On the Aftermath of Hobby Lobby, Part II: Man-splaining Strikes Back!

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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386 Responses

  1. Avatar Fnord says:

    I think it’s perfectly possible to draw a principled distinction between “paying taxes, and also the government does things you don’t like” and “being required to pay for something you don’t like directly”.

    Of course, if we would just go to a single-payer system, birth control would drop back in the first category.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Fnord says:

      “being required to pay for something you don’t like directly”

      Oh, is that the case? If so, then you are correct — it seems a bridge too far.

      I thought it was simply employers paying a premium for complete health insurance coverage , which an employee could then use, if they wished, to file a claim to the insurer to be recompensed for a perspiration drug recommended by their physician at the time of purchase.

      I had not idea the employer was buying the pills for them.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        But snark aside, I suspect that the result of all of this *is* going to result in a single-payer system eventually.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Single payer would be one way to solve this particular dilemma, but it’s a shorter journey to universalizing the exchanges.Report

      • Avatar Stella B. in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        It’s not clear to me why employers should not pay a higher cost for insurance that doesn’t cover contraception since you can buy a whole lot of contraception for the price of one normal pregnancy much less a problem pregnancy.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        It’s not clear that contraception coverage would actually reduce plan costs in the aggregate. If that were so, insurance company plan prices before ACA would have reflected that and the administration wouldn’t have had to require that the contraception riders be offered free of charge for the religious hospitals and such.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Will,
        If that were so, insurance company plan prices before ACA would have reflected that

        I think you’re attributing a particular type of rationality to insurance companies that isn’t supported by the evidence. 🙂Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I agree with @stillwater

        Because contraception (and maternity care) were often not covered, but are essential, women had to often pay for their most basic care out of pocket. This has been a huge form of financial discrimination against women, and has always fallen hardest on the poorest women.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I do tend to trust insurance company actuarial tables.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Overall cost analysis doesn’t speak to the necessity of the care. Which is to say that in strictly financial terms birth control can be both necessary for the public health and a cost to insurance providers.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Why would their actuarial tables entail pricing policies including contraceptives lower than those which don’t? Or are you saying you don’t think social and individual morality effects the market?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @will-truman That’s a common misconception, similar to the canard that smoking *increases* the overall healthcare costs of a whole society. You’re confusing immediate cost with total cost.

        Consider:

        Acme Insurance Company (AIC) needs to collect an additional .05% to what they otherwise would have collected had they discontinued BC coverage 30 days ago, so, in that sense, it *is* more. But over time, the overall cost of healthcare needing to be paid for is significantly higher. Remember, you’re not only eventually folding in the prenatal, maternity and post-natal healthcare costs, you’re folding in the ongoing costs of each of those realized healthcare recipients (i.e.: children) who would not have needed care had BC been used. For a period of time that last decades, the costs actually increase exponentially.

        Overtime, all of those costs are folded in to the system (eventually, the rug rats begin to contribute premiums as well) but it is far more expensive per capita to not provide BC to an insured population — even as BC is always an additional cost that needs to be funded.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Tod, I am not talking about costs to the system over time. I am talking about the costs associated to a particular insurance plan over its term. So in this case, there may be (for instance) a likelihood that some other insurance company will cover a lot of the costs you refer to. Or some other insurance company may receive the benefit of a pregnancy averted.Report

      • Avatar Fnord in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Tod, I am not talking about costs to the system over time. I am talking about the costs associated to a particular insurance plan over its term. So in this case, there may be (for instance) a likelihood that some other insurance company will cover a lot of the costs you refer to. Or some other insurance company may receive the benefit of a pregnancy averted.

        Which is, presumably, all the more reason to require it to be covered as a matter of law. Everyone’s better off if everyone cooperates. But everyone’s individually better off if they can grab the benefit and foist the costs on someone else, which in the aggregate makes things worse for everyone.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Fnord, I agree (more or less). Especially when it comes to up front expensive but very reliable sorts like IUD. It’s mostly just a matter of deciding from where the provision comes.

        I was responding to a particular comment that involved rates and terms.Report

      • Avatar Veronica Dire in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Oh God please yes.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @tod-kelly

        What is your estimate of when eventually will arrive? Do you think it will be within your lifetime?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I still say that the exchanges (plus Medicare/Medicaid) are the template for what our eventual system will look like, more than Medicare/Medicaid alone.

        I did find it curious that the administration didn’t help that process (to universal exchanges) along as they could have, though.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @will-truman , the states, like mine, that are refusing to expand Medicaid or set up their own exchanges are doing plenty to push us into a federal system like you envision.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Stillwater, I understand the philosophical underpinnings of libertarianism/minimalism. I used to encounter Damon’s type of libertarian more frequently in science fiction communities. Its just that this sort of argument appeals to a very particular demographic and practically nobody else outside that demographic. There should be some investigation into why that might be the case.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @stillwater, I’m not talking about whether libertarian principles or policies will help large swathes of people. By arguments I’m referring to the rhetoric they use in debates. Consider Murray Rothbard’s infamous statement that under libertarianism, it would be perfectly acceptable to sell yourself into slavery. Now this is an extreme and minority position but it is not uncommon with the more strident forms of libertarianism. Naturally this sort of rhetoric does not bode well with many African-Americans for reasons that should be obvious. Regardless of the truth or importance of the arguments, there are something things that really shouldn’t be used to advance your side of the policy debate.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Regardless of the truth or importance of the arguments, there are something things that really shouldn’t be used to advance your side of the policy debate.

        In the waning years of the 20th Century, someone in Eugene, Oregon, responded to the cutting down of some trees with the slogan, “crime of the century.”

        So, yes, I’m inclined to agree. Nor do I disagree that libertarians have a tendency to not always choose their arguments well.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @tod-kelly Most companies of reasonable size self-insure and the plan is administered by an insurance company, so the employer is buying the pills for them. 60% of private sector workers with employer provided insurance plans are in self-insured plans.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/us/allure-of-self-insurance-draws-concern-over-costs.html?pagewanted=allReport

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @mo That is true, but not entirely relevant in the way you think.

        When we talk about a self-insured program — be it health, workers comp, liability, etc. –what we’re actually discussing is *where* the first-dollar of risk is held. It does not mean that the self-insured entity acts as an insurer.

        For example, Nike is self-insured for workers comp (I know) and probably for health (I’m guessing), but they do not actually pay providers. Rather, insurance regulation requires them to pay money for potential and realized losses to a third-party administrator who carries on the tasks normally associated with an insurer. Nike holds more potential financial risk (and reward) when they self-insure; they do not cut checks directly to providers nor are they allowed to administer claims.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        As if on cue, TIE has a post on whether contraception pays for itself. (Note: TIE is a left-leaning medical and medical economics site that is in the overall very supportive of PPACA.)

        The answer is: Likely so on a society-wide scale (a point that Tod made and that I didn’t disagree with) but it’s far from clear when it comes to individual insurers or policies (which was my point).Report

  2. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Good post, Tod.

    Personally speaking here, I think the “wallet” argument is complete bullshit. Well, not entirely, but if we take it seriously we get to a bullshit logical result (libertopia lives!). I also find the “respect for religious beliefs” argument to be pretty poor as well, tho more defensible. But the problems with that argument – from a principled, consequentailist, pragmatic, legal, coherence, etc, pov – are pretty obvious. (To me anyway.) Massaging the concept of what a closely held corporation means, as the SC has done, obliterates the real-world distinctions upon which the concept of a corporation (as that term is understood for tax and legal purpose) rests and upon which its introduction into our social life is justified.

    None of that is particularly relevant to this post, tho. Except as a way of accounting for the prevalence of a bunch of men continuing to claim that contraception coverage for women is a form of tyranny.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Stillwater says:

      While those same men fail to recognize that not providing contraception is a form of tyranny — perhaps the oldest form of all.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to zic says:

        @zic
        No it’s not. I don’t have kids and I see no reason why I should subsidize someone elses.

        Same argument. It is, however, my responsibility to purchase and use condoms because if I get some women pregnant and she keeps the kid, I’m on the hook for 18 years of child support.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        @damon Going back to before Plato right up through the 20th century, women were pretty much left out of all political structures. They rarely wrote books, they rarely ever led nations, and they got little in the way of education. It’s rooted in the very heart of our culture. When a couple gets married, by tradition, a father gives the bride away to her new husband like she’s a piece of property, not a person with her own full set of rights.

        It’s not until the mid 20th century, and improvements in medicine, and most contraception, that suddenly, women have voice and a chance for equal participation.

        There is absolutely no disputing that she does not have access to equality until she has control of her reproduction. For her to be equal, it is necessary.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to zic says:

        @zic
        “There is absolutely no disputing that she does not have access to equality until she has control of her reproduction. For her to be equal, it is necessary.”

        100% true. I agree completely. But her control of her own reproduction does not create an financial obligation to me.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        @damon I honestly cannot tell if you’re railing against health-care risk pooling (insurance), or contraception as if it’s no different they paying for public schools.

        But I am often slightly offended with the misogynist tone your version of libertarian puts fourth. To me, the HL case 1) tries to establish pregnancy as beginning at fertilization, 2) tries to establish some forms of contraception cause abortions, and 3) they have a religiously-protected right to restrict abortion, which is a constitutionally protected right.

        So my problem is not with the ‘who pays’ portion; it goes earlier in the process to the ‘who says.’ The most libertarian of all is who says for each of our own selves. I personally think I have a clearer libertarian take on this then you do. You’re just letting the ‘who pays’ question blind you to the prior ‘who says’ question.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        The most libertarian of all is who says for each of our own selves

        Sure, but that doesn’t get you to your outcome. HL is trying to do what they see as their own interest, and be damned to others, and that’s what you reject. And libertarianism says each for our own without a right to demand others help us with that, whereas you’re insisting that there is a right to get help with from others in pursuing your own.

        We libertarians may be fucked up on the issue, from your perspective, but you’re not outlibertarianing us.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to zic says:

        @zic
        Actually no. I do have a clear understanding. No real libertarian would be arguing that they had any claim to other people’s property. The whole point of the HL case is that the gov’t is forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.Report

      • Avatar James Pearce in reply to zic says:

        “We libertarians may be fucked up on the issue, from your perspective, but you’re not outlibertarianing us.”

        Probably not, but it really does cut to the relative uselessness of libertarianism as a philosophy. Rather than being a philosophical sextant to be used to navigate the modern world, it seems to be a complete rejection of it.

        Seriously:

        “And libertarianism says each for our own without a right to demand others help us with that,”

        And we’re talking about a “closely-held” corporation owned by a family that couldn’t possibly operate all 500 of their stores without “help.”Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        James Pearce,

        You mean your vision of the modern world. It’s not as though there is one and only one possible future that is “modern.”

        As to HL needing help to run their stores, you gloss over the difference between getting government to force someone to help you and hiring someone to help you on a mutually voluntary basis.

        There are good critiques of libertarianism, but these aren’t them.Report

      • Avatar James Pearce in reply to zic says:

        “As to HL needing help to run their stores, you gloss over the difference between getting government to force someone to help you and hiring someone to help you on a mutually voluntary basis.”

        Look, when “hiring someone to help you” gets confused with “I pay you so you’re basically mine,” there is no difference.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

        Damon’s conception of libertarianism is rather unique. Most other libertarians recognize that people form groups and that no person is an island. They might not believe that people’s responsibility towards each other should be fulfilled through the the actions of government via the welfare state but they don’t reject the idea of society and its obligations outright the way Damon does. Damon’s philosophy seems to revolve around that every person is for him or herself and nobody owes any obligation to anybody else. It goes much further in its demands than most other libertarians.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to zic says:

        “No real libertarian”

        Drink!Report

      • Avatar James Pearce in reply to zic says:

        “Damon’s conception of libertarianism is rather unique.”

