Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hobby Lobby and the ACA

Yesterday the Supreme Court offered the ACA its biggest challenge and sided with Hobby Lobby. Five male justices ruled that corporations are people and as such can practice their religious beliefs by not paying for their employees' contraceptives, as the ACA requires corporations to.

The decisions most vocal dissenters were Justices Sonia Sotamayer and Ruth Ginsberg. Justice Ginsberg was the most forceful dissenter, warning her fellow judges that they had set a dangerous precedent. Five of those in favor of Hobby Lobby were males, and one male and three women were opposed to ruling in favor of the huge crafts store.

What the ruling foes is allow other corporations to start challenging other aspects of the ACA. As Justice Ginseng stated, now we will have to accommodate the religious beliefs of Hindus, who abstain from beef and beef products, and Muslims and Jews, who restrict pork and pork products from their diets. Not that there is anything wrong with respecting their beliefs. The ACA accommodates those religions if they are places of worships and religion-based businesses. In Hobby Lobby's example, since it is operating as a for-profit corporation it fell under the rules of the ACA as a business that was to pay for women's contraceptives. 

But not anymore. What's running through my mind now is how exactly are judges supposed to decide whether a corporation is faith-based or not. Unless there is a criteria or standards in place to determine whether a corporation is practicing its religion and not just offering lip service to avoid paying for their employees' coverage. Hobby Lobby is a reputable faith-based corporation, but as a corporation it should have never been exonerated from adhering to the ACA. How will judges now decide what corporations are to abode by the ACA and which omens to exempt?

Let me add, that as I scrolled down my Twitter feed yesterday, I was surprised that no one mentioned the five male justices who voted in favor or Hobby Lobby's request to not offer contraceptives. Am I the only one bothered by this?

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