this stuff was interfering with the free exercise of his religion.

    Similarly, then, how does my using my health insurance — which is just as much a part of my compensation as the paycheck is — to buy birth control interfere with the free exercise? My employer is neither providing nor paying for the birth control. I am, via my labor which I have exchanged for health insurance and a paycheck.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  20. C. Clavin says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    Stop making so much sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  21. Gustopher says:

    In the cted Jewish Deli example that the decision uses, what restrictions are there in he law that Jewish Delis cannot abide by and remain kosher?

    Is there a pork mandate? A cheeseburger mandate? A requirement to use plates for both dairy and meat?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  22. Gustopher says:

    And why is there no distinction made between a Jewish Deli, which exists explicitly to sell products made according to a religious tradition, and a Hobby Lobby which has no explicit religious nature other than the owners whims?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  23. JKB says:

    @Rafer Janders: My employer is neither providing nor paying for the birth control.

    So if your employer provides lunch or free sodas for you then they are neither providing or paying for the lunch or sodas? How do the sodas appear on site? Is it magic? Do you toil away and after some incantation they just appear?

    How is it compensation if it is neither being provided or paid for in exchange for work? If you work for compensation, then the compensation exchanged for that work has to have some value otherwise no valid contract is formed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  24. PD Shaw says:

    @Dave Schuler: “My tentative conclusion is that whatever its policy merits the birth control mandate as written is bad law.”

    If by law, you mean statutory law, probably not. Under pre-existing laws passed by Congress, the President is required to accommodate religious beliefs in his rulemaking. Its his rules that are violating Congressional statutes. Its similar to laws that require the Congress to accommodate environmental concerns. The President may have been authorized to build that dam, but he was also under an obligation to accommodate the snail darter. The President’s rules violate the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act, and I’m not even sure its that close.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  25. al-Ameda says:

    Another perverse ruling. Because a coverage feature is mandated does not in any manner require a person to avail themselves of that particular coverage. That is, if a woman does not want birth control because of religious beliefs, she is not compelled to use birth control.

    We are a really dumbed down country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  26. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    How is it compensation if it is neither being provided or paid for in exchange for work?

    Because it IS being provided or paid for in exchange for work. Employer-provided health insurance is COMPENSATION, i.e., it is renumeration in exchange for labor performed. It is a not a gift or a present, rather, it is just as much the employee’s as her paycheck is.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  27. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    So if your employer provides lunch or free sodas for you then they are neither providing or paying for the lunch or sodas? How do the sodas appear on site? Is it magic? Do you toil away and after some incantation they just appear?

    No, those are gifts. They are presents, freely given, and equally able to be freely taken away. They are not a part of compensation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  28. Jc says:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” – This is what dictates an insurance policy covering contraceptives? Isn’t this law already respecting the religion of Christianity over all others? Where is birth control mentioned in the bible? You are still free to exercise your right not to use birth control. Doesn’t PPACA cover counseling for alcohol abuse? I am surprised others are not objecting to this mandate to cover alcohol abuse when other religions are against alcohol. This rigidity is what will continue to cause us to divide culturally and continue to decline over time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. An Interested Party says:

    @Rafer Janders: THIS! A thousand times this! How can employers have any right to tell their employees how to use their earned compensation? One would of thought we got rid of such ridiculous notions when company towns/company stores were lost to the dustbin of history…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  30. James Pearce says:

    On the government’s understanding of religious liberty, a Jewish restaurant operating for profit could be denied the right to observe Kosher dietary restrictions.

    Huh? In what universe is that going to happen?

    Regarding the RFRA, I think it’s funny that a law that was supposed to allow Indians to use peyote is now being used to deny people birth control. It’s all about the drugs, innit?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  31. C. Clavin says:

    @An Interested Party:
    Republicans believe they should have the right to tell everyone how to live…which would include how they spend their money. This is pretty self-evident.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  32. C. Clavin says:

    It can’t be said enough…for these people freedom means the freedom to impose their beliefs on others. They are about as capable of understanding the concept of freedom as they are capable of understanding science…not at all.
    This isn’t the Republican Party of the past… They are in no way Conservative.
    This is a radical fundamentalist cult.
    Using their minds is anathema to them…because their faith is so mindless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  33. C. Clavin says:

