This morning the eight-member United States Supreme Court heard the contraceptive mandate cases that were consolidated under the name Zubik v. Burwell (Docket Number 15-191). (See transcript.) They key issue in all the cases was religious employers who rejected the method of receiving the “religious employer exemption” to the Affordable Care Act (2010) which required group health plans and insurance issues to offer plans that provided “approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”
If Congress, which passed both RFRA and Obamacare, believes RFRA’s application goes too far, Congress could decide to repeal all or part of RFRA.
Introduced on February 12, 2015, H.R. 940 would add a conscience clause to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which would prohibit states that receive federal funding from discriminating against those who decline to participate in abortion or abortion coverage.
It’s not enough that only 35% of the people think favorably about The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). (Statistic from the 9/11/14 Investor’s Business Daily, citing a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.) Or that premiums will be going up significantly higher for those still paying for their own insurance. (Mine has already gone up $400. per month.) Once the government stops subsidizing the insurance industry (which, of course, will not happen before the midterm elections) those paying for their own insurance are likely to see a further price increase. In the meantime, many insurers are limiting the size of their networks for covered hospitals and doctors in order to keep their costs down.
Most business owners set up corporations as legal alter-egos to avoid being held personally responsible if their businesses get sued, but in this case, the employers (in Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood, and Mardel) are saying that their corporations can still manifest the owners’ religious beliefs even if it comes at the potential expense of their employees. The Supreme Court agrees.
By Stephen N. Allred – Ultimately, 2013 was a rough year for Christians in many parts of the world who were harassed, raped, murdered and persecuted on account of their faith. In comparison, American Christians, though they faced some challenges, fared rather well.
By Robert J. Ray – Realistically, can a government allow every employer to customize the rules without descending into administrative chaos? Justice Antonin Scalia argued in Oregon v. Smith that one’s religious beliefs don’t negate the need to comply with valid laws.
On the other hand, freedom of religion is a crucial principle that must be defended. But how far?