        Is it though? I’ve known a lot of libertarians who consider the “every person is for him or herself and nobody owes any obligation to anybody else” idea to be one of the core pillars of their philosophy. It’s not so much a “unique” conception of libertarianism as it is an idea that is unique to libertarianism. Indeed, it’s libertarianism that is taken all the way to its logical ends, without all the concessions and caveats we get from the more reasonable libertarians. (Such as: “I’m generally against the regulatory state, but I guess I can live with the USDA inspecting the food supply.”)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        Lee, no, you’re wrong. It’s not really my kind of libertarian, but that individualistic libertarian/anarchist category is well established and reasonably well-established. It probably stands in relation to my type of libertarianism as leftism stands in relation to garden variety liberalism.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to zic says:

        Zic,

        Just to play devil’s advocate here… can’t a woman control her reproductive rights by simply not having sex? Rape IS ilegal even between spouses.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        James Pearce,
        Look, when “hiring someone to help you” gets confused with “I pay you so you’re basically mine,” there is no difference.

        Ideology trumps analysis again. News at 10.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to zic says:

        That’s not the way we tend to think of personal rights we control. It’s somewhat akin to asking someone in a minority political party if they can’t control their right to free speech by not saying stuff anymore.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to zic says:

        It’s somewhat akin

        I see what you did there.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        @mike-dwyer

        Just to play devil’s advocate here… can’t a woman control her reproductive rights by simply not having sex? Rape IS ilegal even between spouses.

        Ahh, the aspirin between the knees argument. Do you recognize it as that?

        Despite being illegal, rape happens, and happens frequently. And of course, absence of contraceptives increases the likelihood that a rape will result in a pregnancy.

        Culturally, women are still often expected to take care of their husbands needs; many wed with the marriage vow ‘obey.’ This is stronger in some communities then others here in the US, on many other cultures, this is an overwhelming pressure on women.

        Then we get into the dicey territory of her right to have and enjoy sex with whomever she wants — if she believes it sinful, that’s her choice. If she does not believe that, if she believes that good, wholesome sex is important to her health and well-being, that’s also her choice. Personally, I don’t go in for the whole purity thing; I think people have the best marriages when they enter them sexually informed and experienced enough to understand how physical intimacy will play a role in their marriage.

        But this natural moral law you’re referring to is the same natural process that resulted in women having little or no access to the things men had access to going back to the beginning of human culture. It doesn’t really work to give her equal access to opportunity.Report

      • Avatar James Pearce in reply to zic says:

        “Ideology trumps analysis again. News at 10.”

        That you’re saying that to me is an irony that should be noted. It’s not my anti-government ideology that leads me to think that the government mandating contraception coverage is a greater evil than a corporation thinking they have some kind of ownership over their employee’s medical decisions.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to zic says:

        @mike-dwyer , to add on to what zic said, and perhaps add some clarity to where I believe she’s coming from (always a hazardous proposition so apologies in advance if I mess this up), let’s imagine an alternate reality where having sex did not, could not, cause pregnancy unless the woman deliberately chose that by taking a drug that enabled it to happen. Let us further stipulate that the nature of the drug or treatment was such that it would be impossible to administer by stealth or force.

        So in a world like that, what would the dictates of religious conscience look like? Would women be pressured by religious authority to take the drug? How would the rest of society respond to that pressure?

        It seems to me much if not all our moral norms are predicted on and contingent upon certain facts of nature and biology. If we can alter those facts shouldn’t our moral understanding adjust?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        No, James Pearce. Once again, I’m making the most middle of the road arguments here–the only one saying there’s some validity in both sides’ positions. I could be wrong, of course, but by definition that’s a pretty non-ideological position.

        You, on the other hand, are suggesting that a company that reportedly pays above average wages for its sector, that offers health insurance despite not having to do so, and that doesn’t actually monitor it’s employees’ sexual activity or contraceptive use, but doesn’t want to pay for those contraceptives is effectively claiming ownership over them.

        Excessive claims are a strong indicator of ideology.

        The funny thing is, such a claim isn’t remotely necessary to argue HL is in the wrong and the SupCt erred. It’s just emotion laden rhetoric.

        Hell, I think I’m about persuaded the Court got it wrong, but I see claims like this and I shake my head at how badly this side is doing it.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        You, on the other hand, are suggesting that a company that reportedly pays above average wages for its sector, that offers health insurance despite not having to do so, and that doesn’t actually monitor it’s employees’ sexual activity or contraceptive use, but doesn’t want to pay for those contraceptives is effectively claiming ownership over them.

        It’s like some weird reflection of what too happens to a rape victims; if they’re ‘pure,’ they’re given the benefit of the doubt that the ‘dirty’ girls don’t get.Report

      • Avatar James Pearce in reply to zic says:

        James,

        You typed this with a straight face?

        “but doesn’t want to pay for those contraceptives is effectively claiming ownership over them.”

        What is the “not with my wallet” argument but a claim of ownership?

        (FWIW, I’m not attempting to re-litigate Hobby Lobby. Drift back onto topic if you wish.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic says:

        Good comment Road Scholar. I think those types of thought experiments are *very* illuminating when trying to tease out exactly where certain types of moral intuitions gain their force. I would like to think that serious consideration of what you wrote by opponents of the contraception mandate would elevate the discussion to something more compelling than an appeal to nature.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

        @james-hanley, even if Damon’s brand of libertarianism is well-established his way of framing it seems kind of extreme. The closest we have on this site to Damon’s ideology is Citizen but citizen prefers a more idealistic way of phrasing individualistic libertarianism. There is something a bit raw about Damon’s framing of his cosmology.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic says:

        Lee,

        I’d go the other way on this: Damon’s type of libertarianism is actually very common. So common, in fact, that folks like James spend a lot of time correcting folks’ misperception of the resulting stereotype and identification of libertarianism with its more extreme forms.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        Lee, one can fairly describe it as extreme, but Stillwater’s exactly right.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

        @stillwater, @james-hanley, that seems to be a political ideology with very limited appeal. Most people want some guarantee of help from somewhere when they need it.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        Well, yeah. That’s a constant refrain around these parts.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

        It conforms to people’s worst impressions about libertarianism. It sounds a bit to much as FYIGM in political form. Its nice that Damon and others are being honest and all but I’d see theocracy getting more popularity than that sort of extreme individualism.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic says:

        Lee,

        It’s not (necessarily) FYIGM and it’s not (necessarily) a bad theory of political economy. What it is – if you want my opinion about it – is a compelling challenge to the status-quo-of-belief as it applies to political economy. Some folks push really hard on a counterintuiive direction not simply because it pushes boundaries, but because there’s a theory justifying that type of extremism. I think Damon is in that camp, myself. ANd lots of others. Here at the league, tho, most libertarians are more moderate in their thinking and more amenable to the complexity involved in realizing their preferred policies.

        ANd some other folks on that side of things, unfortunately, are just dicks.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        I really, really wish that video had embedded properly.

        [Done–JH]Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic says:

        Most people want some guarantee of help from somewhere when they need it.

        Man, I just re-read this and can’t believe it didn’t hit me the first time thru. If you think this is THE difference between liberals and libertarians, Saul, then we’ve got a lot of work to do, you and I. I just want to warn you it might be a painful process along the way.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

        @stillwater, first all your quoting me not Saul. Second, it might not exactly be FYIGM but it does sound that way to a lot of people. If you hang around liberal and leftist blogs, Damon’s brand of libertarianism is seen as representing all libertarians. If I try to bring up more moderate forms like those belonging to Jason, or one of the James’ than nobody will believe me. It would be like talking about really seeing a unicorn.

        Damon’s way of seeing the world comes across as totally alien to most Americans who aren’t men or white. You will occasional see a powerful white woman who embraces it but very rarely. Its seen as a sort of luxury ideology for people that don’t have to worry much about needing help from anybody else.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic says:

        Lee,

        Sorry for the name mix up. As for the alien-ness of libertarianism, I’m not sure that’s a legitimate criticism except in a political context. The merits of the view, at least as libertarians understand it and therefore as we should understand it as well, are whether or not it’s a coherent, justifiable, system-wide account of how to conduct political and economic institutions based on some pretty banal (or at least not inherently theory laden) first premises, as well as if the commitments entailed by the theory account for all (or most, or a preponderance) of the so-called “problems” that afflict modern political-economic systems.

        It’s heady stuff. I don’t think that a bunch of yahoos who call themselves running around railing against the welfare state are necessarily an indictment of libertarianism. It’s a bit more subtle than that. And I say that as someone who doesn’t identify as a libertarian, as you’re well aware.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

        @stillwater, I posted my initial reply to you at the wrong place in thread. I understand the philosophical underpinnings of libertarianism/minimalism. Its part of the classical liberalism of the early to mid-19th century before the split with modern liberals. Its just that this sort of ideology appeals to a very particular and limited demographic and the arguments made to advance only apply to that particular demographic.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic says:

        Lee,

        Its just that this sort of ideology appeals to a very particular and limited demographic

        I won’t disagree with that too strenuously

        and the arguments made to advance only apply to that particular demographic.

        That I can’t accept. I think libertarians believe that their preferred policies will advance the interests of lots of people who, you know, aren’t themselves. It’s easy enough to reduce acceptance of the theory to the self-interested psychological state of the people accepting it, but I think that would be a mistake. At least – and importantly! at the level of evaluating the theory’s merits objectively.

        But sure, I’m with you that a bunch of folks appear to be libertarians for reasons that reduce to self-interested stereotypes. But it’s probably true that a bunch of folks identify as liberals for the same types of stereotypical reasons.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        If you hang around liberal and leftist blogs, Damon’s brand of libertarianism is seen as representing all libertarians.

        And if you hang around libertarian blogs, Jesse Ewiak’s brand of leftism is seen as representing all liberal folks. Because there’s an awful lot of people out there who just don’t want to really talk with others. It’s a damn shame.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        I’m with you that a bunch of folks appear to be libertarians for reasons that reduce to self-interested stereotypes. But it’s probably true that a bunch of folks identify as liberals for the same types of stereotypical reasons.

        Sure. Zic’s argument against the HL ruling and for the mandate is explicitly about women’s self-interest. And there’s nothing at all illegitimate about her looking out for her self-interest and deciding it is best protected by liberalism. (That is, in saying that, I’m not making an implicit critique–after all, my beginning assumption in analyzing politics is that people are self-interested.)Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to zic says:

        Its a bit more than just self-interest, though.

        Both conservatism and liberalism stem from that common root of the Abrahamic tradition which acknowledges human dignity as the generator of rights, and see a purpose in society as progressing to a righteous order.

        These carry the idea that there is a universally applicable benefit to public policy, where ideally it will create a universally happier and more fulfilled society.

        Does there exist a libertarian version of this?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        Yes, LWA, there does. It’s also been discussed here many times. For example with my anti-rent-seeking amendment, where you actually participated in the discussion.

        Maybe next time it’s discussed you could try paying attention?Report

  3. Avatar James Hanley says:

    I do think it’s quite clear that there is one, and only one, legitimate position to take on this case. This is not an issue on which reasonable people can disagree reasonably.Report

    • @james-hanley Please.

      There are legitimate positions to be taken, and their are important observations one should be willing to make. These are not mutually exclusive, even if they do not align. As I have said, I am greatly sympathetic to the HL arguments, and in the big picture, over time, it might well turn out that it was the correct decision as Mark suggests.

