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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate 903

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the can-we-just-have-communist-care-instead? dept.
theodp writes "First approved for contraceptive use in the U.S. in 1960, 'The Pill' is currently used by more than 100 million women worldwide and by almost 12 million women in the U.S. But just hours before the Affordable Care Act was to go into effect, Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a stay temporarily blocking a mandate requiring health insurance coverage of birth control, and gave the Obama administration until Friday to respond to the Supreme Court on the matter. Sotomayor's order applies to a group of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and other Roman Catholic nonprofit groups that use the same health plan, known as the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust (PDF). The group is one of many challenging the federal requirement for contraceptive coverage, but a decision on the merits of that case by the full Supreme Court could have broader implications. One imagines Melinda Gates is none too pleased. So, will U.S. health care require a Department of Personal Belief Exemptions that are dictated by employers (PDF, 'The Trustees of CBEBT and the management of Christian Brothers Services are dedicated to protecting the employers participating in the CBEBT from having to face the choice of violating their faith or violating the law')?"
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US Justice Blocks Implementation of ACA Contraceptive Mandate

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  • Fuck religion. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:34PM (#45837721)
    They need to quit acting like spoiled brats when they're told to get the fuck in line with an ethical society.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:39PM (#45837753)

    Whatever happened to "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters"?

    If I wanted to read stuff like this, I'd wander over to NBC News. Now please stick to what you're good at, delivering me fresh nerd porn.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:43PM (#45837785)

    They need to quit acting like spoiled brats when they're told to get the fuck in line with an ethical society.

    In an ethical society, citizens should have a right to petition their government for a redress of grievances. If the administration had properly responded, instead of stonewalling, then this stay would not have been necessary.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:43PM (#45837787) Homepage

    Religious people can't simply leave it well enough alone, and just say "Well if you think contraception is wrong, just don't buy it." Instead, they have to dictate to others what they may or may not do. "We can't allow you to get contraception through our health plan!"

    This kind of thinking is wrong and needs to be abolished. Let each person decide what they think is best for themselves. If someone wants to believe a person will "go to hell" if they do something, that's fine. That someone can simply not do it. But don't try to legislate or make it more difficult for others to do what they like to do, provided they're not hurting others.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:44PM (#45837793) Homepage

    Yet you clicked on the link and read the article. You sure seem to be big on reading things you don't want to read. Are you a masochist? :)

  • Dangerous Road (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@nOspaM.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:46PM (#45837815) Homepage

    By that logic you should also exempt organ transplants, blood transfusions and any other medical procedure that any group, religious or otherwise, objects to. In other words, you might as well give the fuck up and stop providing any coverage at all.

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:49PM (#45837841)

    wrong.

    this is about religious organizations with employees with the same religious values. here's a pro-tip, don't work for a religious organization if you don't hold their beliefs. Here we have a ruling for nuns.....let me tell you something, if you're a nun and you need an abortion, the Roman Catholic Church is going to cause you many other problems than just not funding your abortion. you won't be a nun anymore.

  • Re:All or nothing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Jorsett (171560) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:50PM (#45837857)

    You either have healthcare or you don't. No picking and choosing what procedures or medications fit your chosen lifestyle.

    A) This is supposedly about health *insurance*. Insurance is for contingent, unlikely, but potentially costly events. Contraception is none of those, being completely knowable, 100% predictable, and inexpensive.

    B) In the olden days, by which I mean pre-Obamacare, you could indeed "pick and choose" what procedures and medications your policy would cover. It's the central conceit of Obamacare that Big Fed knows best and is going to make sure you get it, pounded down your gullet if necessary.

  • by jbeaupre (752124) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:53PM (#45837893)

    That's what they are arguing: Those that think contraception is wrong shouldn't have to buy it. As employers, they are being told to pay for something they believe is morally wrong. They believe that by being complicit, they risk hell. So they wish to simply not do it. They want to decide what is best for themselves. They don't like that others are dictating to them what they may or may not do.

    Sometimes the rights or responsibilities of two people or two groups conflict and has to be hashed out in court.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:54PM (#45837907)

    if that's the case, then there is no harm in allowing it in the health care plan. after all -- if the only people on the plan are nuns who believe contraception is morally wrong -- then no one will actually BUY contraception, and it will go unused! tada!