    It’s also critical to remember that this group that is against contraception was once against the idea that the earth revolves around the Sun. In fact they have been on the wrong side of history for most of history. Hardly an organization that should be dictating anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. C. Clavin says:

    Plus they like to molest little boys.
    Seriously…we care what they think?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. jd says:

    I will believe a corporation has a religious belief when I see a Muslim company operated by Christians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  36. thomm says:

    Can’t wait to see how many company owners convert to christian science…all employeea muat pray their illness away. Imagine how much a religious exemption to provide any insurance at all would add to the bottom line. Conversely, the entertainment value of reading the cout’s twisting of logic to force Jehovah’s witnesses to provide for blood transfusions while disallowing birth control would be priceless and really show how this is not about religious liberty at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  37. WR says:

    @JKB: Tell us, oh sage, how long have you been abstinent? And can you assure us you only engage in sex for precreation?

    Or is that just advice for sluts?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  38. C. Clavin says:

    @WR:
    How long is irrelevant…it’s not like it’s his choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. C. Clavin says:

    Shouldn’t all the religious members of the court have to recuse themselves???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. Ron Beasley says:

    This has never really been about contraception but Obamacare. In the US 98% of the Catholics use or have used birth control. The birth control pill was invented by a Catholic researcher who assumed incorrectly that the church wouldn’t object.
    BTW there is a good related article here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  41. mike shupp says:

    I want to start a corporation and refuse to pay for health insurance which covers contraception and abortion on the grounds that this conflicts with my strongly held Muslim religious beliefs. Who will join me in this jihad?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  42. JKB says:

    @Rafer Janders: No, those are gifts.

    The IRS would still consider them compensation and taxable.

    @Rafer Janders: Employer-provided health insurance is COMPENSATION,

    And the employer is paying for it. Thus the employer is being forced to purchase contraception and abortion against their religious beliefs to exchange as compensation for work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  43. JKB says:

    @WR:

    You really need to work on your reading comprehension.

    If the rationale for the contraception mandate is “to promote women’s health” then abstinence is a far better method than the forced provision of drugs that are known to carry risks to a woman’s health.

    I am not against contraception. I am against lying about contraception. Especially when it is the federal government doing it to assist in the perpetration of a fraud. And let’s look at the federal government’s track record. It wasn’t that long ago they were pushing everyone to use transfats and their efforts cause the removal of healthy saturated fats from foods and the substitution of trans fats into the food. Now they want to ban trans fats as being a health risk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  44. Tyrell says:

    The so-called “penalty” should be unconstitional because the government is punishing people for not buying something that they do not want or may not need. The “penalty” is collected through an individual’s federal income tax refund. More money to our Bagon federal treasury. I guess next year we will be charged a federal “penalty” if we don’t buy a new Volt ! But if you aren’t getting a refund, then you are ok. “Pay as you go” sounds like the best deal.
    “You can keep your current health plan. Period.”
    “We fired our guns and the British kept a runnin’ right down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico”
    (Johnny Horton)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  45. grumpy realist says:

    The problem is really that the employees have no ability to push back against this. If everyone who needed birth control (and wasn’t getting it from their employer) was able to say: “ok, you don’t want to pay for birth control in my insurance. Therefore, in order to hire me I’m going to demand another $50K per year” and be able to have it stick, I predict companies would very quickly cave in on this.

    Don’t impose the externalities of your belief system on other people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: You really don’t know much about contraception, do you?

    There’s a pretty good link between taking birth control pills and getting better protection against ovarian cancer, which is one of the cancers that women really, really dread because it’s so hard to detect until too late. And no, it’s unfortunately not all that rare–I’ve had two friends who died from it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  47. KM says:

    @JKB:

    @Rafer Janders: Employer-provided health insurance is COMPENSATION,

    And the employer is paying for it. Thus the employer is being forced to purchase contraception and abortion against their religious beliefs to exchange as compensation for work.

    AND SO AM I.

