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Author Topic: Hobby Lobby SCOTUS Contraceptive Case
Wayward Son
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So, who's up to discussing the Hobby Lobby case?

One argument I haven't heard debated is worker's compensation. Hobby Lobby doesn't want to directly pay for what they consider are abortions. But they will pay their workers in money, which could be used to pay for abortions. So how does that really differ?

Even though the health insurance covers "abortions" (aka contraceptives that Hobby Lobby considers are abortives), none of the workers have to use it. Only if they freely decide to use the option would that occur. Which is the same thing they could do with cash from Hobby Lobby.

Health insurance is part of the compensation that Hobby Lobby provides its employees for working for them. They don't (and can't) tell their employees how to use or not use their compensation. That's the nature of freedom. But somehow they feel that they can limit what kind of health care their employees can get from their health insurance compensation.

I don't get it. What's the difference? [Confused]

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NobleHunter
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More interesting: the contraceptives Hobby Lobby is complaining about don't cause abortions. HL just believes they do. And HL was covering them until it became a political issue.
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Grant
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I think it possibly has to do with the difference between allowing, and aiding.

Hobby Lobby pays their employees, and they can go do whatever they want with it. They can have abortions, or buy heroine and liquor, or donate it to the church of Satan. By offering healthplans that allow abortions, it seems the owners of Hobby Lobby believe they are aiding their employees by giving them the option. The way they look at it, they are helping pay for that insurance, and thus helping pay for that abortion.

I think you have a good point Wayward. But is Hobby Lobby required by law to offer their employees insurance? And if so, are they required by law to offer them any kind?

I think you could also question whether these contraceptives are indeed abortions and the morality of contraceptives as a whole.

To me, this is just another example of why health insurance should be separated from the employer. Remove the laws that require it and the tax breaks that incentivize it.

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PSRT
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quote:
To me, this is just another example of why health insurance should be separated from the employer. Remove the laws that require it and the tax breaks that incentivize it.
Yup. That's where I come down on this, too.

These companies are publicly traded (there are two joined cases), so I have a hard time buying the religious liberty argument.

I also have a hard time thinking of health insurance as anything other than compensation. Health insurance covers so many different things, most of which most people who have a specific form of coverage will never use. But the reason that health insurance covers a variety of forms of care is to keep the costs down for everyone. If we get into a situation where companies are micromanaging the type of care their employees are able to get, first it puts a lot more power into the hands of employees, and makes it harder for people to find a job that offers appropriate compensation, but it also will end up making health care more expensive for everyone.

But, companies should be able to broadly define the compensation packages they choose to offer employees. Something like this IS part of the compensation package. I don't think its a part that should be negotiable (health insurance should be health insurance, with differences in level, but not differences in allowed procedures), but I understand why owners of companies might feel uncomfortable with their compensation package including abortion, or blood transfusion, or cancer treatments, or vaccination, or... anything else that they might find (however ridiculously) personally unethical. I just don't think they should be able to use their ethics to deny certain uses of compensation they give their employees, and ultimately, that's what this is.

However, these fights are going to keep occurring until we have single payer health care.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
But is Hobby Lobby required by law to offer their employees insurance? And if so, are they required by law to offer them any kind?
From what I heard over NPR yesterday, they are not required, in a strict sense, to provide health insurance. They would have to pay a fine if they did not, but, as pointed out in the hearing, the fine would actually cost less than the insurance.

However, Hobby Lobby argued that they felt morally obliged to provide health insurance to their workers, just as they felt morally obliged not to pay for abortions.

The Affordable Care Act, however, does require that health insurance offered by companies includes contraceptive coverage.

So either they offer no insurance, or pay a fine in addition to the cost of insurance. Not exactly a win-win situation.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
These companies are publicly traded (there are two joined cases), so I have a hard time buying the religious liberty argument.
There is also the interesting question of who, exactly, is the "company." The president? The board of directors? All of upper management? The entire workforce? Some other subset? [Confused]

This is another reason why companies should not be considered as "individuals."

