Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Just In Case

Interesting case coming up. The Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether the Affordable Care Act goes beyond the First Amendment in forcing corporations to include free coverage of government-approved contraception (including abortifacients)

Of course, I think the Law is unconstitutional on a much larger basis, but the Supreme Court doesn't, which is why we got this case.  I don't know what the Court will do, but the reaction to this case was a bit more predictable.

Here are parts of a statement from the White House, with notes from me:

The health care law puts women and families in control of their health care by covering vital preventive care, like cancer screenings and birth control, free of charge. 

Free of charge?  Nothing is free, even if the government pretends it is.  What they mean is they're requiring the entire nation to pick up the tab.  Even if you don't want birth control, you have to pay for it.  (And what has this got to do with cancer screenings?)

As a general matter, our policy is designed to ensure that health care decisions are made between a woman and her doctor.  

This is pretty funny, considering the law in question is designed to put the government in the middle of every health care decision anyone makes

Patty Murray, perhaps our silliest Senator, had her own statement:

Allowing a woman’s boss to call the shots about her access to birth control should be inconceivable to all Americans in this day and age. 

Who says the boss is calling the shots?  Without this law, a woman is free to do what she wants.  What the law does is force her employer to pay for something even if the employer finds it objectionable on a religious basis. In fact, it forces the employer to pay for something even if the employee finds it objectionable.

We can’t allow legal precedent to dictate that the personal beliefs of those in positions of power can block those who aren’t from making their own health care decisions. 

This is the best line of all, since the whole point of the Affordable Care Act is, more than ever, people in positions of power get to decide what sort of health care you get, taking it out of the hands of the public.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always objected to my tax dollars going to the Defense Department-OK lets say on religious grounds- maybe this case will give me relief

4:09 AM, November 27, 2013  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

The Constitution states among its limited purposes, the Fed. Gov. will provide for common defense. ObamaCare is just the latest example of Fed. expansion of powers far beyond the boundaries of the Const.

7:07 AM, November 27, 2013  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

One can divide into three categories those institions that are required to pay for other people's insurance under the ACA:

(1) Religious institutions whose primary purpose is to instruct and minister to those of their own faith: e.g., churches, synagogues, mosques.

(2) Religious-affiliated non-profit institutions with any other purpose: e.g., religious hospitals, religious colleges.

(3) Private for-profit institutions whose owners happen to hold religious views: e.g., Chick Fil-A, Hobby Lobby.

The Obama administration gave #1 an exemption to the contraception and abortafacient-related clauses, but has made it clear that no exemptions will be given to #2 and #3. Since then, many institutions in groups 2 and 3 have filed suits, and the federal courts have been divided on how they have ruled on their suits. Their arguments are based not merely on the First Amendment but also on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which requires strict tests in such cases.

What is interesting is that SCOTUS has accepted two appeals, but they both fall in group #3. Therefore, if SCOTUS rules in favor of the administration in these cases, I think the question of those in group 2 will remain open.

Prediction: Most of the press will frame these cases in one of two ways: (a) a corporation wants to deny an individual the right to use birth control, or (b) SCOTUS is considering whether to expand Citizens United to say that corporations not only have free speech rights but also have religious rights.

As LA Guy pointed out, 'a' is illogical. I wonder how much traction 'b' will get. There are plenty of for-profit restaurants that are kosher (or halal, or vegetarian); if corporations should have no first-amendment rights, as many Democrats are now claiming, then doesn't it follow that the government can regulate such restaurants in ways that prevent them from following their religious traditions?

9:09 AM, November 27, 2013  

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