  • Re:All or nothing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cmorriss (471077) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:54PM (#45837913)

    Everyone can get access to as much healthcare as they want. This simply is a determination of whether very specific religious organizations are required by law to pay for something they find unethical. Just because something isn't covered by insurance doesn't mean it is denied to them. They must simply pay for it on their own. This isn't something that even costs that much.

  • Re:All or nothing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:55PM (#45837923) Homepage

    Contraception is something that allows you to manage the unexpected.

    > In the olden days, by which I mean pre-Obamacare, you could indeed "pick and choose" what procedures and medications your policy would cover.

    In other words, there are no standards and no concept of consumer protection. Corporations are just free to run roughshod over you. This could be your fundie employer or your crass insurance company that has an obvious conflict of interest.

    You have no clue about Guilded Age you seem to long for so much.

  • Re:All or nothing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:57PM (#45837941) Homepage

    Is this an actual religous organization though or is it just a wholy owned subsidiary of a Church? At what point does such a subsidiary become a secular entity? The mormon church owned Pepsico at one point in time? Would that mean that Pepsico gets a "religious exemption".

    That's absurd of course.

    Being owned by a church doesn't make you a church.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cordus Mortain (3004429) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:00PM (#45837957)
    It's lucky then that churches don't pay taxes, or they'd have to fund the wars the rest of us have to pay for - whether we agree with them or not.
  • Re:Dangerous Road (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:00PM (#45837959)

    Or (and here's a silly idea) implement single-payer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:00PM (#45837963)

    Religious people are not legislating anything, which is exactly the point. They don't want to be forced to buy contraceptives, and, if they choose not to, then what's wrong with that? Instead, the Obama administration is legislating that religious people be forced to buy it, even if they consider it to be wrong.

    If a company chooses not to include contraceptives, then that is their right since they are the ones paying for it. If an individual chooses not to buy a policy with contraceptives, then that is their right. The problem is that contraceptive coverage is *legislated* by the Obama administration. What you claim about letting people decide for themselves is exactly what religious people are trying to preserve.

  • by mrlibertarian (1150979) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:01PM (#45837977)
    The fundamental problem here is that the government has coupled health care and employers together. For some strange reason, the ACA did not fix this problem. We need to decouple health care and employers by eliminating the tax break that employers get. If we do that, then we'll no longer care what health care plan our employer offers, just as we don't care what car insurance plan our employer offers.
  • by Cordus Mortain (3004429) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:07PM (#45838007)
    I want to seem them prove they risk going to hell. Once they can prove that hell exists, then they can prove that paying for contraception (whether they use it or not) risks eternal damnation. Extra ordinary claims require extra ordinary evidence.
  • by BigDaveyL (1548821) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:07PM (#45838009) Homepage
    Technically, you are free to work for any employer or no employer at all. You are also free to buy contraception (or organ transplants on your own). You are free to buy your own insurance as well. The problem is that you disagree with your employer on a benefit that they are paying for. Just like any other employer policy, if you do not like it, you are free to leave (or in this case buy your own). If the religious convictions of your employer bothers you, whether they are right or wrong, technically no one is holding a gun to your head to work there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:09PM (#45838031)

    Please, please, for the love of debate, never again accuse somebody of committing the "straw man fallacy" when in fact they have not.

    You have committed what is now called the Straw Man Fallacy Fallacy. That's when you commit a fallacy by accusing a fellow debater of having engaged in straw man fallacy when they have not.

    And please refrain from ad hominem attacks upon other people here. Please do not call other people here "assholes", for instance, just because they advocate an idea that you personally disagree with. That is very poor debating style.

    This is not reddit. We engage in intelligent discourse here, like mature adults. Please apologize, refrain from engaging in immature behavior in the future, and we can then all move on to more important discussion.

  • by BigDaveyL (1548821) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:11PM (#45838053) Homepage

    Wrong.

    You're still paying for that coverage which some groups find repugnant.

    Pre-Obamacare, nuns could at least cut out coverage for maternity, contraception and other family planning related things. Not only do groups have moral questions about this, it will cost more, since in theory this coverage isn't needed.