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MrSquicky
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I wasn't able to find information on this. Does anyone know if employees of Hobby Lobby pay for a portion of their health insurance? I would expect that they would.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
There is also the interesting question of who, exactly, is the "company." The president? The board of directors? All of upper management? The entire workforce? Some other subset? [Confused]

This is another reason why companies should not be considered as "individuals."

I actually like the idea that some groups, including the government of the united states, communities, churches, and corporations, can be consider as something more then the sum of their parts. Who is the company? It's the company. The company is an idea, like a church or a government.

In the end, in the United States, the people who control the company are the people who control the capital. The shareholders. The majority shareholder could be considered the majority owner. The owner can do what he or she desires, but is responsible for the consequences via the community, the government, the customers, and the employees.

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Wayward Son
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Good question, McSquicky. The only thing I could find was that contraceptives had to be offered without a separate copay, but not whether the employees had a regular copay.

You would think a copay would give them some voice in the insurance decisions. (Although I don't know if any employees wants contraceptive coverage--or at least is willing to say so.)

BTW, I found this link to Everything You Need to Know About the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case. (Whether or not it fulfills its title I'll leave for you to decide. [Smile] )

[ March 26, 2014, 11:53 AM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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Pyrtolin
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I don't think that should even be relevant since, fomr the company's perspective, insurance is just money that's part of the employee's compensation. Sure it goes into a different account- the insurance company's account rather than the employee's personal account, but as far as the company should be concerned it's just part of the employee's paycheck. What third party services the employee chooses to buy with that pay is no more the business of the company than what the employee decides to buy with any other part of their pay.
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msquared
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PSRT
Is Hobby Lobby a public company? I thought I heard that it was a family owned business. That would make a difference in how I thought this should come down.

msquared

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msquared
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At least according to Wikipedia they are privately held.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobby_Lobby

msquared

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PSRT
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Huh. You may be right.

It doesn't really make a difference in how I view the case, but it is privately held.

It makes no difference in how I view the case for the same reasons that I don't think a private business should be able to not do business with black people on the basis of their race. Once you start using public resources to earn your income (for example, you have a store front on public roadways... i.e. pretty much any business), you should have to abide by the same rules every business is required to abide by under the laws, regardless of whether or not those laws violate your religion.

Otherwise, I could claim a religious objection to the power of the state to tax, and deny the legal authority of the government to tax me. Under a ruling for Hobby Lobby, the government would have to honor that religious belief, as the government absolutely can't get involved in arbitering what is a sincere religious belief.

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Pete at Home
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Facepalm.

Hell's bells, wayward, are you intentionally trying to validate Seneca's stereotype of lefties being anti freedom?

The difference between a company paying directly for abortion, vs paying money that can be used for abortion, is just that, freedom. If you can't see that, than you incarnate Seneca's straw man.

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Seneca
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It will be interesting to see how this resolves. If the government forces a private company to violate their religious beliefs just to provide their employees with health coverage, it will only continue to spur the convention movement. Several states have already called for one.
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scifibum
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I'm wondering if the court will rule on who is paying for what, in this case. I tend toward the view that the company is paying the employee with coverage, and the employee is paying for the contraceptives by utilizing that coverage. But I think I have a bias.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
The difference between a company paying directly for abortion, vs paying money that can be used for abortion, is just that, freedom. If you can't see that, than you incarnate Seneca's straw man.

And it's the latter that Hobby Lobby is arguing that it has the right to do deny, not the former. It's not any given company's right to dictate to its employees how they spend their pay, regardless of what form the pay takes. Since the company is not paying directly for medical services put rather earmarking a portion of their employees pay to go directly to an insurance company, the actual terms of that service are between the insurance company and the employee; the employer has not right to stick their nose into that arrangement and try to impose their moral standards on the employee's private actions.
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Pete at Home
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I am think it's either stupid or vicious to tie contraception to employment. Contraception access should be mad universal, or even more available to unemployed and partially employed. Unless the powers that be want to stay in power by raising the proportion of people born and raised in desperate poverty.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
The difference between a company paying directly for abortion, vs paying money that can be used for abortion, is just that, freedom. If you can't see that, than you incarnate Seneca's straw man.
You'd best explain it to me in small words then, Pete.

