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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