      But it’s equally important to note that we’re not choosing to draw this “I shouldn’t have to fund what I object to” line in the sand on military action, the war on drugs, gun rights, torture, or cronyism. We’re choosing to draw it on women and birth control.

      Even if I agreed with the HL decision entirely, this would still strike me as all kinds of fished up.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        We’re choosing to draw it on women and birth control.

        No, there’s a group of people out there who are choosing to draw it on women and birth control. There are people out there who were screaming about military action, the war on drugs, gun rights (wait, what?), torture, and cronyism. The fact that they have people who suddenly agree with them when it comes to this whole thing is now being held against them.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        “I never wanted to draw a line in the sand, but all the sand-line drawers who came before me forced me to.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        No, Stillwater. There are some of us who have been yelling about military action, the war on drugs, torture, and cronyism for a good long while.

        Seeing someone wonder aloud “well, if you were really principled about this, wouldn’t you have been yelling about military action, the war on drugs, torture, and cronyism?” is kinda irritating.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        No, Stillwater.

        Of course not. Why did I even bother?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Tod,

        You suggest above (to FNord) that Hobby Lobby’s not actually directly paying. So let’s distinguish three possiblities.

        1. Hobby Lobby is required by law to pay directly. They have to buy the contraceptives and put them in the women’s pay envelopes.

        2. Hobby Lobby is required by law to pay quasi-directly/indirectly.* They have to pay for insurance coverage that includes contraceptives.

        3. Hobby Lobby pays indirectly through general taxes, and contraceptive care is provided by the government.

        Nearly everyone agrees that 1 and 3 are different, and are much more comfortable with 3. Libertarians, conservatives, and liberals alike are more comfortable with paying for taxes through welfare (however much some might object) than they would be with a law directing specific people to give charitable contributions to specific other people.

        What we’re arguing about is #2. And we’re arguing about it because it’s not self-evident whether it’s more like 1 or more like 3. And we’re arguing about it because unlike most issues, it has religious implications bearing on the sanctity of life. And we’re arguing about it because we’ve got a business that occupies a sort of in-between area, not a non-profit, but also not a publicly traded corporation; a type of business most of us were unfamiliar with until very recently, so we’re still trying to figure out just how to understand its meanings and implications.

        That’s pretty rarefied territory. It’s perfectly sensible to me that we’re arguing over whether the line can be drawn there. The tripartite distinction I make shows why it’s different than paying taxes for war (which people have tried to legally object to, by the way, but were rebuffed by the Courts, so saying “we” are drawing the line here and not there is not really accurate).

        And what is the one thing on this list that is so potentially despicable that we men agree an exception must be made?

        So my mom’s a man now? That’s going to shock her dear old fundamentalist heart.

        _____________________
        *I’m making up that phrasing, of course, but it serves a purpose here.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @james-hanley , “What we’re arguing about is #2. And we’re arguing about it because it’s not self-evident whether it’s more like 1 or more like 3. ”

        I think you’re seeing things that I’m not.

        Look, forget for a moment about the government. Here is a much less conceptual, non-politicized comparison:

        Situation One: Employer cuts check to insurer — insurer fully insures employee — employee is prescribed and purchases pills used for contraception — insurer reimburses employee for the pills after the purchase

        Situation Two: Employer cuts check to employee — employee buys condoms

        Others can argue, but I think I pretty accurately mapped out all the of the relevant transactions here, yes? (If you want to add or subtract, I won’t quibble.)

        Purchasing birth control in Situation One is actually twice as removed from the employer as is purchasing birth control in Situation Two. Yet no one, as far as I know, is suggesting that by committing the act of cutting an employee a paycheck the employer in Situation Two is “directly purchasing birth control” for his employee. In fact, I think we’d all agree that to say so would be ridiculous.

        So why is Situation One closer to, as you say, “[buying] the contraceptives and [putting] them in the women’s pay envelopes” than what occurs in Situation Two? Other than the fact that using some form of the word “directly” makes us feel better about allowing employers to have a say in what their employees and their physicians consider appropriate “healthcare?”Report

      • So why is Situation One closer to, as you say, “[buying] the contraceptives and [putting] them in the women’s pay envelopes” than what occurs in Situation Two? Other than the fact that using some form of the word “directly” makes us feel better about allowing employers to have a say in what their employees and their physicians consider appropriate “healthcare?”

        If we have a spectrum between, say, Hobby Lobby’s “nightmare” scenario (having to buy the contraceptives and putting them in the pay envelope) and, say, having the government provide contraceptives with tax money(James’s #3 point), your scenario 1 falls in that spectrum and your scenario 2 falls outside of the spectrum altogether, assuming that some element of James’s point #3 isn’t somehow at play here.

        To put another way, to me, the distinction here is that in situation 1, the employer is playing a role in facilitating the transaction in a way he/she is not facilitating in situation 2. The employer is more directly (but still very indirectly) a party to the purchase of contraception in situation 1 than 2.

        The more direct the involvement, the more it is at least discussable whether HL ought to have standing to contest the issue and the more it is at least discussable that someone’s putatively religious objection might indeed trump the obligation.

        My “the more it is at least discussable” does a lot of work here. I’m not sure I’d even grant HL standing if I were Chief Justice of the Universe. And I’m almost positively I wouldn’t grant HL the exemption. But I really do believe James’s way of putting it frames a discussion to be had, and that discussion isn’t entirely one reducible to “mansplaining.” However–and I try to suggest this in my comment below–there may very well be a meta-argument about women’s access to BC that focusing on, e.g., James’s framing tends to ignore or obscure.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        By the way, Tod, sorry for my snark. I’m still miffed at the other thread, which I think in places exhibits exactly that kind of “nobody reasonable could disagree” perspective.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        What Gabriel said,
        to me, the distinction here is that in situation 1, the employer is playing a role in facilitating the transaction in a way he/she is not facilitating in situation 2.

        If we’re employers, we have to pay employees something. We could do a government-style program (like WIC), and give them coupons good for a certain amount of eggs, milk, cereal, etc.

        Or we could just give them cash, with which they could buy eggs, milk and cereal if they wish, or if they prefer, oreos, beer and cigarettes.

        Your argument, it seems to me, claims that in the second case we’re more complicit with the employees’ purchase of oreos and beer than we are complicit in the first case with the employees purchase of eggs and milk.

        Or, to go back to an argument someone else originated way back when we first discussed the HL issue as an impending case, and which I re-raised recently, you’re arguing–it seems to me–that as an employer I’m more complicit in my employees’ gun purchases if they buy guns with the cash wages I gave them than if I set up an account at a gun shop where they could go pick up a gun with no out-of-pocket cost if they wanted one.

        Your argument seems focused on how direct or indirect the link is between cash paid by employer and employee purchase/use, but I think you’re overlooking the relevance of the decisionmaking about what final use compensation should be put to.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I made the argument 3 months ago. And it still looks good.

        Yes. There are meaningful differences. That lots of progressives don’t see a difference is what astounds me. Here is one ordinary consideration that make piping it through the state less objectionable:

        Living in a democratic society means that there are going to be some things the government spends its money on. There is a sense in which it is up to the state’s discretion as to what it spends tax dollars on. That government officials spend money on sinful things is thus their own fault and the burden of that sin is on them, not on me.

        Similarly giving money to an employee also leaves the decision up to the employee. The employee has discretion about whether to purchase contraception. This is precisely the same way that there is no sense in which I am morally liable if my employee decides to take his pay check to buy a gun and shoot the president.

        But if I were to buy a sniper rifle for my employee who then used it to shoot the president, you can bet your ass that I will feel guilty (and very dirty). The same could very well be said if I let my employee charge all his purchases at the sports store to my tab. In fact, if I were required to cover my employee’s tab at the sports store, wouldn’t you be able to see why I would prefer if the tab covered only non-firearm purchases?

        Suppose instead of insurance, the employee directly consumed the contraception which the employer then had to cover the tab for. Having to cover the tab for the contraception is a lot like directly buying contraception. Buying insurance which covers contraception is a lot like directly covering the tab for contraception. In all three instances the employer is complicit in the purchase of contraception. This turns out not to be the case in other sorts of ways.

        Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @murali,

        when the employee goes out and purchases the rifle and uses it in an attempt to murder the president, it’s a violation of both law and social norm.

        When a woman uses contraception, she’s being responsible; she’s doing something legal and something the law says is private. (Medical privacy is granted by HIPPA. While some social conventions, mostly religious, don’t approve of some or all of the medical practice associated with contraception, it’s not only legal, but better for the health and well being of the individual women. It makes society better by dozens of metrics.

        Additionally, while I understand we have a 2nd amendment right to bear arms, I cannot imagine even conservatives approving a law which mandated employers purchase sniper rifles for their employees. And while there is a strong second-amendment right for guns, I’ve argued repeatedly (and with almost no recognition of that argument, btw) that the ability to control fertility is central to women’s ability to be equal. And while a gun might be necessary to make some people feel safe, owning a gun does particularly do anything to improve one’s health and well being unless you count getting out into the woods to hunt. Contraception is necessary to women’s health and well being.

        So I simply find this argument nonsensical in just about every way possible. It sounds good, but fails to withstand reasonable scrutiny.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @james-hanley : here’s the thing:
        It is an established matter of law that your number 2 option is closer to number 3 than number 1. This was implied when congress and the president enacted the ACA over alternatives such as Wyden Bennet or Single Payer, and made explicit by the supreme court in NFIB v. Sebilius.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @murali–Sorry I didn’t remember who it was so I could give you credit where credit was due.

        @zic–your response skirts the meaning of the argument, which is about whether the employer has any complicity when they provide something as part of compensation. Focusing on legality, social acceptability, real likelihood of being enacted, and employees’ need are relevant in the larger picture, but they don’t actually address the actual point Murali’s making.

        @alan-scott–Regardless of congressional intent and SCOTUS’ Sebelius decision, in the HL decision it seems to me that SCOTUS said it’s not actually established by law. Maybe it should be, but I don’t think in the aftermath of HL we can actually say it is. (And whether it is established in law or not, it’s legitimate for people to argue the law is not what it ought to be, regardless of which side of the issue they’re on, and regardless of what the issue is.)Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        which is about whether the employer has any complicity when they provide something as part of compensation.

        So is the employer complicit if the employee uses their compensation to pursue any other activity? What if they use some of their compensation to pay a hit man to kill the owner?

        This is just nonsensical.

        I can compare beating your wife to a pulp with an employer-provided crowbar to swatting your child’s hand away from an electrical outlet with an employer-provided piece of paper. Morally, it’s as meaningless a comparison as the sniper rifle and contraceptives. It only gains traction under the auspices of accepting that any woman does not have the right to say what happens to her own body; that these forms of contraception are akin to murder.

        At it’s heart, we keep coming back to which is the priori obligation. I presume you think your right to bodily integrity takes precedence; that someone else’s religious beliefs couldn’t stop you from defending yourself if you were being physically assaulted or force you to undergo some type of mutilation against your will. Yet an unwanted pregnancy does both those things to women.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @jaybird

        Yelling is one thing. Suing and winning is quite another. Would SCOTUS even hear a case in which a Quaker sued to have his tax monies refunded to him since they paid for war, a violation of his religious beliefs? And if they did hear it, what do you think their decision would be?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Let me grant two things.
        1. Women’s need for contraceptive/reproductive care outweighs others’ right to not contribute to women’s access to such care.
        2. As a for-profit corporation, HL can legitimately be compelled to provide access to such care in any health insurance package they offer.

