Hobby Lobby Fights Obamacare

Back in 2008 when President Obama was elected, I asked my sister how she felt about it.  She said she didn’t vote for him, but it wasn’t the end of the world as some predicted.  She lives in Colorado, a “purple” state as she calls it.  It is one of the few states that seems to be pretty evenly divided among Republicans and Democrats, and so presidential contenders often pay attention to this swing state.

Since that election, I’ve been amazed to see a transformation in her.  She has definitely become much more politically active, and has served as a volunteer to get out the vote.  She has become much more critical of President Obama’s policies, and worked actively to defeat him in the recent election.  She has become much more of a critic of his social policies, especially the contraception mandate.  In case you are not aware, part of Obamacare mandates that employers pay for contraception.  Logically it seems like it will save money in the long run.  I’ve previously discussed that the Freakonomics experts believe that abortion helped lower the crime rate because unwanted children don’t grow up to become career criminals.  In addition, a St. Louis University study showed that when free contraception was given to high schoolers, it cut the teen birth rate by 72%, and cuts the abortion rate by 68%.  Frankly, these are goals that should be lauded by all who want to lower crime, abortion, and teen pregnancy.  Obama’s plan seems very sound in tackling these important issues.

Hobby-Lobby-for-Culture-FailBut certain Catholic and Evangelical groups feel that providing contraception gives teens a license to sin, and are morally opposed to it.  Hobby Lobby, a national chain store that sells hobby supplies is owned by devout Evangelicals;  they are fighting Obamacare because they don’t want to be forced to pay for contraception; as a result, the government was imposing $1 million dollar a day fines against the chain.  My sister is excited that a court ruled in favor of the retail store, saying they don’t have to pay the fines while the court case is pending.

In my mind, the contraception mandate just makes good economic sense.  My sister and I have discussed birth control, and she certainly has used it, but she feels that this is a government intrusion and supports Evangelicals and Catholics who oppose having to pay for contraception on the basis of moral grounds.  My reaction has been to say that if these 2 groups don’t want to pay for contraception, then they should have to pay for the jails to house the unwanted children, which is much more expensive.  But alas, she (and I suppose Catholics and Evangelicals) probably wouldn’t think that was fair.  Of course they would argue that teens should put these unwanted children up for adoption, but that doesn’t happen.  As a result, these unwanted children turn to a life of crime because they have no other way to support themselves.

If Obama can cut a deal allowing for Catholic organizations to avoid paying directly for contraception (and Obama has worked out some sort of indirect method to allow employees of Catholic employers to get free contraception), then I suppose that Hobby Lobby has some sort of a case and should be allowed a similar exception.  But in my mind, the Evangelicals are tripping over dollars to pick of pennies on the basis of some self-righteous moral crusade.  It just makes no sense to me why they would oppose contraception when it will make society a better place.  I mean who thinks that cutting teen pregnancy and abortions is a bad idea?  Apparently the Catholics and Evangelicals believe the ends to not justify the means.

What say you?

10 comments on “Hobby Lobby Fights Obamacare

  1. I would call your atention to the 1982 U.S supreme court decision of U.S. V. LEE (452 U.S. 252) The court held that an Amish employer could not refuse to pay social security taxes for his Amish and non Amish employees alike on the grounds that it went against his religous beliefs. (The Amish believe in taking care of their own)

    Maybe greater legal minds than mind can distinguish between Hobby Lobby and the Amish employer ( a number of judges already have) but I can’t

    FYI– the case was argued for the United States by that radical left wing lawyer and Solicitor General Rex Lee who later became president of BYU

  2. There is a long history in the US of churches offering comprehensive health services in their own way. They can discriminate according to their beliefs. There is no history of a religious exemption from income taxes and other personal taxes.
    Hobby Lobby would probably win in the supreme court if it goes that far. John Roberts left Obamacare in place, but it is on shaky ground. He made it far easier to carve it up piece by piece.

  3. Being a Latter-day Saint, I believe that we fought for freedom in the pre-earth life. We knew that when we came to earth, we would face many challenges (including crime, etc.) Just because something is good for society does not mean that I think it should be shoved down everyone’s throat. Agency is a God-given right. With agency comes the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail. It is too bad that there are not more adoptions with unwanted pregnancies. It is too bad that there is crime. But I don’t want to live in a society where the government is in charge of everything. There may be more crime in a freer society, but is killing children (babies, fetuses) the answer? Not in my mind. If someone commits a crime, they should go to jail. Many states do have programs for inmates to go to college, etc., but I would like to see more rehab in our prison systems and less opportunities for the criminals to be even more hardened. Poverty is lower when people marry before having children. Crime is lower when people get an education and marry before having children. If someone wants their birth control to be paid for, don’t work for Hobby Lobby, find a different employer. (I am personally all for the choice to use birth control.) I am for other choices, too. I think local governments are going to far in controlling the size of soft drinks, etc. But it is a fine line. I want clean water, so we need some government regulation. We need smart business regulations, etc. But what I have seen in the last several years is the government trying to turn itself into God – trying to control everything. It is good to have discussions like this. Though I consider myself to be center-right, if we didn’t have people on the left, the right would go too far and vice versa.