  • Next Step (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ntchpalm (1541261) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:11PM (#45838055)
    The next step is for CEO of BIGCOMPANY to decide that cancer is something decided by God, and that paying for their employees to get treatment to cancer violates their religious beliefs.
  • Re:All or nothing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:13PM (#45838073)

    Health insurance is weird and not traditional insurance in that sense. Health insurance also covers things like routine medical checkups and dental cleanings with little or no out-of-pocket cost to you, even though those too are completely knowable, predictable, and inexpensive. But of course you realize that.

    I've heard it explained thusly: if car insurance worked like health insurance, then every time you put gas in your tank, got an oil change, bought tires, etc., you would file a claim.

    And if it worked that way, car insurance would be ridiculously expensive.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:13PM (#45838077)

    And, queue the statist thugs who want to tell us all how to live our perfect lives.

  • Re:All or nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:14PM (#45838091)

    It all gets very complicated. It can work the other way too - there are plenty of companies which are clearly commercial entities, but happen to be owned and run by people of very strong faith. Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby have made headlines last year over just such a scenario. A broad religious exemption can quickly turn into a situation where believers are 'above the law' - able to simply declare that it doesn't apply to them when convenient.

  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:19PM (#45838127)

    Yet we get presented with totally irrelevant crap like this.

    This story is less than an hour old and has 100+ comments. Below it is a 'tech' story that's nearly six hours old that has under 40. Seems to me this topic is of interest to the Slashdot crowd, and the Slashdot overlords are doing their job.

  • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:20PM (#45838137)

    The problem is that you are not actually free to buy your own insurance, because if the employer does it for you, they get to use pre-tax money to do so, whereas you have to pay tax first. There are other problems too of course, since health care bought by individuals is so much more expensive, it is a niche product, and niche products are usually expensive in a mass market economy. Still, the fundamental problem is the tax issue.

  • Vasectomy? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mveloso (325617) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:21PM (#45838145)

    Why isn't a vasectomy or condoms covered by Obamacare? There's nothing in the law that specifies contraception coverage is female-only.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan (1460303) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:24PM (#45838193) Journal
    I'm glad someone else beside me said it first.

    What these people don't seem to understand: Just because your health insurance covers contraception, doesn't mean you're required to obtain and use it! These people who are going on and on about their so-called "faith"? How about they consider this a test of their "faith" to not obtain or purchase it instead of jamming their fucking "faith" down everyone else's throats!

    Women have a right to have control over their own bodies.
    Get over it already and move on.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:24PM (#45838201) Homepage Journal

    This entire argument is completely skewed, it shouldn't be blocked due to religious considerations, it should be blocked based on the fact that government is dictating to the employers and employees as to how employers pay their employees! Where is the freedom? Where is the freedom to associate, freedom of contract? Where is freedom to run private property as one sees fit? Why are you all accepting as a fact that government can dictate to employers and employees must be paid in contraceptives rather than in cash?

    The second valid argument is of-course the fact that government is dictating that insurance cannot BE insurance but instead must be some form of prepaid health management system.

    What do contraceptives have to do with catastrophic events that insurance is supposed to cover? Why are contraceptives any more special than food or clothing or machine oil or fuel or housing for that matter?

    Insurance is a bet that some event will take place and actuary science is used to calculate the probability of events based on individual participant's and then the bets are placed. What does it have to do with events that are of near 100% probability (that women will have sex?) Insurance is not there to provide you with every day items, in fact insurance shouldn't even cover child birth - it's an EXPECTED event, not an unexpected one, it's an event that people must prepare for and they even know with almost complete certainty when exactly this will happen and they must plan for it.

    Medical complications during child birth might be covered by insurance but child birth itself is simply an expected procedure that should be paid OUT OF POCKET just like most doctor visits and most other things, like birth control.

    The real issue is that it is a question of individual freedom, not a question of religious prejudice.

  • by Kneo24 (688412) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:26PM (#45838229) Homepage
    I bet that 99% of them violate their faith in some way on a daily basis. Let's not kid ourselves here.
  • Re:All or nothing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:37PM (#45838343) Journal

    In other words, there are no standards and no concept of consumer protection. Corporations are just free to run roughshod over you. This could be your fundie employer or your crass insurance company that has an obvious conflict of interest.

