Comments about ‘13 times religious freedom has reached the Supreme Court’

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Published: Thursday, June 26 2014 8:51 p.m. MDT

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Ranch
Here, UT

"...Supreme Court this month as it ends its current session, which will redefine religious freedom in the workplace."

Basically, if this is decided in favor of HL employees will have the freedom to adhere to their employer's religious beliefs.

IMO, Hobby Lobby doesn't practice religion as it is a non-living entity. David Green, the owner of HL is free to not use contraceptives if he doesn't want to. He is not free to force his employees to follow his religious beliefs; offering contraceptives as part of a health care package doesn't violate David's beliefs as he still isn't required to use them.

RedWings
CLEARFIELD, UT

No one at Hobby Lobby is denied any contraceptive. What is at issue is that the employer does not want to pay for certain contraceptive methods for religious reasons. Other forms are allowed in HL's plans.

It is one thing to demand the right to contraceptives you pay for. In this case, employees demand the right to contraceptives and then expect their employer to pay for it.

If an employee wants a certain type of contraceptive, then pay for it youself. This case is more about entitlements than religious freedom...

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

@RedWings;

Employees pay premiums, so in effect, they are "paying themselves".

It is highly unlikely that Hobby Lobby provides the insurance, free of charge to their employees. As such, HL needs to provide the health plans suiting the employees, not the owners. HL may pick up a portion of the cost, that doesn't give them the right to force the religious beliefs of the owners down the employees throat.

RedWings
CLEARFIELD, UT

Hey Ranch -

Typically, employers pay 75% - 80% of the premium cost. Also, most are self-insured, which means that the employer is actually paying the balance of each claim or prescription after co-pay. For example, I fill a prescription that costs $150. I pay my co-pay of $25. My employer actually picks up the other $125. Once employers meet a cap, the insurance company actually starts paying. (FYI - I am in HR so I deal with these plans all the time).

IMO, HL employees can get whatever contraceptive they want. They just can't make HL pay for the bulk of it. They have access to some types on the plans. For that reason, I think SCOTUS will side with Hobby Lobby....

Furry1993
Ogden, UT

@RedWings 3:08 p.m. June 27, 2014

I work for a small law firm (under 50 employees). That's not how it works for us. While premium costs may rise if there is an over-large use of insurance benefit the company doesn't pick up any of the actual medical costs covered by the insurance.

In any event the cost of contraception is far less than the cost of funding the gestation and neonatal costs for the fetus associated with a pregnancy, an the medical costs of a child once birth occurs and a child comes into being. An argument based on financial rounds doesn't hold water. (and the things about which the Green family complains don't terminate a pregnancy -- they just keep a pregnancy from starting).

Contraception is basic preventative heath care. Hopefully the Supreme Court will reject HL's argument for the specious argument that it is.

Maudine
SLC, UT

@ RedWings: Several years ago I applied for a job and was told that if I was offered the job I could choose to have insurance and be paid x minus my contribution to the insurance or I could choose to forego insurance and be paid y. Not only was y a higher amount initially, but it would not be further reduced by my contribution to insurance. The company was willing to pay me to not have insurance.

Insurance is not offered out of the goodness of the employer's heart - it is offered as part of the compensation package to attract better workers who will stay longer thereby saving the company money in the long run by having a healthier, more stable workforce. As an HR person you are surely aware of the high costs associated with sick employees and training new employees.

Just as employees earn their wages and their vacation pay, so too do they earn their insurance. And the employer should not be allowed to use his religion to dictate how those things are used.

The best solution is single payer insurance. If HL wins, it will push us further in that direction.

Pitchfire
Petersburg, AK

Personally I like "Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892)" Which I find more relevant and over-arching in this modern climate of evolving standards of truth and morality.

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

The insurance company pays for contraceptives. The employer only pays for a portion of the insurance premium. Insurance companies bought into the covered-contraceptives provision because they have the benefit of logical thought, math, and insurance records, and you know why? Because it's cheaper for them to provide contraceptive coverage, even without a copay, for those women who want it than to pay for obstetrics coverage for women with unplanned pregnancies who decide to go ahead and carry them to term.

In other words, Hobby Lobby is not "paying" for contraceptive coverage. They're actually paying lower premiums for insurance coverage that includes contraceptives because their insurance company won't have to spend as much on prenatal care, childbirth and hospitalization. If you've checked lately you'll see the cost of having a kid is a big ticket item.

What Hobby Lobby is doing is trying to tell the insurance companies not to save them (or their employees) premium money because of their personal religious doctrine. It has nothing to do with money, since they'd actually spend less for the coverage than without it.

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