        Even with that, you make three identifiably wrong arguments.

        1. My use of my wages makes my employer complicit.
        No, not even remotely true. If I use my wages to hire a hit man, nobody’s going to blame my employer for paying me the wages I used to do so, and my victim’s family isn’t going to be able to successfully sue my employer for paying me those wages, and he will face no criminal liability. The employer is not complicit in my decision and action.

        On the other hand, if my employer gives me a coupon or voucher for hitman services, he will be blamed for my decision and actions, the family will certainly be able to sue him successfully, and he will face criminal liability. The employer is conplicit in this case.

        As a society, in how we evaluate these things, and how our law treats such things, we’ve already answered this question definitively.

        2. I presume you think your right to bodily integrity takes precedence; that someone else’s religious beliefs couldn’t stop you from defending yourself if you were being physically assaulted or force you to undergo some type of mutilation against your will

        Yes, I have that individual right. But the individual right of self defense does not impose obligations on others; nobody has a duty to assist me in my self-defence, not even by handing me a defensive weapon.

        You keep talking about your right to integrity, to make your own decisions, but that’s not something we’re actually arguing against. The issue is whether somebody has an obligation to assist you with the means to effectively make your own decisions. You think they do, because your need trumps their preference. So you don’t think the distinction is important. And that’s fair. That’s your real argument, which you weaken and obscure by pretending that very real distinction doesn’t exist.

        3. Someone saying, “I don’t want my dime to go to your activity X is not identical to them trying to make damn sure you don’t do X. It’s a hindrance, no doubt, but not wanting to pay for contraceptives us not identical to trying to prevent any access to contraceptives–it’s not the same as seeking a ban on contraveptives.

        None of those bad arguments are necessary for your argument. They’re rhetoric, not good arguments. I can support your rejection of HL’s arguments while still recognizing that those arguments are false.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @james-hanley

        I contend that this is a skirmish in a long game to outlaw abortion. It’s not only about establishing a religious exemption from women’s right to self-determination, it’s also about establishing life as beginning at fertilization (instead of implantation), limiting legal services based on others’ beliefs instead of the individual’s beliefs, and establishing religious preference over actual fact, just like in Galileo’s day.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Would SCOTUS even hear a case in which a Quaker sued to have his tax monies refunded to him since they paid for war, a violation of his religious beliefs? And if they did hear it, what do you think their decision would be?

        Well, the federal courts heard the case, ruled “nice try”, and when it was appealed up to the SCOTUS, the SCOTUS declined cert (which, in this case, is easy to interpret as “we don’t see any reason to gild the lily”).

        So assuming that they accepted the case, I’d say that they’d say the exact same thing: “nice try”. Probably even with 9-0 or 8-0 numbers.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @james-hanley
        2. Hobby Lobby is required by law to pay quasi-directly/indirectly.* They have to pay for insurance coverage that includes contraceptives.

        Except that’s *not* what’s happening. Hobby Lobby is not required to provide insurance. If they do provide insurance, they are not required to cover contraceptives.

        They are merely required to do that *if they want a tax deduction*.

        As I said in the other article, (after you left it, I think), the idea that the government can offer a tax deduction for something, and you can declare such a thing is against your religion so you won’t do it, *but you get to take the tax deduction anyway*, seems rather dubious.

        Dubious, but entirely possibly correct under the RFRA. The RFRA is *very* crappy law to start with, and the court might be *actually correct* in interpreting such an idiotic law that way.

        Now, the Supreme Court is *wrong*, as corporations cannot participate in an ‘exercise of religion’, but they’re barely wrong, in a way everyone should expect this idiotic ‘corporate rights’ court to be. The main problem here was the RFRA, which should result in outcomes like this. (Except those outcomes should only be for human beings.)

        And, as the Supreme Court has basically just declared anything to be an ‘exercise of religion’ under the RFRA (If paying insurance premiums is, what isn’t?), so you can wander around demanding the government show a ‘compelling governmental interest’ in *every* law, *and* that they can’t do it in whatever way you claim infringes on your exercise of religion, or that law is gone.

        Of course, as evidenced by drug laws continuing to exist, or the Quakers continuing to have to pay all their taxes, the Supremes don’t *actually* think *human beings* should be able to use this idiotic law.

        However, after this case, I suspect that at least a few courts will *start* ruling in very interesting ways about the RFRA (I suspect the government will have a hard time even *coming up with* a compelling governmental interest for a large percentage of things they do, much less that there are no better alternatives), and the Supremes will indeed have to take up a few of those cases.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @jaybird

        I think that puts you and I in agreement, then… If I’m understanding you correctly. We’ve privileged a particular religion (Christianity) and a particular objection of that religion (birth control). Now, maybe justice and freedom demands we extend that privilege to more folk. But it does seem fair to wonder why that particular religion and why that particular objection and it doesn’t seem wholly unfair to wonder if systemic biases are at least part of the answer.

        Thoughts?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        As we all know, the RFRA originally passed (overwhelmingly) because of the hammer of the law came down on one of those miscellaneous religious that are out there. You may be surprised to find that Christians leapt to defend the religious freedoms of people who wanted to take “drugs” as part of a religious ceremony.

        As such, I’d say that we’ve privileged “organized morality” over the individual’s claims to conscience (if the individual were atheist or agnostic or merely completely unaffiliated and unwilling, for whatever reason, to hitch his or her wagon to one of the popular horses out there).

        I’m a fan of recognizing the individual’s issues of conscience as being on par with those experienced by people who agree with a critical mass of other people.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @jaybird

        I agree fully on the issue of privileging “organized” beliefs over individual ones.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

      James,

      Is Damon’s “why should I have to pay?” argument reasonable? Is your “respect for religious beliefs” argument reasonable? Is the “now women won’t be able to have consequence-free sex” argument reasonable?

      I mean, I know that you think you’re a reasonable guy (and you are!), but I don’t think that just because you disagree with a bunch of people on this that they’re the ones being unreasonable. Seems to me you simply disagree with folks on this and you think they haven’t made defensible arguments for their views. And importantly, we all disagree with you about whether they’ve made good arguments or not.

      Just par for the course on meaty political issues, if you ask me.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        Is Damon’s “why should I have to pay?” argument reasonable?

        I didn’t read it that carefully, so I’ll probably butcher it in responding. But assuming I grasped it right in my cursory reading (and Damon’s invited to correct me if I misstate his position), he isn’t interested in the distinction between being forced to pay for it privately, vs. being forced to pay via general taxes. To give his argument it’s due, then, I’d say that–contra the egregious error LWA made–that he’s distinguishing between public provision of public goods vs. public provision of private goods. And that’s reasonable. It’s not dispositive, but it’s based on a legitimate distinction, so it’s not unreasonable.

        Is your “respect for religious beliefs” argument reasonable?

        Obviously I think so. Assume we non-believers are wrong, we’re asking people to offend the omniscient, omnipotent, and angry god. And that’s not a fringe belief just held by a small group of certifiable nutjobs hiding out in the mountains, but a pretty mainstream belief. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say, OK, I won’t try to force you to violate that belief.

        You and I would find it objectionable to be required to give a gun to someone who we suspect might be of a mind to go kill someone, both so they can go target shooting for relaxation and so they can go kill someone if they’re of a mind to. Whatever the objections to the claim that these contraceptives are abortificants, that’s exactly what these folks believe god is telling them. And if we have no way of proving that god isn’t telling them that, it’s not unreasonable to not force them to go against that belief. That’s my position, anyway–we’re obviously not talking about objectively verifiable truths.

        Is the “now women won’t be able to have consequence-free sex” argument reasonable?

        You mean religious people seeing that as a good reason? No, I don’t see that as reasonable. Is anyone here suggesting that it’s reasonable to want to control other people’s lives that way?

        And, come on, condoms are cheap. Not that condoms solve all the medical issues that contraceptives do, but they’re actually better for consequence-free sex than, say, RU 486, because the latter offers no protection against STDs. So, if Christians are actually making that argument, they’re making an argument that is in fact verifiably wrong. And for the same reason, I suspect that those who are claiming that’s the general Christian position are probably wrong. (Which is not to deny that there are some people making the claim, but so far what we’ve been alerted to mostly is conservative talking heads making the claim, probably less out of Christian belief than out of the economic value they gain from trolling liberals.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        that’s exactly what these folks believe god is telling them. And if we have no way of proving that god isn’t telling them that, it’s not unreasonable to not force them to go against that belief.

        Hmmmm. So the whole argument (which you don’t believe yourself but are attributing to others, which is fair enough – more than fair, really – but something I just wanted to mention) rests on whether we can “prove” god’s non-existence. That seems like a strange way to go. For example, suppose I could prove god’s existence *but* it turns out that he/she/it thinks that abortion and birth control are hunky dorey A-OK? On the other hand, in the absence of a proof of god’s nonexistence, I can still cite the consequences and logical problems entailed by preventing women from having access to birth control. I mean, I could make *that* argument. Cuz, you know, I have.

        So I don’t understand what role a demonstrative proof of god existence/non-existence plays in any of this. Folks hold all sorts of religiously motivated beliefs I think are cow-dung. And I hold those beliefs believing that if there were a god, he/she/it wouldn’t establish such irrational, arbitrary, and – frankly – juvenile rules. The two things aren’t mutually exclusive.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Moderation?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        If you can prove they’re wrong about what god wants, then their claim fails. I wish you could, but obviously you can’t.

        And sure you can repeat the harms to women. Who’s saying you can’t? And a Christian can keep saying, “sure, that’s bad, but it’s not eternal damnation and torment.”

        And that’s why the argument doesn’t extend well to discrimination against homosexuals. I don’t know of any religion whose theology or doctrine says that working alongside homosexuals is a sin, and hiring a homosexual does not involve one in aiding homosexual acts. It’s not like making compensation include a subscription to a dating service for gay people.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        Are we this close to saying that issues of conscience are bullshit? Or merely that other peoples’ issues of conscience are bullshit?Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Stillwater says:

        @stillwater

        Agreed on the basis for First Amendment values/religious pluralism. We do and should want to extend that tolerance even to religious beliefs we can disprove. The whole point is to acknowledge a realm of unique sincerity and volatility, not substantive uncertainty. Substantive uncertainty pervades public policy debate, but the volatility of conflicts among religious beliefs doesn’t, or shouldn’t. So we extend the special tolerance to al sincere religious belief, even dis provable ones. But even then, there are limits to the concessions we make.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Stillwater says:

        @jaybird says, Are we this close to saying that issues of conscience are bullshit? Or merely that other peoples’ issues of conscience are bullshit?

        Is it possible that, in the case of HL, there’s misappropriation of conscience? Women’s conscience being appropriated by employers based on religious belief that may or may not be the belief of the employees in question? (And HL employees with a family plan, that could potentially include wives and daughters who are not employees).Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        If you can prove they’re wrong about what god wants, then their claim fails.

        Dude! If they can’t prove that they’re right about what god wants then they’re wrong.

        And actually, they have proven it wrong over and over. Fibers from two fabrics. Banished for two weeks. Pi. 1+3.Shellfish. onandonandon.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Are we this close to saying that issues of conscience are bullshit? Or merely that other peoples’ issues of conscience are bullshit?

        Jaybird, I’m pretty close to calling *your* issues of conscience bullshit, cuz I can’t unnerstand a single one of them. Except that you don’t like liberals.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        Just pass some laws for my own good, then. If I break them, legally you can have me jailed and if I resist, you can have me killed!Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Stillwater says:

        @james-hanley
        Actually, what I was responding to was this:

        “perhaps you’ll be good enough to tell me why it’s right and just and moral for a group of people, minority or majority, to take my money to spend on something I’m not willing to spend it on myself? And please don’t use the “we” decided it or “that’s the price of society”, because that’s bs.”