    Since when is consumer choice allowing corporations "to run roughshod over you"? So, in order to fix your non-existing problem, you are forcing people to pay for something they neither want nor need. In essence, in order to prevent corporations from running "roughshod over you", you are allowing government to run "roughshod over you". Wouldn't it have made more sense to pass a law that says insurance companies must offer contraceptive coverage to the customers that want it? That way, you protect the consumer while still preserving their freedom of choice.

    Rather than considering to a religious thing, think of it from a liberal point of view; you are forcing gay men to pay for contraception and maternity coverage that they obviously don't need.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:48PM (#45838473)

    So if my employer is a Christian Scientist I don't get coverage?

    Clearly there has to be some sort of limitation on this sort of thinking.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mellon (7048) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:49PM (#45838493) Homepage

    Yeah, it really sucks to have to cover treatments that nobody in your church winds up using. E.g., if nobody in your church gets cancer this year, why the hell did the church have to pay for coverage of cancer? It's just a waste of money, right?

    The whole point of health "insurance" is to spread the costs out so that everybody who needs medicine can get it, without breaking the bank for anybody. It's not so that we can each pick and choose what risks we choose to pay for. Oh, "contraceptives" aren't a risk? Incorrect. The hormones in birth control pills are used to treat a variety of health issues. Writing a health plan so that it excludes paying for particular medicines is antithetical to the goal of universal health coverage. It's making a petty point, at great expense to those who might need the medicine, because you, a supposed Christian, care more about winning than you do about caring for the sick. I'm pretty sure that's not what Jesus would do.

  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:53PM (#45838543) Homepage

    My response to them would be:

    "If this were a matter of the employers chosing for themselves, plaintiffs would have a valid point. If this were a matter of plans churches were offering to their clergy, plaintiffs would have a valid point. But this is a case where the employers in question are not making personal choices and are not acting as a church, but are acting as ordinary employers offering coverage to employees who don't necessarily follow the same beliefs as their employer. And an employer does not have the right to dictate to their employees based on the employer's religious beliefs. Plaintiffs aren't asking merely to be allowed to follow their own beliefs. They are asking to be allowed, as an ordinary employer, to say that because they don't believe in X that their employees are not allowed access to X either. If plaintiffs arguments are valid, then it would be acceptable for a business run by a Jehova's Witness to offer coverage that forbade treatments involving blood transfusion simply because the business owner followed that belief system. And we don't permit that. We don't allow a business owner to force his employees to follow his beliefs just because they work for him. We don't allow him to say "Profess to follow my beliefs or you won't be allowed access to health insurance.". To allow that wouldn't be freedom of religion, it would be the antithesis of freedom of religion."

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:59PM (#45838599) Journal

    um no Nancy Pelosi was the House Speaker with a Democratic majority. You are the one trying to rewrite history.

    Also just because one nominally right wing organization suggested something similar 25 yeas ago does not mean they were right to suggest it then or that is a right-wing issue today.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:04PM (#45838655) Homepage

    This is another very good example why a single payer system is better. Is it any of your employers business if you are using contraceptives? I would say no - even if you are a nun. With a single payer system only you and your doctor know what medical treatments you are using.

  • by letherial (1302031) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:07PM (#45838673)

    So your saying that despite the constitution, as long as i consider it 'morally wrong' then i can go out of my way to not pay for it. Whoohoo, im going to call IRS and tell them out of all my taxes, i dont want one penny to go to bombs, wars, or anything that can be used to kill anyone.

    Lets put it in a differnt term, They pay people with cash that can be used for anything, drugs, booze, whores...basically anything the church morraly objects to they hand over pieces of paper that allow that kind of behavior. Is the next stop going to argue they dont need to pay employees because of what they can do with cash?

    Healthcare is a payment, They could just pay the fine and force employees to get heath insurance from the exchanges and BOOM..its out of there hands. This is not about stopping it, its about religious oppressment, something the cathcolic church is quite good at, and quite fond of.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:09PM (#45838695) Homepage

    As a Canadian, it seems that the only policy the Republicans have is "vote no to anything Obama or any Democrat proposes". We don't care that Obama won the presidential election, we will thwart the will of the people for our rich masters. We will do our best to raise taxes on the poor and middle class while giving the rich tax breaks. We will reduce food stamps to the poor. We will do our best to ensure the middle class have the worst access to health care of any western nation. We will continue to show we say we are Christians while doing exactly the opposite of what Jesus preached.