    Unless it is 100% funded by the employer, the employee’s money (and therefore wishes) come into play. Not one single idiot in favor of this has been able to adequately explain why employer money=decision and employee money = shut up and take it. Why is their money not good enough to have a say? If money being used to purchase healthcare needs to take into consideration religious views, you are violating every single employee’s by not letting them decide as well. This decision is a strike AGAINST religious rights, not for it, in that it narrows just who’s religious rights really matter (hint: big money).

    @grumpy realist: It also helps treat PCOS, which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and infertility. That’s right, the treatment that allow some women to retain the ability to have children is the dreaded Pill. The irony is fierce but by denying birth control they are in effect denying some women the chance at motherhood they may desperately desire or condemning them to long term, expensive, life-changing but ultimately avoidable conditions.

    Oh and most likely increasing the overall abortion rate but hey, morals right? I do not understand these people at all…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  48. bill says:

    @Scott: they have a right to work wherever they want, that’s not hard to discern- unless they’re being forced to work in such horrible places….. maybe someone should drag sarah fluke out of whatever terrible place she is now and have her cry for you again?
    last i checked, condoms are pretty damn cheap anywhere you go.

    @mike shupp: you go mike!

    @al-Ameda:

    We are a really dumbed down country.

    obama’s reelection along with obamacare and the wondrous website are very evident of that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  49. Tyrell says:

    @grumpy realist: $50, 000 a year for birth control? Sounds like the $300 hammers that the military buys. I certainly think that employees should be offered the option of maternity benefits and birth control coverage if they want to pay a little more for that. I had to pay a whole lot more if I wanted dental coverage, and I think good dental health is just as important as birth control . And vision care which would cover glasses, contacts, and laser surgery. Everyone would agree that good vision and excellent eyesight are necessary.
    The best solutiion is to offer a wide range and options concerning coverage, prices and deductibles. And don’t hand me that stuff about insurance being a “pooled” arrangement. I get that. So I will be glad to help pay for someone’s maternity benefit if they will help pay for my vision coverage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  50. KM says:

    @Tyrell:

    offered the option of maternity benefits and birth control coverage if they want to pay a little more for that.

    What in the world makes you think the company will offer that? They’re opposed to BC, dontcha know. So opposed they’ll take it to the Supreme Court for the right to say no, we don’t want that. If they are so opposed to the concept of BC in their healthcare offerings, why would they offer it separately? They’d still be offering it under employer healthcare so it would still be “sponsored” or “officiated” under their auspices. Its an anathema they’ve spent millions to deny – it’s against their very faith!!

    Unless…. it’s all about the money and they don’t really care as long as they don’t pay for it. Again, some morals they’re showing….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  51. C. Clavin says:

    @bill:

    they have a right to work wherever they want, that’s not hard to discern

    That’s de facto religious discrimination.
    You’re free to work here but not to be free to follow your religion…or even lack of religion. You will have to knuckle under to our religious beliefs…or go work somewhere else.
    I am not suprised you can’t understand this.
    It takes some IQ to follow even basic logic like this.

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  52. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: Um, the reason I’m asking for an extra $50K a year is because I can. I’m charging for the hassle factor because you idiots want to be able to indulge in your so-called religious ethics and stick me with the bill. So I’m charging for that. Rather than having my health care all together in one nice seamless package I’m having to deal with a) having to find a doctor to give me a birth control prescription and b) a pharmacy that will in fact fill the prescription. Plus there’s the risk that due to my blood chemistry or other medications that I’m taking that I will have to take some incredibly expensive birth control stuff.

    You want to be able to impose your religious beliefs on other people’s budgets, you gotta pay for it. No outsourcing of externalities!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  53. C. Clavin says:

    This entire discussion is part of the reason that the employer should be taken out of the insurance equation.
    I’d much rather take the same amount in direct monetary compensation and go get insurance from the exchanges.
    That to would also eliminate the $14,000 health care subsidy Ted Cruz currently takes from the Government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  54. Tyrell says:

    @C. Clavin: That is the best idea I have heard. Pay people more money and let them shop for health insurance, retirement 401′s, and investments on their own. That way they can also write these off on their taxes. It saves their employer a lot of hassles and paperwork. Go back to benefits of two weeks paid vacation and certainly holidays. That’s the way it used to be, and we some how, unbelievably survived.
    A recent study revealed that a high percentage of investors have close to 50% of their assets in cash! There is a lesson there somewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  55. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:

    Go back to benefits of two weeks paid vacation and certainly holidays.