        If you want to hammer and pound that argument into a principled distinction between roads and IUDs, hey, go for it. I sure didn’t see anything like that in there.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Ahh, the Righteousness of Libertarians!!!Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        It’s always somebody else’s fault!Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        Dude! If they can’t prove that they’re right about what god wants then they’re wrong

        I’m speechless.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Why are you speechless? *You’re* the one who proposed a condition on the social acceptance of their beliefs. I didn’t. I’m perfectly happy to say that their beliefs have merit regardless of the justification. So when you say the burden is on me to disprove their GAWD, I’m inclined – as I was – to say that they’ve already demonstrated that the Word Of Their GAWD has been subverted. And also that they need to demonstrate its existence and all that nonsense.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        @lwa

        So your assumption is that Damon wouldn’t be willing to spend money on roads? Or public goods in general? Has he ever said that? Have you thought about asking him whether that’s the case?

        I suspect it’s not the case, and that you’re way off base. But there are a small number of libertarians who oppose public spending on–or maybe just don’t even believe in the concept of–public goods, and I suppose it’s not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that he’s in that camp. So asking him, instead of assuming, seems the smarter way way to go.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        Stillwater,

        *You’re* the one who proposed a condition on the social acceptance of their beliefs.

        As in the other thread, I have to ask, are you responding to something I wrote? Because in both cases I don’t recognize the claim you’re imputing to me.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Dude, you wrote

        If you can prove they’re wrong about what god wants, then their claim fails.

        !!!

        Given what you wrote, how can you be confused about this and how can you attribute some confusion to me?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        Yeah….I still don’t even begin to understand how your previous comment makes any sense.

        And honestly, I’m no longer interested. I think you and I have been here before; not this topic, but this kind of argument, and I don’t want to reiterate that history.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        James, it’s very clear. At least by an appraisal of the words written. You said that the only way to defeat Religious views is to demonstrate that the word of their God is false. I’m objecting to that standard. There are plenty of other ways to object to *those words* than refuting the impossible. ALsotoo, there are practical, real world, empirical considerations that might – and I think do – trump some of those religious claims. And on that score – at least with respect to gay marriage – I think you agree with me.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        Hmm, no. I guess I wasn’t clear. Sounds like a good reason to bow out right now.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Stillwater says:

        @james-hanley
        Well, first of all, thats….exactly…what his words suggest.
        But OK, lets be generous- lets assume we insert “private goods as opposed to public goods”

        It still is a weak argument.

        Why is it illegitimate for us to vote for example, “Be it Resolved, every employer shall buy their employees a bus pass”?

        Unwise? Maybe. Unnecessary? Debatable.

        But the argument isn’t saying anything of that sort. The argument as presented was attacking the legitimacy of the process itself. That it would be illegitimate for the majority to do such a thing, regardless of consequences.

        Again, this is a remakably convenient argument, to attack a decision as majoritarian, while ignoring everything else.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        My support for same-sex marriage was because it was an issue of conscience for me.

        If I believed in a god, I’m pretty sure that I’d believe in a god that also saw marriage as an important institution that should be extended to any persons who wanted to be partners for life.

        Issues of conscience strike me as pretty important. Important enough to not want the government to interfere with them if it doesn’t have to.

        The availability and accessibility of birth control for anyone who wants it is also an issue of conscience. I’m coming to the conclusion that birth control ought to be provided by the government because that seems to be the most elegant solution to the 5 or 6 issues of conscience that are pushing into each other’s space here.

        Which, of course, doesn’t make it an elegant solution in itself… but when we start playing the “let’s say that certain people’s issues of conscience are bullshit” game, we might find ourselves on the wrong end of a Supreme Court ruling.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Nice, Jaybird. I’m on board with that. I mean, I’d go a bit further, but this is a peaceful middle ground to rest and regroup.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        but when we start playing the “let’s say that certain people’s issues of conscience are bullshit” game, we might find ourselves on the wrong end of a Supreme Court ruling.

        That’ll happen. It’s all part of the deal, no?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        @lwa

        Let me begin by making one thing clear. I’m neither defending nor critiquing Damon’s argument, which I haven’t even read in full. I’m only critiquing what you’re saying about it, which I think is an unjustifiable misinterpretation.

        So, let’s go back to his words.
        “perhaps you’ll be good enough to tell me why it’s right and just and moral for a group of people, minority or majority, to take my money to spend on something I’m not willing to spend it on myself?

        And in reference to the claim that he doesn’t believe in spending on roads, you’re claiming that “Well, first of all, thats….exactly …what his words suggest.”

        But his words don’t suggest it. He’s saying he’s not willing to pay for someone else’s contraceptives, a private good. There is no reference to any type of public good, roads or otherwise. Not even an oblique hint.

        So how do you get that interpretation out of it? If you think maybe he means that, as I said, ask him for clarification. But don’t go around claiming that’s what he means when he’s said no such thing.

        As to the distinction between public provision of public vs. private goods, I see no point trying to discuss that with you. Your position is very communal, so naturally you’re not going to see it as a meaningful distinction. And that’s ok. But you’ve never demonstrated an interest in being really intellectually honest in a discussion with a libertarian–as you’re not being with Damon now–so why would I expect anything better from you this time around?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        James,

        He’s saying he’s not willing to pay for someone else’s contraceptives, a private good. There is no reference to any type of public good, roads or otherwise. Not even an oblique hint.

        You’re right about that. Damon hasn’t specifically said he’s unwilling to pay for roads or other public goods. What he’s done, tho, is propose a necessary condition on the provision of those public goods: that one actually, in fact, consents to providing for it. An that’s a radical proposal, it seems to me. It means that a sufficient condition to nullify the legitimacy of any taxing structure is that someone objects to it. If that were the case, all of government would halt. Which, to be honest, I think Damon would view as an improvement over the status quo. (I might be wrong about that, acourse. 🙂 )Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        Well, you get back up and you keep fighting (fsvo “fighting”), of course. And, yeah, every loss is temporary, etc. but stuff like this is a measure of how much the culture has (or has not) been persuaded to change.

        If this SCOTUS ruling has changed anything, I think it has changed attitudes about single payer among employers. So maybe it’s a victory there. I imagine we’ll find out in the coming years.

        If I’m thinking about Supreme Court changes, significant ones, from the post New Deal era, the biggest one is between Bowers v. Hardwick and Lawrence v. Texas. That’s, what? 20 years? I can’t think of a shorter turnaround.

        If things are going to change, they’re going to have to change in the culture first. Maybe the internet will help speed things up.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        @stillwater,

        As I said to LWA, you could ask him if that’s what he actually means.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        Christamighty. You’re saying that the words people write aren’t enough to infer what they mean, I have to ask them what they intended?

        This language thing is so much more complicated in the internet age.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        You’re saying that the words people write aren’t enough to infer what they mean, I have to ask them what they intended?

        I’m not even sure how to infer your meaning here. I can think of a couple ways. One way, you’re being simple, the other way, I’m being a humorless tool.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

        @james-hanley

        James, I appreciate you defending me a bit in this thread. I’m not the best writer around and I think you’re just a tad better at explaining your position than I am with mine. But since you and @stillwater have been discussing my views, allow me to be very specific.

        I lean to hard libertarian/anarchism, and in general:
        I consider all gov’t action to be questionable because it’s backed by violence and that there is no material difference between the mugger in the street and the IRS agent.
        I oppose gov’t involvement in marriage, abortion, and foreign escapades, among other things.
        Yes, in an ideal world for me, I’d prefer no gov’t involvement in roads, schools, healthcare, etc.

        I don’t expect others to think the same, but I try to make them understand that their desire to use gov’t “for good” is a fancy way of saying “do this because we force you”. I find support of those positions appalling because the business end of that force is a gun…a gov’t gun. For those people that refuse to appreciate this fact, don’t pay your takes for a few years. Failure to comply results in prison or worse. That’s why I found Tod’s comment about “one person’s freedom vs another’s freedom” so annoying. Neither has any freedom, they are just fighting over the spoils. Both positions are wrong in my opinion.

        I don’t think we’ll ever get to a point in time where my views are the majority, but I think if we moved in the direction I advocate, America would become a better place. Nor am I so rigid that I think we have to have some pure “libertarian utopia” to make things better. Yall just moving a few degrees down my direction would be pretty good for a start. 🙂

        Peace out!Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        See, all we had to do was ask for clarification. And now we know. I think I was more wrong than Stillwater and LWA, but that’s no bother.

        Thanks, Damon.Report

  4. Avatar zic says:

    If the men ‘splainin want to listen to one women’s view, as explained to Hanley in the previous thread:

    My preferred view would be to interpret the exercise of religion as a very private set of behaviors; you agree to them, you practice them, and the government does not interfere with or, when it must, does so in the least obtrusive manner.

    So the correct balance of rights, in my view, would be of a woman’s right to decide her sexuality morals in accordance with her religion; not someone else telling her how to behave in accordance with theirs. She has the right to decide if abortion is moral or immoral; she has the right to decide if an IUD would cause an abortion if implanted in her body, she has the right to decide how to space her children. She has the right to abort a pregnancy.

    Women do not have equal access to opportunity of they do not have the ability to control their pregnancies. Before contraception, women had babies, men made the decisions and wrote the laws and history going back to the beginning of written history. Until women has access to contraception in the 1960?s, they were subjugated by their biology.

    Since the 1900?s infant mortality and maternal death declined have dropped dramatically. Remember, though, it’s the same medical advances that decreased both mother and child deaths that gave us contraception. We welcome the first two legs of that stool, nobody wants young women to die giving birth, nobody wants little babies to die, but this stool doesn’t balance out without the third leg: contraception, which allows women to have equal access to opportunity.

    We don’t need as many babies, so women don’t need to experience as many pregnancies; they are preventable via preventive medicine provided by our health care system, including its transaction system. That’s what women use, and it’s ease of use matters. Extra steps beyond signing up for insurance and a doctor increase barriers to access.

    The change in birth and survival rates, the economic benefits making contraception available are obvious. In country after country, we’ve seen things improve when women have better ability to control their reproduction. Birth control creates equal opportunity for women, without it, they can never be equal. It’s a net good. It lifts people out of poverty.

    These are women’s individual moral decisions to make. It is the most basic essential right that of bodily sanctity that women have; without it, they are not equal; and history has shown us that very thing. The stool requires all three legs to support equal opportunity.

    And it seems to me that people just do not understand this at all. Basic human right. Without it, unequal. Obviously unequal through all of history until sometime around 1985*.

    *This is reference to a notion I have that historians, sometime in the future, will have a era reference as before/after Christ. The new year 1 will be the year more when <50% globally of women had access to contraception, education, and voting.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

      it seems to me that people just do not understand this at all.

      Yes, we all understand those dynamics. It’s a bit insulting to claim we don’t.

      Those are the reasons why I am 100% in favor of legal access to birth control. That’s why I’m not bothered at all by government providing it through my tax dollars (after I get done making sure my tax dollars aren’t used to imprison pot smokers, or kill people at wedding parties because my country wants to impose regime change, or subsidize businesses that should stand or fall on their own, then I might bother worrying about whether subsidized birth control is an important enough violation of my libertarian ideals to bother worrying about). It’s the reason why I’m not arguing that publicly traded corporations should be exempt from the requirement.

