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Author Topic: Hobby Lobby SCOTUS Contraceptive Case
scifibum
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Actually Grant, I think there's a common theme between that section of the dissent and Takei's distillation of the issue.

quote:
The Court's "special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations," Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 565 U.S. ___, ___ (2012) (slip op., at 14), however, is just that. No such solicitude is traditional for commercial organizations. 15 Indeed, until today, religious exemptions had never been extended to any entity operating in "the commercial, profit-making world." Amos, 483 U.S., at 337 . 16
quote:
Hobby Lobby is not a church.
It's a bit hard to get the public rallied over verbatims from a court opinion, but I think the outrage that Takei is trying to rally is centered on the same absurdity that Ginsberg pointed out: acting like a for-profit business has religious beliefs and is entitled to exercise them.

Pete, has either of the left-leaning justices who declined to join that part of Ginsberg's dissent provided any comment as to why?

(I have a sinking feeling that the ultimate reason they didn't is the free exercise of political spending, though I'm not thinking of any direct form of payola here. I just think the game is done rigged already.)

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Pete at Home
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Don't know if they specifically articulated why they rejected that part of her dissent, but I think it's obvious. If a for profit business has the same free speech rights as a human citizen, then religious rights, also 1st amendment and tied to point of view, should also adhere.

Wonder what Justice Stephens would have done ... would his love of corporations have prevailed over his hatred of religion, or vice versa?

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Pete at Home
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BTW, scifi, the western corporate form was actually first invented for the purpose of recognizing religious bodies, Roman polytheistic cults, IIRC.
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scifibum
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I'm on board for a constitutional amendment proscribing legal personhood for corporations. Ironically we're going to need some corporations to spend a lot of money on the campaign.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

Why so few dissenters as to the persons issue? Lefties on the court have for decades expanded commercial freedom of speech, and those old timers don't change their key principles based on fads, unlike most other American lefties. This is why Sotomayor and Ginsberg are the only ones to sign onto III-C-1


Well, Pete. The first thing you are doing wrong is actually reading the opinion and dissent. You're not supposed to do that. You're supposed to be reading George Takei.

Sulu will be leading a boycott of Hobby Lobby.
Phasers on justice!

quote:
In this case, the owners happen to be deeply Christian; one wonders whether the case would have come out differently if a Muslim-run chain business attempted to impose Sharia law on its employees.
Good heavens, what a loser. Refusing to pay for employees' IUDs (while paying for other birth control) is tantamount to "imposing sharia law on its employees"? And this ****er touts himself as an advocate for women's rights?

And isn't it a little patronizing to scream about the rights of Hobby Lobby employees when not one of said employees has come forward to object?

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Pete at Home
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I'm not certain that there's any law proventing a church from operating as a for-profit business with stockholders and everything. Religiously I'd find such an entity an abomination, but legally, I don't see any objection.
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AI Wessex
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"And isn't it a little patronizing to scream about the rights of Hobby Lobby employees when not one of said employees has come forward to object?"

You think that because they might not complain about infringement on their rights we shouldn't be concerned about our own?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
not one of said employees has come forward to object
It seems to me that if you're desperate enough for work to get a job at Hobby Lobby, you're too desperate to publicly complain about whether they pay for your contraceptives.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:

And isn't it a little patronizing to scream about the rights of Hobby Lobby employees when not one of said employees has come forward to object?

They're being suppressed. Like women under sharia law.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
not one of said employees has come forward to object
It seems to me that if you're desperate enough for work to get a job at Hobby Lobby
Hobby Lobby pays $14/hour at the lowest for its full time employees. That's considerably better than what I've been paid recently in this economy.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
"And isn't it a little patronizing to scream about the rights of Hobby Lobby employees when not one of said employees has come forward to object?"

You think that because they might not complain about infringement on their rights we shouldn't be concerned about our own?

By all means fight for your own rights, but Takei's being patronizing. I question his authority to speak on behalf of female hobby lobby employees.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Hobby Lobby pays $14/hour at the lowest for its full time employees. That's considerably better than what I've been paid recently in this economy.

That's not a whole lot of money when you are a single mom with 10 kids because you couldn't get birth control.
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Pete at Home
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It's an example of the big lefty lie to speak of this incident as "imposing" hobby lobby's beliefs on its employees. Hobby Lobby isn't checking its employees for IUDs. It simply declining to pay for them. While paying for other forms of birth control.

