ObaminableCare and the liberal urge to control

Hobby Lobby is a privately held retail chain of arts and crafts stores based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Their “Our Company” page describes the company:

The constant element throughout Hobby Lobby’s growth is our loyal customers and our outstanding employees. The foundation of our business has been, and will continue to be strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. Hobby Lobby store hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and all Hobby Lobby stores are closed on Sunday.

In September, Hobby Lobby sued the federal government to enjoin enforcement of that portion of the contraception mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which requires that health insurance coverage include the so-called “morning after” pill and similar abortifacients; the lawsuit does not challenge rules regarding a variety of other birth-control measures.

Supreme Court Justice Sandra Sotomayor denied the company’s request for an injunction to prevent the federal government from imposing fines for refusing to provide that coverage while the lawsuit is in the lower courts.

Kyle Duncan, who is representing Hobby Lobby on behalf of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said in a statement posted on the group’s website Thursday that Hobby Lobby doesn’t intend to offer its employees insurance that would cover the drug while its lawsuit is pending.

“The company will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees,” Duncan said. “To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.”

In ruling against the companies last month, U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton said churches and other religious organizations have been granted constitutional protection from the birth-control provisions but that “Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations.”

Sister Toldjah, commenting on the reaction of our friends on the left to this, wrote:

What astonishing stupidity. Here’s the mindset of liberals like the idiots at “Think Progress”: It’s ok for the federal government to force you to violate your religious freedoms at the point of fines and possibly at some point jail time if you don’t comply, but a private employer choosing to exercise its First Amendment rights is “forcing its religious beliefs on all employees” – EVEN THOUGH THOSE EMPLOYEES HAVE THE OPTION OF FINDING ANOTHER JOB if they don’t agree with the decision.

Good grief, these people are mind-blowingly ignorant (and willingly so) at times.  Then again, what do you expect from people who by and large view government aka Uncle Sam as God and your private religious beliefs that are supposed to be guaranteed under the US Constitution as secondary to what the their government god  mandates?

Hobby Lobby could face a fine of $1.3 million per day, starting on January 1, 2013, if they refuse to comply with the abortifacient mandate.

This is a different situation from the objections of the Catholic Church, which refuses to provide insurance coverage for artificial contraception, period; Hobby Lobby has not objected to having its self-funded insurance plan cover regular contraceptive measures.

The employees of Hobby Lobby have the option of using the “morning after” pill, as long as they pay for it themselves. They have a legal right to have an abortion, as long as they pay for it themselves. The company’s policy does not deny them those rights, but the PP&ACA would force Hobby Lobby, and every other sectarian employer, to violate the right of religious freedom to pay for those things for employees.

Moreover, it’s wholly unreasonable of the federal government to try to force companies to comply. The Washington Post noted that the average cost for employer-provided health insurance for large companies is now $15,745 per employee;1 most companies pay the majority of those premiums themselves, while employees are responsible for varying percentages of the premiums. But if the federal government wins on this regulation, companies like Hobby Lobby, whose owners strenuously object to paying for abortifacients, have an option that is not only much cheaper than the $1.3 million per day fine, and cheaper than health insurance. Under the PP&ACA, companies with over 50 employees which fail to provide health insurance for their employees face a federal tax of $2,000 per employee; it would save those companies an average of $13,745 per employee2 to simply drop health insurance coverage completely. They could even give every employee a $4.00 an hour raise, tell them that they are on their own buying health insurance, and come out well ahead.

And that is the kind of response that the Obama Administration is going to force.

I have said before, many times, that the ObaminableCare law looks like it was designed to fail, and with the regulations being imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services, it looks to me to be more and more the case. At the very least, the HHS bureaucrats certainly don’t seem to understand the first things about business, about insurance and about human nature. If the Obama Administration were serious about trying to make the PP&ACA work, they would not try to impose rules to anger people who would otherwise support the law. The Catholic bishops very strongly supported the idea of a federal guarantee of health care coverage . . . and then the Administration imposed rules that they knew3 would put the bishops on the other side. The Administration could have worked things out in a manner which would not offend people’s consciences, but chose not to do so. Why would anyone think that they actually want this to work?

  1. Assuming a 40 hour workweek, this works out to $7.57 per hour, just for health insurance.
  2. $6.61 per hour.
  3. Or should have known, if they had any sense at all, something for which there is rather little evidence.

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