Comments about ‘What Hobby Lobby's case could have in store for religious freedom and ACA’

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Published: Sunday, March 23 2014 10:30 a.m. MDT

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Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

This could all be resolved if employee benefits weren't the main source of health care in this country. Allow the creation of a single payer system, let people opt in and watch the stampede. I get a kick out of my older relatives who rail against "government" health care, but ran as fast as they could to get their Medicare.

Here's the thing. Pay continues to decline and the cost of medical care skyrockets disproportionately. We are in danger of being enslaved by health care. Many are there already.

Insurance should have been the answer, but there is no true shared risk any more. It's just another business that works to maximize profit. Once again, we could solve these problems if America would come together. If all the hot air that is expressed in venom could be redirected towards answers, what a powerful nation we could become.

America, stop worshiping the golden calf and start seeing the value in our brothers and sisters.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

No matter what side you favor, I just don’t see how the SC rules in favor of Hobby Lobby without overturning decades of precedent including Scalia’s majority opinion in Employment Division v Smith.

But assuming the five conservatives on the Court desperately want to side with Hobby Lobby, it will be entertaining to watch the twisted logic and mental gymnastics they employ to do so.

American Fork, UT

Mom's got it right...the burden of this choice shouldn't even exist for employers. Nor should the right. Health care is for people, not employers.

Salt Lake City, UT

Article: "Starr agreed that, for example, the law protects a kosher butcher serving observant Jews or a halal meat market catering to Muslims, from being mandated to sell pork products, which are prohibited in both religions."

A more apropos example would be the kosher/halal butcher being required to pay into a meat industry cooperative marketing pool (along with all other butchers), some small portion of which might be used to promote pork consumption. The butcher is not required to sell or consume pork himself, nor advertise pork himself. Nor would the ad pool necessarily ever produce an ad promoting pork. But there is a possibility the kosher/halal butcher might indirectly through the pooled, commingled payments of all butchers, support the promotion of pork. No one is forcing Hobby Lobby or its employees to use contraceptives, only to pay into pooled insurance that an employee might use for contraception.

If such indirect financial connection to an activity perceived as against one's religion is granted legal protection by the court, I can't wait to see the Quakers and other pacifists of faith lining up to withhold the portion of their federal income taxes that supports the military.

Saint George, UT

How about the right of an individual to choose his/her health care on an open market, as compared to a single payer system? All of you that trump choice surely can understand why others want "choice" in health care, or do you? Does "choice" only exist under the arm of the all powerful Government? Where is the liberty in that? I'm all ears?

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

I think we should have a single payer system. But so far no one has volunteered. The closest it has come is that the government should borrow a lot of money to be paid in the future by some single payer or group of single payers who have yet to be determined or even born for that matter.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

bandersen said:
"How about the right of an individual to choose his/her health care on an open market"

Pretty much what we had before, wasn't it?
How was that working? My premiums we're going up 10% to 20% a year.
Crossing state lines would do nothing except create a bigger monopoly.
Tort reform, except for those worth more (on paper at the bank) they could sue for more, always found it's way into republican tort bills.

Single payer system would be best.

t-ville, UT

@ bandersen

You're making the assumption that you value the free market more than those in favor of the single payer system. We, as a society, have designated certain products as necessary utilities, enabling high regulation and often monopolistic features to accommodate low requirements for access. Examples include electricity, natural gas, and telephone services. When there exists a product as universal as heating or lighting one's home, the best option is to compile resources and allocate fairly absent the primary focus of profitability. If you are pushing to open up all utility services to competition and the free market, that's a different conversation altogether. If not, then simply think of single-payer advocates as pushing to include access to health resources as a common good with little to no restrictions like income level, existing health condition, and age.

American Fork, UT

Bandersen: Yes, choice can exist and certainly does exist under the so called all powerful government. I know because I personally benefit from such a scheme. You can choose whether or not you want to go to the doctor, to which doctor you wish to go, what treatment to seek, and whether to ignore the process entirely. Choices you might lose are ones you probably should not have to begin with, such as the choice of whether or not you should seek treatment based on whether you can afford it, whether or not to participate in the health care system when you're young and invincible even though you may well need it then and certainly should support it throughout your life because you WILL need it at some time, and whether or not to be an uninsured burden in the emergency room because you thought you would never need insurance. We should be allowed the choice of opting out of the scheme entirely if and only if people stop getting sick and dying.

Saint George, UT

Happy Valley Heretic: Not even close! I hold Republican efforts in equal disdain as Democratic efforts. Unfortunately, as long as people look to "Republican" or "Democratic" answers, the charade, subterfuge, and spiraling costs will continue! Fortunately, there are a few that can't be fooled by the charade and want to return Health Care and every other individual choice back to where it has always belonged, with the individual. The only reason why Democratic and Republican followers don't even understand the alternative is they are stuck in the mindset created by their Democratic and Republican Wizards behind the curtains. How does one change something when there isn't a choice? Irony is the difference between reality and the appearance of reality. Democrat and Republican followers see no irony, which becomes dramatic irony for those watching the show!

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

The problem with "single-payer" (government)healthcare is that it would disincentivise the healthcare delivery system.