If Takei has to lie about the facts in order to make a case, then one might surmise that he doesn't have a real world case.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Hobby Lobby pays $14/hour at the lowest for its full time employees. That's considerably better than what I've been paid recently in this economy.

That's not a whole lot of money when you are a single mom with 10 kids because you couldn't get birth control.
If you're a single mom with ten kids and you're using an IUD, you're probably going to contract something nasty. Better to use rubbers.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
And isn't it a little patronizing to scream about the rights of Hobby Lobby employees when not one of said employees has come forward to object?
If your budget is too tight to cover basic health care out of pocket, risking getting fired to make a political point seems like a wonderful idea.

The real problem here isn't the Hobby Lobby ruling in ad of itself, since it was made based on the justification that HHS could use the same religious exemption waivers that it lets religious institutions fill out, so that direct, no cost contraceptive coverage can be offered directly to the employees who need it without any direct involvement from the employer.

The problem is that the Court immediately turned around and kicked the foundation out from under the basis for that ruling by issuing another ruling that said that companies could legitimately voice a religious exemption to filling out the exemption form itself and still not offer contraceptive coverage.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
It's an example of the big lefty lie to speak of this incident as "imposing" hobby lobby's beliefs on its employees. Hobby Lobby isn't checking its employees for IUDs. It simply declining to pay for them. While paying for other forms of birth control.

And in your accusation of lying, you recite the lie that Hobby Lobby pays for any contraceptives at all. The insurance company pays for the contraceptives in fulfilling a plan that its directly owned by the employee, not by HL- HL is not involved in that transaction at all. HL is twice over removed from any liability for how the employee chooses to use their coverage.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Hobby Lobby pays $14/hour at the lowest for its full time employees
Which constitute a distinct minority of its workforce.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The insurance company pays for the contraceptives in fulfilling a plan that its directly owned by the employee, not by HL- HL is not involved in that transaction at all. HL is twice over removed from any liability for how the employee chooses to use their coverage.

If they were NOT twice removed from liability for how the employee chooses to use their coverage, would the owners of Hobby Lobby THEN have reason not to pay for what they do not want to? If they had to walk directly to the pharmacy and then hand the money directly into the hands of the pharmacist, do you believe they would then have a case?

[ July 08, 2014, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: Grant ]

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Pete at Home
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Paying for = paying for insurance which pays for.
That's honest shorthand. What Takei said was an inflammatory lie.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I'm not certain that there's any law proventing a church from operating as a for-profit business with stockholders and everything. Religiously I'd find such an entity an abomination, but legally, I don't see any objection.
Nothing prevents it, except that there's a heck of a lot of value in being the tax-exempt (and, what's more, but able to allow donors to deduct their gifts)

Arguably, there are a number of churches that are essentially for profit institutions (even if they are single proprietorships) that barely manage to keep themselves covered by the fig leaf of religious trappings. But there are a number of charities and other non-religious non-profits that do the same with huge executive/board compensation packages being used to maintain the pretense.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Paying for = paying for insurance which pays for.
That's honest shorthand.

No, it's a very dishonest shorthand, because it glosses over the fact that levels of removal that exist between paying the employee with an insurance policy and the employee asking the insurance company to pay for a given procedure actively exceed the degree of removal that exists between giving the employee money or a gift card and the employee choosing to use that for something the company owner finds morally objectionable.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Paying for = paying for insurance which pays for.
That's honest shorthand. What Takei said was an inflammatory lie.

A lot of the reaction to the court case has been extremely sloppy in how they describe what happened. Many people seem to think HL won't pay for any BC at all. I was frustrated to see Takei joining the ranks of people exaggerating and distorting the facts. It is counterproductive. It is an instant excuse to dismiss the "other side". It moves the argument away from the important questions.

Personally I have a hard time getting steamed up about it because the whole idea of mandatory employer-provided coverage seems wrongheaded.

[ July 08, 2014, 06:03 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
The insurance company pays for the contraceptives in fulfilling a plan that its directly owned by the employee, not by HL- HL is not involved in that transaction at all. HL is twice over removed from any liability for how the employee chooses to use their coverage.

