Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hobby Lobby Case About Birth Control Coverage

2. Category: Health Insurance Coverage
3. Level: National
4. This article discusses the issue of what health insurance should cover under religious based companies.
5. How are individuals/ families affected?
-The employees at Hobby Lobby will be affected by this. If the trial rules in the Green's favor they will no longer allow insurance to cover the morning after pill through their company. Some other types of birth control may be requested to be disabled under the employees health insurance.
6. My Views:
-In this case I would definitely say that the Green Family has the right to determine whether or not they want to supply the morning after pill through company benefits under health insurance. The article says that the company wants to do away with allowing certain kinds of birth control like the morning after pill because they believe that life begins at conception. I agree with this thought because some forms of birth control are for prevention but others can be last minute emergency pills and that should not have to be paid for by the company you work for. This is a totally religious freedom based opinion. I think that the company owners should be able to choose if they want to support that or not. Hobby Lobby, like many others religious companies, is based on their religion. If places like Hooters can justify having all an female wait-staff because of their company brand, then under this health insurance plan, Hobby Lobby should be able to determine what they want to supply for their employees. In saying this, if the employees have an issue with this then they do not need to work for the company.    

1 comment:

  1. Personally I do believe that all types of contraception should be readily available to anyone, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. However, I also strongly believe in religious freedom.

    While I’m not Christian and I’m very pro-contraception, I am able to see how the Green family would feel their beliefs are being violated when their business is forced by the government to offer emergency contraception as a healthcare benefit. Hobby Lobby is a privately owned business and so the revenue of that business belongs to the Green family. In a sense, they are forced to spend their own money on contraception which directly violates their own religious beliefs. Any law forcing an individual (as opposed to a business) to allocate personal funds to something which violates their religious/personal beliefs would probably not pass anywhere in the US, right?

    On the other hand, payroll taxes already contribute to government funded women’s health clinics which offer both contraception and abortion. So in a sense, many Christians are already paying out personally earned funds to institutions which violate their religious beliefs. At face value it seems wrong to make people pay for something they don’t believe in. But if Hobby Lobby doesn't have to fund government mandates based on religious beliefs, is it equally okay for certain Christians to stop paying taxes that contribute to women’s health clinics? It’s a really interesting question.

    Additionally, if religious belief is grounds for exemption of certain government mandates, doesn't that mean that we’d need to extend this same right to all people of all religions? For example, Christian Scientists don’t believe in healthcare at all – they feel that medical intervention interferes with God’s plan. If Hobby Lobby can rightfully refuse to offer contraception, should a business owned by Christian Scientists be exempt from offering healthcare at all? If there is a point at which exemptions become unreasonable, and who decides that point? Will the Affordable Care Act have to be challenged on a case-by-case basis – and if it’s causing such controversy, should that element of the act be scrapped altogether? To do so would be an enforcement of individual beliefs, but the current clause violates individual beliefs.

    And I also agree with you that an individual has the choice to work with a religiously affiliated company, and therefore it can be argued that because I have the right not to work at Hobby Lobby, Hobby Lobby also has the right not to offer me healthcare benefits that violate their particular beliefs. This argument makes logical sense to me, but I also wonder what the real-world implications of this are.

    Our job economy is currently pretty grim in the US to begin with, and wage jobs (such as the ones which predominantly comprise Hobby Lobby’s labor force) are most commonly occupied by individuals with lower education levels (thus these individuals have an even smaller job pool than an educated American). It’s not so easy to say, “Well if you don’t like it then don’t work here”, when a substantial portion of your available workforce is desperate for work.

    Further, unplanned pregnancies occur disproportionately more frequently among individuals with lower education levels. Considering that a large portion of the Hobby Lobby workforce is comprised of individuals with lower education levels, barring contraception from health benefits could be particularly uncouth.

    But is it the Green family’s responsibility to protect Americans from ever-increasing unplanned pregnancy rates and high unemployment rates? I'm honestly not sure.

    In any case, I'm really glad you posted this because I think it's a very complex issue, and I actually don’t know how I feel about it!