      I’m just unsure about whether closely held corporations should face the requirement. And I think there are a lot of people like me. But because we only go 95% of the way with you, and balk at the last 5%, it seems we’re deeply misogynist and/or too stupid to understand the connection between birth control and women’s opportunity. That’s what has me so pissed off–there’s an ideological purity test being imposed here, and 95% is a failing score.

      Or maybe it’s less than 95% of the way? Where do you stand on the example I used in the other thread, of Grace Bible College? Would you impose the requirement on them? If not, then aren’t we really just talking about a case at the margin?

      That’s a serious question, too, not just rhetorical. You said religion should be private. How private? Is Grace Bible College private enough, or should they, too, be subject to the mandate? If this is a fundamental right, was Obama wrong to give an exemption to non-profits?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        I’d say that there’s no clear answer to that question James, given the confusions around private and non-profit and for profit closely held and all that nonsense. All those varying shades of absolutism work against you, actually, it seems to me. You want to argue that there’s some principled level of privateness that exists in US law, but that ship sailed long ago. Seems to me a fools errand to base an argument on those distinctions.

        THose of us who oppose the HL ruling seem more interested in the practical effects and consequences – and the arguments justifying those effects and consequences as legitimate – of the decision and how it was decided. It certainly strikes me as prioritizing religious beliefs above any role a corporation is legally obligated to play as well as the rights to equal treatment women under the law In short, it seems like activism. At least as I understand Alito’s argument.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        Actually, what I wrote isn’t quite right. I said it sounds like activism, but I think there’s a way to make it not activism, and that’s to treat the scope of the free exercise provision in the first amendment as identical to that of the free speech protection. That is, just as gummint cannot make any law abridging (yadayada) speech it can’t make any law restricting the free exercise of religion. Unfortunately, tho, I don’t think any of the supremes made an argument equating the scope of the two clauses.

        I made this argument to Mark T, actually, and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with his answer. I mean, the language governing the two clauses is identical, yet – for some reason! – legally-minded people view the two dimensions of law as having a different scope of applcation.

        🙂Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        I’d say that there’s no clear answer to that question James, given the confusions around private and non-profit and for profit closely held and all that nonsense.

        Thank you! Exactly my point.

        All those varying shades of absolutism work against you, actually, it seems to me.

        No, because I’m not the one being absolutist here. I’m the one repeatedly saying it doesn’t seem so cut and dried, that it’s difficult.

        And yet this is the second time the charge of absolutism has been directed at me. How great is that?

        You want to argue that there’s some principled level of privateness that exists in US law, but that ship sailed long ago. Seems to me a fools errand to base an argument on those distinctions.

        No, the ship’s still there, it’s just considerably smaller, as it’s been chipped away at. Grace Bible College is still allowed to refuse to hire non-Christian faculty, and the Baptist Church down the block from me can still refuse to sanctify same-sex marriages.

        We’re just still debating how much of that privateness still remains or should remain. But saying it’s simply all gone–that the whole ship has sailed, 100% gone–there’s our absolutist statement.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

        Ehh, OK. I mean, I think you overlook the role of outcomes here, and are over-emphasizing the role played by a priori reasoning and all that. But still, I’m willing to agree with that analysis of where we disagree. I just won’t concede that we can agree to disagree. If anything, you’re strident push for a justification of the religious exercise defense for closely held corporations has made me *less* inclined to accept the decision.

        That’s not your fault, of course. I just think the decision is bullshit on a bunch of levels and you’ve clarified a few of them for me.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        I didn’t understand one bit of that response. Were you actually responding to anything I said?Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to James Hanley says:

        James, the problem is that to get to the result the majority reached here, you have to take at face value the claims of the plaintiffs that the behavior required of them substantially burdens their religious practice in a way that can’t be generalized without downright crazy results. The fact that religious opposition to contraception is so contrary to public health and women’s equality is just the icing on the cake. HL’s argument basically goes like this:

        1: My religion forbids me from paying for insurance policies that cover contraception
        2: If I don’t provide such policies to my employees, I will be heavily fined.

        That’s it! Why won’t this same logic apply to pacifists that don’t want to pay taxes, Jehovah’s witness that don’t want to pay for insurance that covers transfusions, or religious employers that want to discriminate against Gays in hiring? The only real answer I’ve heard is that the prohibition against being a party to abortion is somehow a bigger deal than these other religious teachings, but since when are we happy with the Supreme Court deciding what parts of religious doctrine are really important or not to that faith?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Don Zeko,

        No disrespect, but I’m already responding to too many other people to take on a new discussant.

        And I have already answered those questions as I see them. They’re scattered around, so I understand if you haven’t seen them. And I suspect they wouldn’t persuade you anymore than they’ve persuaded Stillwater, zic, etc. And that’s ok, too.

        Just, putting that all together, I hope you’ll understand that my declining to substantively engage you isn’t meant dismissively. It’s really a matter of how much energy I have.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley

        You probably don’t want to be disrespecting someone with Don in their name 🙂Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Saul,

        Oh, crap, I thought he was just Spanish!Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley says:

        You don’t want to mess with the Don Cossacks either.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley None taken; I realize that I’m late to the party here.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Fashionably late, as always?Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley I would hope!Report

  5. @tod-kelly ,

    First, I agree with @james-hanley ‘s tripartite framing of the issue above.

    Second, I stand to be corrected, and I’ve read most, but not all of the recent HL posts, but I don’t recall James arguing about the expense. In fact, I think I recall him going on record as preferring government subsidized BC to the scheme prescribed by ACA. And government subsidy would likely affect his “wallet” much more than the ACA scheme would.

    Third, I find your post more an argument about how to draw priorities. If, for example, we were discussing whether it’s more important to focus on the issue of our subsidization of a lot of the bad things you’re describing, or focusing first on paying for BC, then yes, we should focus first on the bad things and not worry about BC. (But again, I’ll go back to James’s “tripartite” formulation above: at least in a formal sense we are discussing the things he mentions. And as long as that–and not, say, our tax dollars funding capital punishment–then the practice of indirect/direct payment for BC is open for discussion.)

    Fourth, here is one point where you and I (and maybe James and others?) can find some common ground: The HL decision brings up some interesting, important issues about RFRA, religious liberty in general, the limits of conscience, the standing of closely held for-profit corporations, und so weiter. But after and while all that is being discussed, and after all the fears of slippery slopes, etc., there is something at stake for women that for men like me is less immediately pressing, and that is presumably this decision could, and perhaps in practice does, make obtaining and paying for BC more difficult. To bring up expenses and “principled objections” resonates well beyond the basic issue at play to the issue of women’s reproductive freedom. And the resonance, at least for some people, is impossible to differentiate wholly from the issues presented by the HL decision.Report

  6. Avatar zic says:

    moderation in all things including moderationReport

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I concur with your view.

    Though I do question when this will lead to a single-payer system. The cynic in me thinks when I am very old or long gone from this world. I rather don’t understand the massive resistance that a large chunk of the U.S. puts up to single-payer healthcare as compared to the rest of the world. There have been various attempts at single payer since the Wilson administration or at least since Truman. Earl Warren’s greatest political defeat was trying to enact a form of single-payer in California alone when he was governor. All these attempts met nothing short of massive resistance.

    Hobby Lobby’s concerns would be easily resolved by having a single-payer health insurance but I’d bet money that they would also be part of the effort to fight tooth and nail against universal health care.Report

    • I, too, am confused about how all the resistance is supposed to lead to single payer. It seems premised on the notion that insurance companies will lose so much money under an ACA-style policy that they’ll want to lose even more money or be put out of business altogether by a single-payer policy or “robust public option” as some advocate for.

      As to this:

      Hobby Lobby’s concerns would be easily resolved by having a single-payer health insurance but I’d bet money that they would also be part of the effort to fight tooth and nail against universal health care.

      I’m not so sure. I can imagine business sense being what it is, companies that are now required to provide insurance might wish for a system that relieves them of that requirement, and maybe that is what Tod means by the ACA inching us toward a single payer system.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        There general history of health care politics makes my bet make sense. There might be some exceptions including surprising ones but most big businesses seem to usually come out against single-payer/universal healthcare.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        Saul:

        I honestly have no idea why they’re opposed. You’d think they’d be thrilled to get rid of the headache of picking plans, administrating plans, harassing employees to enroll yearly, dealing with employees who forgot, harassing the insurance company on behalf of employees, and generally spending an awful lot of time dealing with ‘health care’. Other than the folks actually providing health insurance, it’s really not their core competency and they’re wasting time and effort and money doing it.

        Maybe they think they’d have to go use wages to compete for employees, but right now we’ve a slack labor market and frankly there’s been massive downward pressure on how many frills a health care plan has anyways due to rising costs.

        The fact that businesses, by and large, have not lined up with “OH GOD PLEASE YES JUST ADD IT TO THE FICA TAX AND DO SINGLE PLAYER” is beyond me. I doubt it’s ideological objections, so obviously they feel it’ll cost them money somehow.

        I’d just love to see the assumptions they’re making to get those numbers. My employer heavily subsidizes my healthcare, paying more than half my premiums as part of my compensation package. If you just tacked it onto FICA, the employer half couldn’t be worse than a 50/50 split. Net win for them, you’d think.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        @morat20, there are several simple explanations on why businesses men that aren’t in the insurance industry are opposed to single-payer. One is class solidarity. The CEOs and executives in other industries are part of the same same class as the CEOs and executives of the insurance industry. They simply might not want to have the government harm other people in the same the class.

        Another explanation is that executives might not like the precedent set by the federal government nationalizing one of the biggest industries in America. They might feel that it would pave the way for other nationalizations or regulations of industry. A third explanation is that they might really believe that private industry can provide health insurance and care better than the government.Report

      • @saul-degraw

        I really don’t know much about the history of health care reforms, but I would be very, very surprised if a significant number of businesses didn’t support it. Maybe not a majority, but a significant minority. I suspect the dynamic is more along the lines of a few businesses having very much to lose, and a lot seeing the whole foray as a perhaps a desirable, but not an immediate benefit, and also perhaps noticing that the coalition arrayed against national health care also protects what they see as their other interests. Perhaps the latter point is similar to @leeesq ‘s point about class solidarity. I hedge on that, though, because “class solidarity” among businesses doesn’t strike me as “simple” at all.

        You’ll note that in what I just wrote, there are no facts. So maybe I’m off base about how it all shook out.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        @gabriel-conroy, imagine it more as class interests among the wealthy than businesses per se. The wealthy are probably not going to be enthused about anything that could potentially hurt the wealthy in general even if they themselves aren’t directly harmed. Many people are making fortunes from many aspects of healthcare. Medicare for all would really limit this. Naturally this gives many wealthy people, a reason to fight against Medicare for All. Even if a wealthy person won’t be directly impacted by single payer, they might not be happy about the idea of government limiting profits in a particular industry.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      A lot of the reason why the United States doesn’t have universal health care has nothing to do with opposition from ordinary people but from the fact that our political system on the federal and state level gives political minorities ample opportunities to gum up the works and prevent things if they are really passionate about it. Opposition to universal healthcare or other welfare state measures is something that political minorities have long felt very passionate about.

      At the same time it is true that many Americans do oppose single-payer. One reason for this is simple racism but that isn’t the only explanation. Lots of ordinary Americans have long accepted capitalist arguments. The associate capitalism with America and socialism in all its variety with everything non or even anti-American. Its a fear of being like other countries particularly European ones.Report

  8. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    My feeling on this case is that I personally think birth control is awesome for any number of reasons…but I also think semi-private or private companies have a right to make decisions that are best for them and their beliefs and employees can quit if this makes them uncomfortable. My daughter is not very religious but she works for a small Christian-owned companies and they do some things she doesn’t like too. She has told me, “If it ever crosses a line with me I will find another job and quit.” Seems easy enough.