If they were NOT twice removed from liability for how the employee chooses to use their coverage, would the owners of Hobby Lobby THEN have reason not to pay for what they do not want to? If they had to walk directly to the pharmacy and then hand the money directly into the hands of the pharmacist, do you believe they would then have a case?
And if they didn't have the liability protections inherent to the corporate structure? Sure. That's why, as even noted in the dissent above that unincorporated, sole proprietorships are reasonably eligible to claim a religious exemption. In that case it is a person directly paying for a service, and that person is liable for how they spend the money.

But as soon as it becomes a corporate account- one that actively exists to shield the owner from personal liability for the company's actions, then you've already introduced a level of separation that means they are not personally responsible for what the company spends its money on.

By the time you get to the policy model, though, not only are the owners not responsible for what the company is spending money on, the company is not responsible for what the actual owner of the policy chooses to ask the insurance company to spend its money on, and should have no ability to limit that interaction based on multiply removed moral values, be those values objections to contraception, objections to blood transfusions, objections to vaccines, etc... Imposing those limits is tantamount to dictating the employee's behavoir in their personal lives. The may as well be telling the employee that they can't use their pay or a gift care that they were paid with that they're not allowed to purchase and consume alcohol with it when not at work.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Paying for = paying for insurance which pays for.
That's honest shorthand. What Takei said was an inflammatory lie.

A lot of the reaction to the court case has been extremely sloppy in how they describe what happened. Many people seem to thonk HL won't pay for any BC at all. I was frustrated to see Takei joining the ranks of people exaggerating and distorting the facts. It is counterproductive. It is an instant excuse to dismiss the "other side". It moves the argument away from the important questions.
The Court did not help this perception when they ordered lower courts to re-hear cases relating to all forms of birth control, not just the four that HL misrepresented as abortifacients in its case.
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scifibum
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Yeah, I'm not arguing that coverage for other forms of birth control (and blood transfusions etc) is not vulnerable to similar rulings if challenged on a similar basis. It is probably only a matter of time before some other employer wins an exemption against covering ANY form of birth control, if RFRA isn't modified or we don't pursue some other avenue of universal coverage first.
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DJQuag
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Just want to reiterate what Pyrtolin said.

While fourteen dollars an hour is pretty decent for non-managerial retail staff, it should be noted that part time staff make nowhere near that amount.

And I have little doubt that, like most other companies, Hobby Lobby prefers to hire two part time people instead of one full time person. It saves them from having to pay the extra hourly wage, and it saves them from having to pay for benefits. And the state of the economy certainly lends itself to such a strategy.

IIRC, a very large portion of the new jobs being reported in the job reports are part time jobs. It's kind of a nationwide issue. And while there will be some who claim that it is Obamacare that is the cause of companies dodging paying for benefits, I can tell you that it is responsible for no more then a very small uptick.

I worked in retail for more then ten years, up until last year, and in both companies I worked for I saw the same thing. The only full time employees were managers, both hourly and salary, and employees who had been with the company for a very long time and got grandfathered in. Full time posts were not offered, ever, not internally or externally. This was the same before Obama as it was after he was elected and the ACA was passed.

The bootstrappy among us may claim that this is okay, that anyone who is really interested in being self sufficient can simply get two or three part time jobs. And, yes, that's true. A lot of people do just that. It ignores the lack of benefits that they get, however, and the stresses inherent in working in more then one job. Transportation from one job to another in a timely manner (can't be late for work, after all...not too many times, at least), the real possibility of working seven days a week, and the difficulty of juggling your scheduling and availability between two or more jobs.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Paying for = paying for insurance which pays for.
That's honest shorthand.

No, it's a very dishonest shorthand, because it glosses over the fact that levels of removal that exist between paying the employee with an insurance policy and the employee asking the insurance company to pay for a given procedure actively exceed the degree of removal that exists between giving the employee money or a gift card and the employee choosing to use that for something the company owner finds morally objectionable.
Your use of the word "dishonest" is pathetic, strained, and inaccurate. Unless you are secretly George Takei, i have not impugned your honesty, but that last play of yours is disappointing.

Also, you say LEVELS of removal.whereas there are only one.

[ July 08, 2014, 07:07 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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DJQuag
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Yeah, I'm not arguing that coverage for other forms of birth control (and blood transfusions etc) is not vulnerable to similar rulings if challenged on a similar basis. It is probably only a matter of time before some other employer wins an exemption against covering ANY form of birth control, if RFRA isn't modified or we don't pursue some other avenue of universal coverage first.