I work for a company. The company compensates me with money. I choose to use that money to buy an abortion.

Versus: I work for a company. That company gives me money, and uses some of that money to buy insurance. I choose to use that insurance to get an abortion.

The difference seems quite subtle to me. In both cases, I earned the compensation. The company did not give it to me out of the kindness of their heart. In both cases, I chose how to use that compensation. Personally, I doubt that I'd ever use an IUD or a morning-after pill (being male [Smile] ), but that's my choice. The company has no say in the matter, religious or not.

So explain to me once again how paying money to a company that may or may not provide abortions is so different from paying money to someone who may or may not use it to buy an abortion? [Confused]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
It will be interesting to see how this resolves. If the government forces a private company to violate their religious beliefs just to provide their employees with health coverage, it will only continue to spur the convention movement. Several states have already called for one.

A company does not have religious views. A company can be a religious organization, to be sure, and demonstrate this by only employing members of their faith, but those groups have a special consideration. Once you are interacting with the general public, individual freedom must win out of employer dictat, otherwise your are effectively declaring that corporate entities are higher priority citizens than individual people by granting them powers to restrict individual freedom.
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NobleHunter
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If Hobby Lobby's owners feel responsible for the company's business activities, why did they adopt a corporate structure that legally isolates them from their company? Are they likewise prepared to surrender their personal assets to creditors if HL goes bankrupt?
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scifibum
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Pete:

"company paying directly for [certain contraceptives]"

...is definitely overstating.

They would be writing checks to an insurance company - adding to a pool of money that MIGHT be used that way.

If the plan doesn't cover those contraceptives, but other plans offered by the same insurance company do cover those contraceptives, the money paid by Hobby Lobby isn't held in some financial quarantine in order to prevent paying for those contraceptives. Once they pay for the coverage, how that money is used is someone else's decision.

Even if there were some insurance company that offered only one plan and there was no chance of the money paid for Hobby Lobby being used in ways they disagreed with - it'd still be wrong to say there was "direct" payment for the health care services eventually rendered. Direct payment would be something other than handing money to an insurance company who then MIGHT hand SOME of it over to someone else based on decisions made by the employee and their health care provider. Direct payment would mean Hobby Lobby making a transaction to buy contraceptives, not buy insurance that covers a wide range of possible uses. You might as well say that taxpayers are directly purchasing anchor paint with their taxes.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I am think it's either stupid or vicious to tie contraception to employment. Contraception access should be mad universal, or even more available to unemployed and partially employed. Unless the powers that be want to stay in power by raising the proportion of people born and raised in desperate poverty.

Yep - along with any other aspect of health care, it's stupid to have it tied to employment. (We need single payer.)
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Pyrtolin
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Also note that Hobby Lobby doesn't seem to care to extend the same restrictions to anyone else they deal with. They're perfectly happy to nominally support any number of actual abortions in China by using suppliers located there. It's only their direct employees that they want the power to impose their moral standards on.
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Pete at Home
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Very imaginative, Pyr. But complete nonsense. You not only have no chain of remote causality, but you are completely ignoring the issue of a direct action.

[ March 26, 2014, 01:21 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I am think it's either stupid or vicious to tie contraception to employment. Contraception access should be mad universal, or even more available to unemployed and partially employed. Unless the powers that be want to stay in power by raising the proportion of people born and raised in desperate poverty.

