Lawmakers To Try Undoing SCOTUS Hobby Lobby Ruling

In response to the recent Supreme Court decision that gave Hobby Lobby and other closely held private companies the ability to get around the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate by claiming a religious objection, a group of lawmakers are set to introduce legislation that would override that decision.

The Supreme Court held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which states that “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability,” extended to the owners of closely held corporations.

Thus, companies like Hobby Lobby, which is owned by a single family, could use the RFRA to exempt the company from having to provide employees health insurance that included coverage for birth control and other female contraceptive options.

According to Politico, Sens. Patty Murray (WA) and Mark Udall (CO) are set to introduce a bill that would prohibit companies from discriminating against female employees with regard to federally mandated health insurance. It would further clarify that no law, including the RFRA, allows an employer to refuse to comply with the health care law’s preventive services requirement.

Additionally, Reps. Louise Slaughter (NY), Diana DeGette (CO) and Jerry Nadler (NY) will introduce an identical bill in Congress.

Churches and religious non-profits would still enjoy the contraceptive exemption already afforded them by the health care law.

In addition to the issue of contraception, the legislation would also prohibit the possible use of religious beliefs to deny coverage for preventive services like vaccines.

Any bill on this subject faces faces an uphill battle, with response to the Hobby Lobby ruling divided on party lines.

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  1. furiousd says:

    If there wasn’t this inexplicable obsession with forcing companies to provide health insurance, none of these problems would be an issue. I’m curious as to where this concept came from in the first place.

    • ResNullum says:

      It started ~60 years ago when employers offered health benefits to get around wage and price controls implemented during World War II. Since individuals don’t have the bargaining power large companies do, they end up paying exorbitant amounts for equivalent coverage. As a result, people relied on their employers, and the pre-ACA system became dominant. The system needs to be restructured, but the ACA wouldn’t have passed with such a grand vision. As a result, we got laws that worked with the existing system instead of wiping it away.

      • ReverendTed57 says:

        I don’t think it’s just that corporations have bargaining power. They’re a better risk for insurance companies.
        Many healthy individuals don’t get coverage, so an individual seeking health coverage is more likely to have a health problem, and therefore more likely to cost the insurance company more than the premiums. Premiums for individual plans must therefore be higher for equivalent coverage, barriers to entry are set higher (pre-existing condition clauses), and coverages are typically limited.
        A large group, by contrast, includes everyone healthy or otherwise, so premiums are more likely to exceed payouts.

    • DyinMyelin says:

      I *hate* it. I drag myself to work every day and wind up with other people doing my job just to keep my healthcare so I can get the $100,000 medication that I take.

  2. Liberal says:

    this is about an employer pushing their beliefs on its employees. so at hiring they should say we expect you to work hard and think this way and then theres the high court again being pro business boneheads.