How would Dr.'s be paid? On a "per visit" basis? If so, what would stop a Dr. from seeing 50 patients per hr, with (obviously)very little time spent with each patient, yet being paid for ALL of them?

Conversely, what would stop the government from putting a myriad of "extra" Dr.'s in hospitals based on the residents' political leanings?

How much MORE of our paycheck are we willing to give up (for those of us still working)to provide for not only our own, but everyone who couldn't afford healthcare? 25%, 35%, 50%?

The whole issue of medical ethics comes into question also. Do we REALLY want to leave it to the government panelists to determine who gets treatment, and the extent of that treatment? The same for medications. The same for medicines that are prohibitively expensive. Would the pharmaceutical industry STILL produce medicines that nobody can afford, or would the government just decide to pay for "any and all"?

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@bandersen – “Fortunately, there are a few that can't be fooled by the charade and want to return Health Care and every other individual choice back to where it has always belonged, with the individual.”

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the market for healthcare is similar to the market for toasters, and will respond to all the market forces affected by individual choice. [By the way, it’s not the same and won’t respond the way you think, but I’ll ignore that for now.]

If the laissez faire, free market approach is the best option available for creating the world’s best healthcare system, surely we can find one country in the developed world that has this model.

If you can show us this model in the real world – since we should all value evidence over ideology – I will be happy to consider your view.

If I’m wrong in believing healthcare is unique and will not respond to market forces to produce the outcomes we desire (low cost, high quality, high access), then I don’t want to be wrong any longer than necessary.

bronx, NY

First of all, this claim of paying for something that actually reduces premiums is absurd; contraception is part of an aggregate which reduces risk in providing insurance.

Second, ACA, should have been written in such a way that simply stated all health insurance companies must provide this coverage; leaving a no-choice to anyone providing health insurance. Mandating the coverage to be "universally provided" instead of "universally obtained" opened the door for this argument.

End this abuse of process and rewrite the language of the law...

Salt Lake City, UT

I confess that to me, there are few good options. Medical costs seem to be driven by the desire to get as much money as the traffic will bear: "your money or your life". Medical procedures do not come with a warranty; the only recourse to preventable mistakes is costly litigation. Medical/health insurance contributes nothing to medical care, only to the payment of medical care; it adds to the total cost, because wages for insurance personnel have to be paid (the upper echelons are highly paid), facilities and other operating costs incurred.If stock is involved, investors expect, and rightly so, a return on their investment. Any solution will have to address these areas. Compromises will have to be made, somewhere. Will anyone be willing to make changes?

Salt Lake City, UT

To: Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

Thank you for your true and wise comment!

You are totally correct, when you say "We are in danger of being enslaved by health care".

We need to wake up and recognize that the American Healthcare System (including insurance companies) are only about making profits now. We love our Doctors and Hospitals, but it is time for us to help them understand that they can't continue to break the financial back of families and communities with the current system they provide. A single payer system would be a major step in the right direction.

Back Talk
Federal Way, WA

It just shows how a little negotiation in Congress could make much of this go away. Stop forcing Religious institutions and privately held companies to provide those controversial birth control drugs and this particular problem goes away. People still get their birth control provided by the government elsewhere or they buy it themselves at a pretty moderate cost.

I would have also liked to see the law reffered to in this article apply to businesses being allowed to "not Participate" in gay marriages if they have a sincere religious object to doing so. Not many cases actually come up for this but it would be a good support of religious liberty.

Virginia Beach, VA

Fitness Freak - You think a single-payer would "disincentivise the healthcare delivery system?"

Well yes and no.

It would incentivise providers to deliver quality care that meets minimum criteria.

And that's a good thing.

But it would disincentivise health-care providers from over-charging patients and providing shoddy health care.

That's a good thing too.

One of a Few
Layton, UT

Roberts, Kennedy and maybe even Scalia, will find it difficult to give corporate employers a religious exemption. Since I was surprised Roberts saved ACA, I don't see how Hobby Lobby wins this one but stranger things have happened.

Clearfield, UT

"But the ACA mandates four other forms, including the "morning after pill," that the Greens contend abort the fetus, which conflicts with their religious beliefs."

Except that the morning after pill doesn't abort anything. It prevents the ovary from releasing an egg. If fertilization has already occurred this pill won't change that. The extreme right loves to wave its ignorance of science around like a banner. They understand little of it and run with false assumptions. It gets old.

Saint George, UT

Single Payer advocates: You are all looking for a home run, instead of hitting singles! You want Babe Ruth to come to the bat instead of stepping up to the plate yourself! Those trees are so big you can't see the forest. What happens when 300 million people get involved in their health care decisions? 350 million people making their own decisions puts them in charge instead the of the doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. Choice empowers people and puts them in charge of their financial decisions, not a doctor or hospital. Check out Keith Smith in Oklahoma for someone that runs his clinic without government intrusion and has reduced the costs dramatically. Just ask yourself one question: Do you know what the cost was of the last operation, procedure, etc. that you had a doctor perform? Of course you don't because you treat Health Care like a fitness club. Get involved and get government out of the way! Multiply the 350 million people making decisions about their healthcare and those billions of little decisions would make our system the best in the world at the lowest cost.

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