I haven't done the research to confirm this myself, but I've read on another board that there are twenty or so Catholic companies that had suits put on hold pending this decision. They wanted to deny their employees any kind of contraceptive coverage.

It sounds truthy, but it also sounds like something that somebody could have made up just to get people riled.

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Pete at Home
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DJQ, I absolutely agree with you on the plight of part timers. I'm living that nightmare.

quote:
And I have little doubt that, like most other companies, Hobby Lobby prefers to hire two part time people instead of one full time person. It saves them from having to pay the extra hourly wage, and it saves them from having to pay for benefits. And the state of the economy certainly lends itself to such a strategy.
It's not just the state of the economy, but the government policies affecting full time employment. I submit that obamacare will increase the proportion of part time to full time jobs. Remember, part timer employees don't get coverage!

quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:
Just want to reiterate what Pyrtolin said.

While fourteen dollars an hour is pretty decent for non-managerial retail staff, it should be noted that part time staff make nowhere near that amount.

And I have little doubt that, like most other companies, Hobby Lobby prefers to hire two part time people instead of one full time person. It sav And while there are companies dodging paying for benefits, I can tell you
I worked in retail for more then ten years, up until lny for a ver simply get two or three part time jobs. And, yes, that's true. A lot of people do just that.

Also, to get back on track, giving full time employees the most expensive gourmet birth control on the market does exactly crap for part time employees. If anything it reduces the chance of pts ever getting ft work.

[ July 08, 2014, 07:10 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by DJQuag:
Just want to reiterate what Pyrtolin said.

While fourteen dollars an hour is pretty decent for non-managerial retail staff, it should be noted that part time staff make nowhere near that amount.

Yet it supports the argument that full time employees of Hobby Lobby, to whom the ACA pertains to, don't financially require contraceptive coverage. The people who MAY need contraceptive coverage are not even required to be covered by their employers and thus the ACA does not pertain to the.

The argument that some full time employees cannot afford birth control and thus should be covered, has never been a strong argument. The primary argument has always been that the employer cannot deny an employee coverage of something they want and is required by law.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Paying for = paying for insurance which pays for.
That's honest shorthand. What Takei said was an inflammatory lie.

A lot of the reaction to the court case has been extremely sloppy in how they describe what happened. Many people seem to think HL won't pay for any BC at all. I was frustrated to see Takei joining the ranks of people exaggerating and distorting the facts. It is counterproductive. It is an instant excuse to dismiss the "other side". It moves the argument away from the important questions.

Personally I have a hard time getting steamed up about it because the whole idea of mandatory employer-provided coverage seems wrongheaded.

I strongly agree. I'm all for socialized primary care, and think Obamacare simply amps up the fascistic aspects of a health care system that was already leaning towards fascism.

I happen to think that religious objections to IUDs are based on shoddy understanding of science, and would have been pleased if SCOTUS had ruled against Hobby Lobby on that basis and only that basis.

OTOH, I think it's extremely bad policy to subsidize IUDs, as opposed to other less expensive forms of birth control. IUDs are gourmet. This rule is like saying that a company isn't allowed to offer dental insurance unless they pay for laughing gas. Laughing gas is awesome, but it's gourmet. Lots of good dentists don't even offer it.

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scifibum
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quote:
OTOH, I think it's extremely bad policy to subsidize IUDs, as opposed to other less expensive forms of birth control. IUDs are gourmet. This rule is like saying that a company isn't allowed to offer dental insurance unless they pay for laughing gas. Laughing gas is awesome, but it's gourmet. Lots of good dentists don't even offer it.
I don't know - assuming we are trying to account for downstream effects and costs, improving from 85% or 90% effectiveness of pills or condoms (in real world usage) to something like 99%+ for IUDs, it could be a lot cheaper in the long run to prevent those additional pregnancies than to save some money up front on the IUD.

Not that I have done the math on this, but there *is* a substantial difference in effectiveness and an unwanted pregnancy costs more than an IUD.

(Edited to clarify last sentence.)

[ July 08, 2014, 07:18 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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MattP
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In the long run, even not considering the cost of pregnancy, IUDs are substantially less expensive (and more effective) than other birth control. It's only "gourmet" in that poor people can't generally amortize costs like that even though it is (eventually) the more frugal option.