  4. Shauna, where do you stand on seat belt laws, helmet laws, mandatory vaccinations, speed limits, etc? Should we eliminate those in favor of freedom so we can have more motor vehicle deaths, whooping cough, etc?

    Helmet and seat belt laws are mandatory in most states, and hardly an affront to freedom, though surely there are whack jobs that want the freedom to bash their own heads in on a motorcycle. I don’t see this as an needless erosion of freedom, but good public policy. Should we stop chlorinating our water so that we can freely experience cholera as happens in those free African states?

    I think it is good to debate these issues, but libertarians can go a bit too far in the name of freedom. We regulate prostitution, drug use, etc (some hard-core libertarians believe we shouldn’t) so it is not uncommon at all for governments to force good things upon us. Obama’s contraception mandate just makes too much sense to call this an affront to freedom is going overboard.

  5. Let us remember that what is called Obamacare was a Republican idea dreamed up by the Heritage Foundation and supported by such devout conservatives as Orrin Hatch and brought to life by none other than Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. What we really need, a universal, single-payer system that removes health insurance from employers, we will never get because of our schizophrenic nature as a country. What we have is a step in the right direction, but rather than seeking to destroy it we ought to be seeking ways to improve it for all Americans.

  6. Facing the prospect of losing Catholic and other religiously conservative votes, the administration quickly retreated. President Obama himself, flanked by a visibly unhappy Secretary Sebelius, announced that the offending regulation is rescinded: Not only churches but church-affiliated institutions would not be required to offer insurance covering contraception, but women employees would be able to obtain the latter directly from insurance companies, without co-pay (I doubt if the insurance companies are thrilled by that provision). Needless to say, Obama presented the retreat as both a principled and pragmatic compromise (which, let us be fair, it really is). At the time of writing, it is not clear whether this will still the storm. The Republican candidates will probably be reluctant to drop an issue that must be an answer to their prayers (literally, if one is to believe what they say about their personal piety).

  7. There are those who are allowed a personal or religious exemption for immunizations, so there are exceptions made for people whose deeply held beliefs are at odds with the immunization law. Are there people out there who are opposed to chlorination of water? They are always free to move somewhere with their own private well. I am glad to hear that the healthcare legislation is going to allow some exceptions for religious beliefs with regard to contraception. A single payer system doesn’t seem to be working all that well in some of the countries that have it. I have heard (sorry no specifics to back it up) that people can wait upwards of 2 1/2 years to see a specialist. Currently in the US, if you need care, you go to the hospital and you get care, even if you can’t afford it. It’s definitely not perfect and I would like to see some changes. At a lecture I went to recently given by a radiologist, she advocated health care spending accounts and catastrophic coverage. That way people can be in charge of deciding what to spend for the little things but are covered for the big things. She compared it to deductibles on your car insurance. We don’t expect the car insurance company to pay for our oil changes, etc. but when we’re in an accident, we have coverage. Putting some of the smaller costs back with the consumer would probably have them thinking twice about whether they needed that care. Also, doctors have so much paperwork and coding, etc., it drives up their costs. Here is a link about a doctor who posts his prices online and no longer accepts insurance. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/doctor-stops-accepting-insurance-lowers-prices-posts-costs-194405203.html Also, It is too bad that health insurance was tied to jobs after WWII when employers tried to recruit people during the government mandated wage freeze. I think it would all be much better if it had always been an individual type of thing. Currently, if you have good health insurance and want to strike out on your own to start your own business, a lot of times you feel so tied to your current company because you are so afraid that you won’t be able to get or afford health insurance.

  8. I just found this that someone posted on facebook. It may be a good way to reform healthcare. This surgery center posts their prices online. http://kfor.com/2013/07/08/okc-hospital-posting-surgery-prices-online/

    “Surgery Center of Oklahoma does accept private insurance, but the center does not accept Medicaid or Medicare.

    Dr. Smith said federal Medicare regulation would not allow for their online price menu.

    They have avoided government regulation and control in that area by choosing not to accept Medicaid or Medicare payments.”

  9. I totally understand that it would lower crime rate, teen pregnancies, etc. The fact of the matter is there are several different types and means of obtaining birth control. If your birth control is covered by your insurance, great. If not, too bad. I have insurance that covers it, but my friend doesn’t, and she buys the generic brand for $10 per month. There’s also something called condoms. If the government wants to do something useful for once, they could make these things more readily available through other means, rather than try to force people and business to pay for something they are morally against. Of course, liberals claim, “rights” and “freedom” on issues like these, yet don’t seem to see that they are totally taking it away from Catholics or whoever to obtain it for a different group. What the government should do instead of imposing fines is give tax breaks or incentives to businesses who want to offer it. I agree it would have a positive effect to make birth control more readily available, but this is not the way to go about it.

  10. You want to exercise your religious rights, fine. Stand on your head and chant away or whatever your religion wants to do. What you can’t do is impose YOUR religious beliefs on others. No discrimination based on race, religion, etc. etc. etc. This IS America. It cuts both ways, people.

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