    On the birth control angle, while I understand all the arguments about access to family planning be important to women’s rights, I cannot help but wonder what’s next if employers were not allowed to stick to their moral beliefs. I think you know where I am going here…the big A word. Should a privately-held company be forced to provide insurance that allows a woman to abort? Because that falls under the ‘family-planning’ umbrella for a lot of people but yet is far more distasteful than telling someone they have to provide access to birth control pills.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I’d like to see Hobby Lobby told that, since they claim there’s no difference between an IUD and an abortion, and they need to cover IUDs, they’re going to have to cover abortions too, That might shock some honesty, I mean re-evaluation of the actual evidence, out of them.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Here is another thing I don’t get about the my wallet argument.

    The money in your wallet comes from the government and would not exist without the government. Unless you are Emperor Norton that is and I don’t think anyone here is Emperor Norton.

    The government prints the money. The government controls monetary policy to makesure that the value of the dollar does not rise or fall too rapidly. The government guarantees that the money has value and provides courts to oversee disputes involving money. Money requires trust in the government.

    I don’t get the idea that it is somehow theft that the government takes a portion back in taxes. When I hear libertarians and conservatives make the “my wallet” or “my money” argument, I feel like they have a fantasy of printing out the money themselves in their heads.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      @saul-degraw

      The money itself might literally come from the government, but the purchasing power that the money is a symbolic representation of does not. People are simply using the name of the symbol to refer to the underlying concept.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to James K says:

        That depends on what you consider the origin of money to be. If you accept the barter explanation of the origin of money than thats correct. If you find truth in the idea that money was original an abstract unit of value that was given physical form by government than it is incorrect.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to James K says:

        @leeesq

        No, either way the value money symbolises is different from the money itself. as Adam Smith pointed out all those years ago the Wealth of Nations is dependant on the productive capacity of the nation, not its supply of currency. Some government activity can certainly improve that productive capacity, but money’s value comes from it acting as a claim on a share of a society’s productive capacity and printing currency doesn’t affect that capacity.Report

    • @saul-degraw

      I’m not completely against the argument that those who have, have what they do in large part because others help them to have it. I suspect that those who have a lot probably are shielded from, or they decline to acknowledge, the ways government, for example, helps them obtain what they have. A trucking business uses roads paid for by tax money, for example (even if the trucking business has to pay extra taxes, the roads themselves were built and largely maintained by tax money from others, as well). And that, I think, is one argument for some sort of progressive taxation scheme.

      I don’t think it follows, however, that *all* or even *most* wealth comes from the government.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      “I don’t think anyone here is Emperor Norton.”

      I eat at his pizza place, does that count?Report

  10. Avatar trizzlor says:

    One thing that’s getting lost in the “not with my wallet” debate is that SCOTUS pretty explicitly said that the government *can* force religious employers to cover certain procedures, birth-control just doesn’t happen to be one of them. By noting that immunization and blood transfusions “may be supported by different interests” SCOTUS has essentially taken on the role of a public-health policy expert that decides which medicines are compelling enough for the government to force on employers and which are not. Having nine judges play doctor is scary enough, but the decision should be especially offensive to libertarians because it creates the worst-case equilibrium mentioned in the previous thread: open access for most and restricted access for few, arbitrarily decided by the majority.

    From a libertarian stand-point, the best ruling would have been to allow corporations to object to whatever they want. After enough employees had their vaccination or transfusion rejected, public consensus would quickly move to socialize these procedures or weaken the RFRA. The second-best ruling would have been to allow corporations to object to *nothing*, and when the public saw enough employers going out of business to avoid funding procedures they abhor, they would quickly move to socialize these procedures or strengthen the RFRA. Instead we get something along the lines of “only rude speech is forbidden”, except in this case the compromised group happens to be an entire gender.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to trizzlor says:

      Triz,

      I’m not sure I completely understand the second paragraph, but I want to sign on to the first one. Seems to me that at the end of the day if there weren’t a majority of SCs sympathetic to the idea that contraception is IMMORAL we wouldn’t be having this discussion. And why do they think it’s immoral?Report

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Stillwater says:

        Yeah, I’m being unclear. I think if your goal is to have maximal liberty then you either want the courts to decide for maximal liberty directly (obviously) or to decide strongly against it so the public can see how bad the alternative is and over-rule the court. What you don’t want is a decision that effects an already-marginalized minority and leaves the powerful majority intact; that may be a short-term increase in liberty but it’s a long-term loss. For example, if the 1st Amendment didn’t exist and the court was debating free speech, the worst thing they could do is rule that “only rude speech is forbidden”, because it would take a very long time for people to realize how flawed such a restriction is. Whereas a ruling that “all speech is forbidden” would cause a democratic society like ours to immediately see the flaws of the decision and work to undo it. So aside from the fact that it’s just weird to have the SCOTUS weighing in on public health policy, this kind of ruling is generally bad for people pursuing maximal liberty because it leaves the current power imbalance in place.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Stillwater says:

        Honest question:

        Do women in the 21st century in a first world country count as a marginalised minority?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:

        Considering that a large chunk of the GOP seems to think that women are being sluts/whores and uses such language to describe them for being against Hobby Lobby, I would say the answer is that they are still marginalized in very important ways.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Stillwater says:

        @murali that’s why the contraception mandate exists. Also mandated were maternity care, breast-feeding care, domestic-violence screening and counseling, STD screening and counseling, gestational-diabetes screening and care.

        And each because there was reams of evidence showing how women continued to be poorly served, with a scatter shot of requirements that varied greatly by employer choice.

        I was young and actively using contraception in the late 1970s through 1990, even when I had A+ insurance that paid virtually all my medical bills, my prescriptions for BC were out-of-pocket; and because I have migraine, I required expensive prescriptions.

        I won’t diminish the plight of women in some parts of the world; but I think those women deserve the same access to BC that women here deserve. My policy goal is global access on demand, no matter where a woman lives. It is her private medical decision. And when women are allowed the right to keep that control of their lives, the economies of those nations rapidly improve. We’ve seen this over and over.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

        Hmm. Well, statistically they should make up half the CEO’s and half of Congress.

        They don’t. That sounds like they’re pretty well shut out of political and business power.

        Maybe “marginalization” means something specific to you, but I think a good first approximation is “Is this group represented on all levels of society in proportion to their demographics?”. We don’t see enough women in Congress — state or federal. We don’t see enough in upper management.

        That then leads to the question of “why” which goes to “babies and families and stuff, women is too busy for power!”. Then, hilariously, we tell them their health insurance won’t cover “not getting pregnant”.

        I’m pretty certain I’d feel kinda screwed in that position, but I’m a dirty hippy.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Stillwater says:

        @zic @morat20

        I’m pretty sure I don’t want to use the word marginalised when it comes to “has achieved formal parity on all fronts and substantive parity on many, but not all fronts”.

        When I think of marginalised groups, I think of LGBT people in Singapore in which sodomy is still illegal, the government still censors non-negative references to them and a substantive majority of the population is openly bigoted against them.

        It might reflect a poverty in our vocabulary, but there should be a word that describes the almost there but not quite yet status women have in the US.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Stillwater says:

        @murali , I think “marginalized” works fine to describe women in our society, but that’s because the proper comparison is against men in our society rather than any random group you want to point to worldwide. And I think I would use the word “oppressed” to describe the status of LGBT in your society.Report

      • @murali

        I think it’s best to consider “marginalized” as part of a spectrum. Women in the US today are not as marginalized as women in the US in 1914, and women in the US today are for all I know much less marginalized than the GLBT people in Singapore you mention (I’m leaving aside the fact that the L’s, and many of the B’s and T’s are also women). But I think we can point to many ways in which women in the US now are more marginalized than men are. Saul has mentioned one way. You, responding to Morat, mention that you don’t expect exact parity. Neither do I (and I have a strong dislike for the “at least 50% of the population” sloganeering), but I would want to see more parity than seems to obtain now before stating that women are not still significantly marginalized.

        Another way I’d mention is what used to be called the “feminization of poverty,” or the apparently higher correlation of women in poverty vs. men. I know way too little about that issue or the literature surrounding it even to know how true it was/is, but my working hypothesis is that the lower one goes on the income scale, the more women are marginalized and the less power women have compared to men.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Stillwater says:

        @gabriel-conroy

        I thought it was men who occupied the lowest rungs of the ladder? Having to do with worse educational attainments (at least on left tail of the distribution). I remember hearing something about men disproportionately occupying the extremes of poverty and wealth.

        But its rather late for me now, so I won’t do the google search until I wake up in the morningReport

      • @murali

        I really don’t know, to be honest, and if what you say is true, that changes my perspective somewhat.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

        Based on this, it varies by state, has a slight tilt toward women. I’d suggest the bigger issue than the strict distinction between gender, which is not big, is that women are more likely to be single parents, making their poverty even more difficult.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Stillwater says:

        “…if there weren’t a majority of SCs sympathetic to the idea that contraception is IMMORAL…”

        They’re sympathetic to the idea that when Congress passed the RFRA, they understood what it meant and agreed with it. The question of the morality of contraception was never at issue in the Hobby Lobby case; what mattered was whether the Greens et al‘s belief in its immorality was sincerely held.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Stillwater says:

        he question of the morality of contraception was never at issue in the Hobby Lobby case; what mattered was whether the Greens et al‘s belief in its immorality was sincerely held.

        No, that wasn’t what mattered at all, apparently.

        It wasn’t challenged. I was pretty much just asserted and accepted.

        (This is… I think… a problem)Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Stillwater says:

        Patrick, you say that you have a sincerely-held belief that private property should be protected from warrantless search but I don’t think you really mean that. I think you just want to smoke pot and get away with it. I mean, come on, everyone KNOWS you’re a stoner.

        (Or is it only okay to invent sincerity tests when it’s people we don’t like?)Report

  11. Avatar Damon says:

    And I object to all these and more Tod, not because I disagree with the programs, it’s because the funding for it is take from me by force.Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Damon says:

      I think this is a non sequitur, Damon. We’re talking about a requirement that employers provide certain types of insurance coverage for their employees, not direct public provision of said insurance, so it’s not being funded by your tax dollars. If it was, HL wouldn’t have a case at all.Report

  12. Avatar Kolohe says:

    People who think single payer will cut through the Gordian knots of health care policy seem to be unfamiliar with the so called Mexico City policy of successive Republican administrations.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

      Acting like they’re at high altitude and not getting enough oxygen?Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’m not sure if it’s the “Totally retool the rules” part or the “Appoint a horse judge to the head of FEMA” part.

        Democrats, ideologically, are of the belief that government can work and can do good — and thus have a vested interest in making that true. Republicans, at least these days, seem to feel it can’t — and so don’t bother so much.

        I became a democrat, all those many years ago, out of sheer pragmatism. I’d rather vote for the guys who want it to work — even if they’re wrong — than the guys who won’t even bother to try.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        It’s “we’re not going to use federal funds to pay for abortions, abortion counseling, or anything else we don’t like” and when we get to the point when federal funds are paying for everyone in America’s healthcare and Republicans take the white house again,, there will be epic lulz.Report

    • Avatar dhex in reply to Kolohe says:

      it will be an amusing moment when it arrives, as well as the snapback from the snapback, as it were. everyone loves executive power!

      i’m fairly sure the entire healthcare industry presumes some form of single payer will arrive in the next 15 ish years, or at least a vastly expanded roadmap there, depending on how poorly the ACA works/”works”*. also depending on how paranoid you are/how prescient you think bureaucracies are. and what the public appetite for healthcare that “works” is vis a vis opposition to it e.g. “socialism!” or whatever the particular guiding light of the opposition’s memplex will be at that moment. maybe the exchange model expands, who knows?

      personally i’d like to see a decoupling from employment, but i’d also like to fly a pig into outer space and taste the rainbow of god’s imagination something something lsd something something.

