The Hobby Lobby - Birth Control Case

The short and sweet explanation is: Supreme Court has begun hearing arguments on the question of whether or not the Obamacare mandate is constitutional or not. The mandate is requiring all insurance plans to cover contraception at no cost. One side believes the birth control mandate violates their freedom of religion by requiring them to provide employees birth control insurance. The other side believes that allowing corporations to ignore the mandate allows employers to have too much control over their employees' personal lives.

The owners of Hobby Lobby agree to provide insurance that covers most forms of birth control. They do not agree to cover emergency contraceptives or IUDs. Hobby Lobby contends its "religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception." It is no secret that Hobby Lobby is owned by a Southern Baptist family and is known for offering religious services and closing on Sundays. If Hobby Lobby were to decide to violate the mandate on religious principle, it would cost them $475 million per year in fines.

The contraception mandate does not require corporations to distribute birth control to their employees. It merely requires them to provide that option to their employees via insurance plans. Scott Lemieux says it best: "There is no contraception "mandate." Hobby Lobby is not legally required to compensate its employees with health insurance at all. The regulations imposed by the ACA are on insurance plans, not on the corporations per se. What is erroneously described as a "mandate" simply means that if corporations choose to take advantage of the tax benefits for compensating employees in health insurance rather than wages, the insurance has to meet minimum coverage standards. As is often the case with specious religious freedom arguments, the corporation wants it both ways, to get the tax benefits without providing the full benefits to employees."