Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Depressing State of the ACA and Hobby Lobby Fish Vouchers

I haven't delved into the Hobby Lobby cases.  As they say, "it's complicated."  

But here is Sandy Zirulnik's satirical take: 
"In a close decision today, the US Supreme Court approved a plan by Hobby lobby to compensate employees with fish vouchers rather than cash.  The company owners claimed that their religious beliefs prevented them from giving employees monetary compensation which might allow individual employees to purchase items that violated the company owners religious convictions. 
The Supreme Court accepted the argument that company owners' religious beliefs can lead to a corporation's religious beliefs and can further lead to the religiously-based compensation that a company may pay employees.  Hobby lobby compensated employees with envelopes containing vouchers for flour, spaghetti and water as well as fish protein. Hobby lobby in their arguments said "we cannot have our employees buying, condoms, pork, Health insurance, or other religious items in conflict with our tenants"
I think this is funny because, duh!  It's good satire because it's right on the correct line and asks us to think about what the line means. But there is a difference, of course, between an employer paying workers with cash that might be used to purchase birth control, and an employer being forced to provide a health plan that provides birth control coverage.  It's true that in both cases the decision to use birth control is up to the employee; however, forcing the employer to purchase coverage for birth control is a bit like the employer being forced to purchase condoms and hand them out at staff meetings.  The condoms may, or may not be used, but it does clearly impinge on the employer's "birth control is immoral" stance.  

If you want to read more, here is Eugene Volokh 
describing the lay of the land.  Volokh is a right winger, but sober 1st Am expert at UCLA,  

Marty Lederman at Balkanization,  a Yale liberal law blog, did a whole bunch of posts on Hobby Lobby a while ago.  

Finally, here is Gerrard Magliocca in a very pessimistic mood about the state of ACA in toto.  

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