    That last bit of hypocrisy is particularly galling.

  • by letherial (1302031) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:11PM (#45838713)

    cathoclism and jesus have nothing to do with each other, there is nothing about the catholic church that realy follows jesus, its all pretend while the church sits in there own city state with all that fucking wealth and use a small perecentage to help the poor out...its no differnt then a bank running a promotion ' open a bank account with us and we will give some poor starving child 50.00 to buy him a few days. '

    If Catholics want to follow jesus, the pope would step down, the Vatican would be sold and the money would be sent to the poorest of nations, that wont happen because its not about jesus, its about power and thats ALL its about.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:13PM (#45838731) Homepage

    It is long past the time when any religion should expect the government to take any notice of its beliefs in a secular society. A secular society should ignore religion because if you don't, how do you draw the line? Should I be allowed to stone my neighbor to death if he doesn't observe the Sabbath? Allow my child to die from an easily cured malady because I believe in faith healing?

    Religion has no place in making the laws of a secular nation.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cHiphead (17854) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:14PM (#45838743)

    The Democrats had the majority, but the Republican's used the pseudo-filibuster bullshit to prevent any legislation from passing. When they realized that the ACA they let slip through was much bigger for Obama than they expected, after major negotiations neutering it and in-fact supporting the individual mandate as a compromise, they panicked and since then just "filibuster" instead of trying to negotiate on everything. (Saying your negotiating and compromising when its 'my way or the highway' every fucking time even after concessions are made by Democrats on the various legislation pieces does not actually equal negotiating and compromising).

    The Dems had majority, but the Reps used the loopholes to command the power like they were the majority. That's why people can be confused about it.

  • by sirlark (1676276) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:18PM (#45838783)

    The insurance provider is required by law to provide coverage for contraception, but it's still free to charge what it wants for that coverage based on risk. Why don't they create a plan which they offer only to specific groups people where that plan still provides coverage for contraception/maternity/etc, based on a vastly reduced risk factor. The risk of a nun wanting contraception is very small, but not non-existent I'm guessing. The risks of a nun needing maternity care are slightly higher (e.g. in cases of rape, where the nun would never choose to abort or prevent pregnancy with a morning after pill). The point being, because the risks are low, the insurance provider can say: Hey, on our plan, you won't pay for cover of contraceptives, maternity, family planning etc, but we will still provide the cover if it happens, because the risk is so low the cover can be paid for out of a little bit of the general risk pool. Every insurance provider manages has a general risk pool, where they aggregate all the possible events that occur so infrequently as to be entirely stochastic over the time periods in question, for example, a year, 5 years etc. They just can't plan for covering the expenses down that level of risk detail, because the stats don't work at such low frequencies. I'm sure there will be cases, but very rarely, in which maternity care and even possibly contraception might be medically necessary for someone who hasn't acted against their faith. Again, the case of rape springs to mind, but there's also the use of oral contraceptives to deal with disease related hormonal imbalances, and probably others.

    There are sensible ways to do this where faith doesn't need to be compromised, so yeah, this is about a certain group of people trying to enforce their own way on other people. Cristian Scientists refuse a wide variety of modern medical procedures becasue it goes against their faith. Will they get to challenge mandatory health care in it's entirety?

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:19PM (#45838791)

    I don't want to fund a *lot* of things my federal tax funds on moral grounds, I still have to pay it.

    Sorry, I don't have a lot of sympathy here. If they get to weasel out of buying contraceptives on moral grounds, then I get to decide where my income tax money is spent on moral grounds. No special privileges.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:26PM (#45838841) Journal

    Religion A says that pill X is against their religion. Insurance company is a Religion A organization, but government says that Insurance company cannot refuse to give pill X regardless of what they believe. In short, the government has decided that you must provide a service you believe is immoral.