Yep - along with any other aspect of health care, it's stupid to have it tied to employment. (We need single payer.)
Single payer needs to be available in order for the country to survive economically, and I have said that for years. But for medical progress, we need to allow wealthy early adopters;
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
The difference between a company paying directly for abortion, vs paying money that can be used for abortion, is just that, freedom. If you can't see that, than you incarnate Seneca's straw man.
You'd best explain it to me in small words then, Pete.

I work for a company. The company compensates me with money. I choose to use that money to buy an abortion.

Versus: I work for a comon.

The difference seems quite subtle to me.

OK, is the image of a swiss army knife a simple enough image for you?

You are basically arguing that the company be used to purchase.a swiss army knife with an abortion attachment. And you argue that they aren't directly funding abortion. But every single employee of the company when gets the insurance, bust have this abortion rider. It's in the documentation that the company by law has to provide.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
You are basically arguing that the company be used to purchase.a swiss army knife with an abortion attachment. And you argue that they aren't directly funding abortion. But every single employee of the company when gets the insurance, bust have this abortion rider. It's in the documentation that the company by law has to provide.

Except the company isn't buying anything. The employee is buying it; the company only forwards the payment instead of giving the money to the employee.
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Wayward Son
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And if the employee does not use the abortion attachment on the knife, how did the company fund an abortion?

But Pyrtolin nails the point: its not the company's money. Its the employee's, because it is part of his compensation.

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Seneca
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Health plans are not the same as money, because an individual could not get the same deal as a business when shopping for coverage.

The health plan as a form of compensation is unique and different from just cash.

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Wayward Son
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But its still compensation. Its what the employee earned, not what is given by the company. And the employee can use it the way he wants.

Is not the company denying the use of the health insurance benefits by denying the employee those benefits? Shouldn't that be the employee's choice? Didn't he earn that compensation?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
And if the employee does not use the abortion attachment on the knife

Then your argument that it's "just compensation" goes right to hell. And the employer's plan literature has bee hijacked to expand the moral acceptability of abortion. Since everyone is walking around with an abortion ap on their employer insurance cell phone.

[ March 26, 2014, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Then the employer's plan literature has bee hijacked to expand the moral acceptability of abortion. Since everyone is walking around with an abortion ap on their employer insurance cell phone.

The literature is the insurance company's, not the employer's.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Then the employer's plan literature has bee hijacked to expand the moral acceptability of abortion. Since everyone is walking around with an abortion ap on their employer insurance cell phone.

The literature is the insurance company's, not the employers.
The employee's become the distributor for pro abortion propaganda.
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msquared
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But the insurance company has been forced by the US Government to add the feature. Hobby Lobby is not allowed to pick a coverage that does not have the contraceptive option.

msquared

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Pete at Home
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Look, if it was female genital mutilations being put on the "health insurance" menu, would you be buying this money equivalent compensation argumenf?
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Pete at Home
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We saw the same.leap from pro choice to outright pro abortion evangelism with the attack non the "choose life" license plates. The end goal here is abortion appearing on every household menu. It's not just about access; it:s about moral brainwashing. You might as well pass a law requiring every household tableset to place a coat hanger between the spoon and the butter knife.

[ March 26, 2014, 02:31 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Wayward Son
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
And if the employee does not use the abortion attachment on the knife
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Then your argument that it's "just compensation" goes right to hell.

You are going to have to explain this more fully, Pete, because I can't connect the dots myself.
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Pete at Home
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If the employer doesn't want to offer it, and the employee doesn't want to receive it, then you can't reasonably say that it:s part of the " compensation.".
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Wayward Son
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quote:
It's not just about access; it's about moral brainwashing.
Please remember that the FDA has already determined that the IUD and morning-after pill are not "abortion." It is only Hobby Lobby, et al, that believe that. According to the government agency tasked with defining these medical device and medicine, they are wrong.

So its kinda hard to accuse the government of "brainwashing" when they have already made an official determination it ain't what they say it is. Or should the government determine that it has and hasn't determined what it determined? [Smile]

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