There's also the issue that even IUDs have non-contraceptive uses. I think something like 8% of Mirena IUD users are prescribed them for other purposes, including severe cramping and bleeding. They are typically used for people that do not tolerate well the high hormone levels of oral contraceptives.

[ July 08, 2014, 07:30 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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DJQuag
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Sure, Pete, the ACA may (or may not) have an appreciable impact on the proportion of part time to full time jobs.

I, personally, don't think so. Mostly because healthcare was already a really expensive cost for employers that could be magicked away simply by hiring two people for a job instead of one. That cost was rising year after year, even before the ACA, and you better believe that any employers who possibly could had already begun playing the part time-no benefits game long before the ACA was even a twinkle in Obama and Reid's eyes'. It was just too simple and easy a way to save a lot on costs and reap more profit.

Fun fact - the justices who ruled that HL didn't have to provide these forms of contraception are all male and Catholic.

[ July 08, 2014, 07:35 PM: Message edited by: DJQuag ]

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DJQuag
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/01/companies-birth-control-hobby-lobby_n_5546155.html

http://grist.org/politics/this-organic-food-company-is-refusing-to-pay-for-employees-birth-control/

Ruh oh.

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Mynnion
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I don't remember reading what percent of the insurance cost is covered by HL versus the employee. I know I am paying at least 50% of mine. I hadn't really thought about it but if the employee is contributing a significant amount to the cost I would think HLs position would be weaker.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
Just want to reiterate what Pyrtolin said.
Good post, DJ.
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AI Wessex
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This debate is hopeless because the decision just represents the camel's nose coming into the tent. The important thing, which has already been said, is that companies can now claim religious reasons to deny their workers certain benefits where the workers have no such inclination against those things. It follows pharmacists being allowed to refuse to fill prescriptions or nurses, doctors or hospitals refusing to treat people for certain medical conditions.

The right of an individual to be served is becoming subservient to the manufactured right of people to deny them service. Perhaps Rand Paul is right that the provision of the Civil Rights Law that requires a restaurant to serve any patron regardless of race is an infringement on the right of the restaurant owner.

Time is moving backward to an authoritarian framework where individuals have fewer rights than their overlords.

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PSRT
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quote:
OTOH, I think it's extremely bad policy to subsidize IUDs, as opposed to other less expensive forms of birth control. IUDs are gourmet. This rule is like saying that a company isn't allowed to offer dental insurance unless they pay for laughing gas. Laughing gas is awesome, but it's gourmet. Lots of good dentists don't even offer it.
IUDs are a ****load cheaper than alternative forms of birth control. 500-1000 dollars ONCE instead of 144 months of (cost of pill, cost of nuvaring, cost of condoms, whatever). They are also the most effective way of reducing disabling pain from a period.

All of which is totally besides the point. The ruling is based on the premise that the ACA placed a "substantial burden," on Hobby Lobby, which is a load of utter and complete bullcrap that is so much a load of bullcrap that it takes a lawyer to make that argument and not fall over laughing from the absurdity of it. Lets remember here: the burden on Hobby Lobby was so large they didn't even know their employees had access to these forms of birth control through their insurance program previously. Why? BEcause all hobby lobby had to do was pay part of the cost of a health insurance plan. They were never paying for an IUD before, and they weren't paying for an IUD under the ACA. They were paying for part of the cost of a health insurance plan. Some of the money they paid the insurance company may have, at some point, been used by the insurance company to pay for an IUD to which Hobby Lobby objects. This is the same problem that occurs when I buy a chicken from Whole Foods, and the store manager goes out and buys herbal quackers for his use at home.

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Pete at Home
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"They are also the most effective way of reducing disabling pain from a period."

how so?

"500-1000 dollars ONCE instead of 144 months of (cost of pill, cost of nuvaring, cost of condoms, whatever)."

how many Americans keep a job for 144 months in this economy? And does your 500-1000 cost include cost of removal and installation?

"Lets remember here: the burden on Hobby Lobby was so large they didn't even know their employees had access to these forms of birth control through their insurance program previously."

If that's true, then substantial burden is a solid argument, which I think 4 out of 9 justices recognized. Doesn't change the fact that Ginsberg and Sotomayor screwed the pooch on the religious rights of corporations argument.

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