    Jehovah's Witnesses believe that blood transfusions are immoral. Christian Scientists believe that most modern medicine is immoral. The Church of the Holy Buck believes that any treatment that negatively affects the bottom line is immoral. Should all of those be allowed to refuse to pay for any of them? If a religious organisation finds that it is immoral to perform a particular service, then they are welcome to get out of the business of providing that service.

    No one is forcing churches to be in the insurance business and I can cite several passages from the bible, including quotes from Jesus and St. Paul that indicate that they shouldn't them. If they want to be religions, they can have any crazy rules that they want. If they want to be businesses, then they have to abide by the rules that apply to businesses.

  • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:30PM (#45838881) Homepage Journal

    wrong.

    this is about religious organizations with employees with the same religious values. here's a pro-tip, don't work for a religious organization if you don't hold their beliefs.

    Wrong. The argument is not that religious *organizations* ought to have some special privilege, it's that employers in general have a right not to cover medical treatments they disagree with.

    Medical treatment choices should be matters of *personal* conscience. The Church has every right to teach its opinions to anyone it pleases; it has no right to force its opinions about legal, private behavior on its employees, or to punish them for their purely private behavior.

  • by CyberZen (97536) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:37PM (#45838939) Homepage

    ...shut down your business. Seriously, if these convictions are truly heartfelt, then the rational thing to do is to sell/get out of the business. (I'm thinking about the Hobby Lobby case here, more than anything else.)

    I personally know a Quaker or two who intentionally keep their earnings below the taxable level, so they won't have to pay federal income taxes - and therefore indirectly support war. This causes them a great deal of personal hardship, but... hey, havin' principles isn't always easy.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spykk (823586) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:54PM (#45839083)
    As an American, it has become increasingly clear that neither side has a real agenda outside of protecting the interests of their financiers (big business on one side and unions/the entertainment industry on the other). Both sides choose a handful of issues to rattle their sabers about during elections, but neither actually want to get what they argue for or they will have to find something new to stir people up with.
    Obama ran on a platform of protecting civil liberties and then stood up in front of the nation and defended the NSA spying on each and every citizen. Bush ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism and then spent far more than his predecessor.
    Modern American politics consists of distracting the public while you sell their rights to whoever funded your campaign. Championing one side or the other is naive.
  • Re:All or nothing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @04:11PM (#45839213) Homepage
    you can get the pill for about 20 bucks a month, When I was younger and my girlfriend and I became sexually active, I drive her to go get them, it was no big deal. Sorry, but something like that is in no way needed to be paid for by insurance, If you cant afford 20 bucks a month for the pill, or use free condoms that you can get damn near anywhere, maybe you shouldnt be having sex to begin with.

    I want someone to explain to me why its ok that I should pay for other peoples sex drugs? To be fair I dont believe you should be able to get viagra on insurance either
  • by sjbe (173966) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @04:22PM (#45839277)

    So now my plan is gone, I'd have to pay more than four times the amount for a bronze plans that does all sorts stuff I won't use to subsides others. Sorry no fucking thank you.

    You seem to be hugely mistaken about how insurance works. We ALL pay into a pool and share the risk so that we individually won't be crushed by the financial burden of an illness. Insurance (even catastrophic coverage) cannot work unless everyone pays for stuff they probably wont need.

    I have voluntarily gone uninsured because, the penalties are cheaper and I can always buy a plan for the first time after I have a condition.

    You cannot buy a plan after the fact because they do not kick in immediately. Most plans even through the health exchanges take at least 2 weeks (usually more) to take effect and cannot be purchased at any time. In all likelihood you will incur a huge amount of medical bills in the event of an accident or serious illness prior to receiving coverage.

    Of course now a catastrophic event might bankrupt me leaving everyone else to pay the costs; something I would have previously felt bad about but now, I see it as hey society tried to pick my pocket first; so screw'em.

    You aren't screwing anyone but yourself by being cheap. But enjoy your bankruptcy. I'm sure it will be a lot of fun.

  • by cnaumann (466328) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @04:46PM (#45839415)

    You can extend the argument. If they pay their employees with money, and the money can be used to purchase contraception, then they risk Hell. Therefore they should not pay their employees with money.