    Shut the front door.
    I haven’t settled for two weeks off in decades.
    Also 401K’s are kinda worthless without an employer match and profit sharing contributions…that’s nothing more than an IRA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  56. WR says:

    @Tyrell: “Go back to benefits of two weeks paid vacation and certainly holidays. That’s the way it used to be, and we some how, unbelievably survived.”

    Well, sure. That was when we had strong unions that could demand and win these benefits. But your party — with your enthusiastic support, I have no doubt — has waged a decades-long war to wipe out unions, and with it any negotiating power employees might have. And so there are no more two weeks paid vacations, and wages have been stagnant for years and years. And you sit there and moan about the good ol’ days, as if you weren’t complicit in their destruction.

    Most working people don’t deserve what’s happened to the country. You, on the other hand, most assuredly do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  57. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    A recent study revealed that a high percentage of investors have close to 50% of their assets in cash! There is a lesson there somewhere.

    The lesson is: They need to learn how to invest, they’re earning less than zero percent on their cash investment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  58. C. Clavin says:

    @al-Ameda:
    Of course if Republicans weren’t so intent on keeping demand at an absolute minimum…they might have some place to invest.
    But wait…isn’t that the idea behind supply-side economics? When the wealthy have money it will trickle down to the rest of us? How much wealth must they have before that begins? Is there a magic number? Or will a unicorn simply appear and tell them to start investing?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  59. al-Ameda says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    The Sixth Circuit is usually considered the most conservative of the federal courts of appeals. The Ninth is usually considered the most liberal. It’s also the most reversed.

    This is excerpted from the ABA Journal.

    Over a longer term, the full method also helps the 6th Circuit, but not as dramatically as in the 2011-12 term alone. Looking at the seven terms from 2005-06 through 2011-12, the 6th Circuit takes the top spot as most reversed (81.6 percent) under the traditional method, but falls to second-most-reversed under the full method, with a 66.7 percent reversal rate under that system. And the top-most-reversed federal appeals court for those seven terms under the full method?

    So basically, the 6th is becoming the 9th
    (pun definitely intended).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  60. C. Clavin says:

    Watch Sarah Palin describe replacing Obamacare with….um….ah….Obamacare.
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/11/sarah-palin-obamacare-alternative-health-care.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  61. anjin-san says:

    A recent study revealed that a high percentage of investors have close to 50% of their assets in cash! There is a lesson there somewhere.

    Have you heard about these handy internet thingies called “links”? You can use them to support the claims you make when posting.

    The Fox News “some say” cite does not play very well in the real world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  62. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: Proof of your claim, please. I find it very hard to believe that everyone’s sitting on the sidelines with half of their assets in cash. I’m certainly not, and don’t know anyone who is.

    Now, people may be deciding to balance their portfolios more towards bonds rather than stocks at present, but that’s an entirely different matter.

    (Oh, a questionnaire sent out to a bunch of hedge funds isn’t testing “investors”in general, by the way.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  63. C. Clavin says:

    So let’s connect some dots before this thread drops off the radar….
    1). Republicans do not want to pay for insurance that covers contraception.
    2). Republican men do not want to pay more for insurance that is mandates maternity coverage…which is an effort at making the rate men and women pay for policies more equitable..and thus more affordable for women.
    3). Republicans do not want it to be legal to have an abortion outside of a time-frame so limited that it is impossible for women to even know they are pregnant yet.
    There…in a nutshell…is the logic that runs the Republican Party today.
    They are dead-set against abortion…and are rabidly opposed to common-sense steps that would limit abortions.
    It’s as if a liberal were dead-set against war…and rabidly opposed to diplomacy.
    Seriously…Republicans are funny.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  64. Argon says:

    Fine. Reduce the employer’s tax benefits by the amount required for coverage of whatever freaks them out and add it back as a tax refund to the employee for what they’ll have to pay for the plan. Then make sure every insurance plan has birth control coverage and everyone is happy.

    … and we make our way slowly to the single payer plan we should’ve had in the first place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0