    I cannot see the difference between purchasing an insurance plan for employees that covered contraception and paying them with money that can be used to purchased contraception.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @04:49PM (#45839441) Homepage Journal

    I find drones "repugnant". In fact, my religious beliefs demand that I not participate or support such indiscriminate killing.

    Do I get to take a pro-rated reduction in the amount of taxes I pay so I don't have to violate my faith and support this repugnant activity?

    That's first. Second is that the religious organization or corporation or employer in question is not really paying for the insurance. It's part of the compensation of the employee. That means when the insurance is purchased, it is done so with money that has been earned by the employee. There is no direct payment for birth control or any of the stuff that the Church finds icky. Unless you think those benefits are provided out of the goodness of the hearts of the organizations. No, they do it as part of the compensation package. They're not buying health insurance for anyone who doesn't work there.

    Finally, can a corporation really have a religion? Let's be clear: the employers in this case are not religious institutions. They are corporations formed by the religious institutions. Paychecks aren't being signed by the bishop or any religious figure.

    But I would think that allowing religious groups to have special exemption from certain laws based upon their beliefs is going to be a road that at least five of the Supreme Court justices will not go down.

    After all, we all have religious objections to paying taxes, no? You want to open that can of worms?

  • Those that think contraception is wrong shouldn't have to buy it. As employers, they are being told to pay for something they believe is morally wrong. They believe that by being complicit, they risk hell. So they wish to simply not do it. They want to decide what is best for themselves.

    They are, of course, welcome to do that. No employer in the United States, as far as I am aware, is compelled by the federal government to offer its employees health insurance. If these employers wished to stick to their particular and dubious bit of moral high ground, all they have to do is stop offering their employees a health plan. Top up those employees' salaries with the amount the company isn't shelling out. Problem solved; the company doesn't have to pay for insurance that covers contraceptives (or blood transfusions, or chemotherapy, or abortions for rape victims, or whichever religious hobby horse the company's executives are on about).

    But these employers seem unwilling to exercise their complete freedom to opt out of buying these horrible, tainted, health insurance plans of the devil. They really want to buy their employees some insurance, for two entirely and purely selfish reasons. The first is that these employers really like the favorable tax treatment and deductions that they get buying the insurance as a company. (For some reason, they have lost track of how a quid pro quo is supposed to work--the government gives them a tax break, and in exchange they have to spend some of that money in a way that follows government guidelines.)

    The second reason is that if these employers just gave their employees money in lieu of insurance, they wouldn't be able to exercise any control over what sort of immoral insurance their employees bought on the open market. These employers like to be able to dictate the terms, conditions, and especially the limitations of their employees' healthcare, and what those employees are allowed to do with their own bodies. Letting employees have the freedom to buy their own insurance means giving up that control.

    So that's the two part problem. Employers want to enjoy a tax break without fulfilling the requirements to earn it, and employers want to control their employees' bodies seven days a week, and not just nine to five. Nobody's being forced to pay for something they believe is morally wrong; they're just moaning because they don't like the reasonable conditions associated with a rather lucrative tax break.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mellon (7048) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @06:28PM (#45840117) Homepage

    This is like the two people one parachute problem: a hypothetical that you are using to prove a point that is obviously wrong. The point of health coverage is to spread the cost evenly. As a heterosexual male, who apparently is not _actually_ sterile, you are in fact part of the risk pool for pregnancy—it's just someone else who actually has to carry the child. Even if you were not, the point of spreading the cost out is so that people who need health services are able to get them. The lady you assure us you aren't going to get pregnant will never get testicular cancer. But she's paying into the same risk pool, and that's okay—the point is to cover everyone's risk, not to try for some unattainable notion of fairness where the exact costs are calculated down to the last basis point.

  • Re:Fuck religion. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mellon (7048) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @06:32PM (#45840171) Homepage

    The ACA does a lot more than that. It ensures that your children can get insurance up to the age of 25 on your health plan. It ensures that you can't be dropped or bankrupted if you have bad luck with your health. It limits the amount of your premiums that can be spent on things other than delivering health care. It ensures non-discrimination. It's a pretty crappy plan compared to what we progressives actually wanted, but it's definitely an improvement over the status quo. The subsidies are in fact described as and delivered as subsidies, just as you suggest they should be.

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