      * works generally means, in the context of the general public and healthcare “i got better and it cost me $30, max”. i don’t think we’re going to get a lot of that kind of “works” because it’s largely unpossible after age 28 or so.Report

  13. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Perhaps I should do a post to expand on this, but is everyone here aware that almost every one of the 20 BC methods on the mandated list has non-trivial alternative uses for women that have nothing to do with pregnancy or the prevention thereof? As a matter of fact, doctors being the creative & clever people that they usually are, most drugs & devices have alternative uses that are not always aligned with the commonly known ones.

    Since the why of a doctor deciding to administer a particular drug or device to a woman is absolutely NO BUSINESS of an employer, I am not sure how or why anyone has any business defaulting to the position of “No one should be required to pay for a lifestyle choice”. There is a very good chance said persons aren’t.

    Let me turn this on it’s head. Almost every single chemo drug used today will, without question, cause a woman to abort & miscarry an unborn child. If we are all going to be honest about abortion drugs & what not, then HL should also refuse to cover Chemotherapy for any female.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      I know Russel discussed this at length in one of the many converstaions about his a whiel ago. I tend to think pro-HL tend to dismiss this entire topic or don’t really care. Many common psych drugs also are really bad for pregnant women and often aren’t used on them. I agree that medical choices should be between a doc and her patient.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to greginak says:

        . I agree that medical choices should be between a doc and her patient.

        Ideally, yes. And as far as birth control goes, plausible. But when we’re asking others to foot the bill, or more precisely, the more we dissolve the link between costs and benefits, the more problematic that becomes.

        That’s not an argument that employers should know or have a say. It’s about social costs of healthcare. Giuliani wasn’t exactly wrong about big gulps–if society’s covering your diabetes medication, maybe they can tell you how much soda to drink. Not your employer, but the insurance company or the gov’t or both are going to come between doctor.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        “Look, I understand that its main purpose is perfectly acceptable, even laudable, but you know what the possible unintended consequences are, and I can’t be responsible, even indirectly, for the death of a human being.

        “So stop asking. I am not paying for your car insurance,”Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to greginak says:

        @james-hanley I didn’t like Bloomers soda bucket ban but if there is some truth in all that, it is that very few things any of do don’t in some way affect others. Even if i do something that is just a contract between myself and someone else, which might not affect anyone else, the rules and systems that advantage or disadvantage that contract certainly might affect others. In terms of health care every successful plan and every bodies ideas all involve some sort of risk pooling. It is the nature of trying to get everybody health care that our choices are going to affect others. There do need to be bright lines about what we can ask of others to cut down our own costs. It seems to me like the “it costs me money so you need to stop” argument is made just as much by people trying to stop/prevent universal care as those trying to fix other peoples health.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to greginak says:

        See, not only do you not understand what I’m saying, but I don’t have any idea what you’re saying. It’s just like marriage.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to greginak says:

        Greg,
        My point is just that once you pool medical risk, it’s too late to talk seriously about medical choices being only between a doctor and her patient. Somebody out there is already intervening by determining what medical choices will be covered and which won’t. And it has to be that way, because once we sever the cost/benefit linkage for the patient, there’s no incentive for the patient to consider costs, which means patients will overbuy compared to what they would have out of pocket. The point of pooling the risk is, of course, exactly to enable people to to that…but only up to a point or the system is bankrupted. So the very nature of pooling risk necessarily entails a third party being involved in the doctor-patient decision-making.

        All we can work on then is limiting who gets to be in the third party position (e.g., not the employer) and how much information they can have about individual patients. And that’s very important, obviously. But medical decisions being just between the doctor and patient, without any third party weighing in on what treatments the patient can receive? That’s not on the agenda, and it never will be, so we might as well be upfront about that in our discussions. We’re debating who and how, not whether.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to greginak says:

        I’m curious about this concept of medical “customers” who are “overbuying”.
        Where do we see this happening?
        I do see doctors overprescribing in response to inducement from durg companies or fear of malpractice.

        But where do we see people getting unnecessary medical procedures, just because they are free?

        A rhetorical question for everyone here- if tomorrow all non-cosmetic medical procedures were totally free, which one would you rush out to get?Report

      • Avatar Guy in reply to greginak says:

        @lwa I’d get some new glasses, for one. My current pair works pretty well, but it’s not precisely perfect. I’d like to see it improved.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to greginak says:

        @james-hanley

        I am not asking my employer to foot the bill, he is offering to do it in order to remain competitive in his ability to attract talent & to get a nice tax break in the process. It may not be a very attractive choice, but it still very much a choice.

        Taking Caesar’s coin & all that.

        Now I am happy to have a discussion as to the wisdom of continuing the corporate taxes on employee compensation, and the possible contribution such are having on the wage stagnation in this country. But as for people being upset over having to cover things they object to, tough*. You want the tax break, you play by the rules, and as of the ACA, the rules say you need to cover these things.

        *This is even more so when the things objected to have significant alternative uses in the realm of health care. A woman I care very deeply for uses one of the objected to methods to manage debilitating pain. It’s problem quite common with a significant percentage of the female population, so it’s more than possible that many of the women working for HL will have to seriously consider changing jobs, enduring horrible monthly pain, or trying to pay for the treatments out of pocket.

        Whose choice is more significant? The corporate leader who wants to salve his moral/political mind, or the women who would like to make it through a month without having to spend 3-4 days of it suffering cramps that would make your eyes cross?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to greginak says:

        LWA,

        It’s well-established that it occurs. See here, to start. See also antibiotic overuse.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

        @james-hanley Linky no worky.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to greginak says:

        Just google “overuse of medical services.”Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to greginak says:

        @james-hanley
        I did exactly that.
        I found several studies documenting over use of medical services.

        All of which consisted of doctors prescribing more than necessary medication or services.

        None of which showed “customers” demanding more than necessary stuff.

        Medical care is not a toaster. Its fundamentally different than consumer products, in that its the one product that no one wants to use, or need.

        No one is going to the doctor demanding a spinal tap or kidney removal, just because Obama is reaching into Damon’s wallet and showering everyone with his hard earned money.

        Everyone reading the blog has insurance. Your insurance company offers free or virtually free checkups and dental cleaning.

        You are literally being offered free stuff- services that are valuable, yet cost you almost nothing!

        Yet how many people in here use these free services to their maximum?

        If every person in America had the same deal, what would change?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        One way to look at it is the use of “heroic efforts”. Doctors themselves, as I understand it, generally decline the use of these heroic efforts when given the option when they themselves are the patient. They prefer the whole “make me comfortable, tell my loved ones to buy plane tickets” thing.

        This is from a report from the 90’s but I don’t reckon that much has changed since then:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1464043/

        Last-year-of-life expenses constituted 22 percent of all medical, 26 percent of Medicare, 18 percent of all non-Medicare expenditures, and 25 percent of Medicaid expenditures.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to greginak says:

        LWA,

        So much wrong there.
        1. Doctors aren’t just supply; as agents for the patients they are also demand.
        2. If doctors overdemand as patient’s agents, patients have no incentive to constrain them because they, the patients, aren’t bearing the full costs.
        3. Nobody’s claiming that people are rushing out for spinal taps or kidney removal just because they’re not being charged, and the only possible reasons for implying that anyone’s claiming that is dishonesty or idiocy.
        4. Nobody’s claiming people are going to maximize their use of medicare care, just that at the margin there will be excess demand. Anyone who’d paid attention in their micro class would understanding marginalism.

        If you want to discuss it more, argue honestly and intelligently. Otherwise, just forget it.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to greginak says:

        So if a doctor overprescribes, the PATIENT is supposed to push back??
        Seriously?

        Why in the world would we want to have patients do that?

        Doctor- “I’m worried about that lump- lets have an Arglebargle test, with a treatment of hoopteycillin.”

        Patient- “Are you sure? That sounds expensive- I think a Loopenhaur test is better, with a single shot of Glabnitz, the generic version.”

        If doctors are overprescribing, it isn’t because of patients- its due to other factors, none of which can be cured by forcing the patient to share the costs.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to greginak says:

        LW- Many people do want meds to help them out; mostly things like anti-biotics, anti-anxiety and various meds for child behavior problems. I’ve known many people like that. That people do that doesn’t invalidate any arguments about companies pushing treatment or the need for Uni HC. Many people get massively in a snit if they can’t get an anti-B for their sick kid even if it won’t do anything. Is that all about who pays, i’d say somewhere between meh and maybe. Lots of middle class people pay for all sorts of stuff that has no effect. I’d guess they would pay for Ritalin and anti-b’s if some website said to. People like taking pills to fix things. That really is mostly separate from any other argument.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to greginak says:

        LWA,

        Well, I’m sure an architect would understand it better than the economists and health care policy folks who’ve actually studied it. Particularly an architect who’s too lazy to make any attempt to actually understand their analyses.

        Your genius is wasted on designing parking garages. You should be the president’s chief economic and health care policy adviser.Report

    • @mad-rocket-scientist

      Does HL object to insurers providing BC for non-BC purposes? Is HL seeking insurers who won’t cover those medications at all, or just for birth-control related issues? (I really don’t know the answer here, but wondering if you do.)Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

        @gabriel-conroy

        AFAIK, they are objecting to the drugs/devices specifically, not the implementations thereof (i.e. they are assuming that any woman seeking such is using it for the purposes of contraception).

        This makes sense because even if my employer is self insured, they have zero right to know why my doctor is prescribing a given course of treatment. As long as the treatment meets with whatever the insurance guidelines are, it’s covered.

        Of course, if anyone is OK with your boss having a say in whether or not you get that shot of penicillin for the nasty VD you picked up during your last business trip to Thailand, we can have that discussion, but I bet most people, once the implications are more fully explored, would just rather have the boss sign off on the shot, and just leave the why out of it.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      @mad-rocket-scientist

      One of the biggest mistakes of the litigation was that the Obama administration did not challenge the view that the BC methods in question are abortifacents. The science generally shows that IUDs prevent eggs from being fertilized in the first place, not that the abort fertilized eggs. It seems that the Obama administration though it would be too politically risky to tell Evangelicals that they were wrong on the science.

      This allowed SCOTUS to ignore the science/evidence. I think this was a mistake.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        As I understand this, it was because originally, there was some notion that these BC’s would also prevent implantation (which they will,) if an egg is fertilized, and that’s what’s reflected in the official government descriptions of their process. Additional research has shown that this, if it happens, is extremely rare; that they in fact prevent fertilization; but since the official government records had not been updated, there was some reason to not have this be part of the primary defense by the admin., and instead, supporting evidence. (I may have well mangled this.) My question would by why the official explanation of action hadn’t been updated; if there was incompetence, that’s where it probably rested, and it may have been because of timing (I’m sure there’s a process there,) a public-commenting/response delay, budget cuts and lack of staffing, as well as simple failure how central this research was to grounding the BC to its underlying science.

        But it really doesn’t matter to me if they don’t prevent fertilization; a fertilized egg is not a pregnancy; it’s not a human, and never will be without a uterus to develop. Use of that uterus requires its owner’s consent.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @saul-degraw

        I would have simply countered any such claim with evidence of the fact that the contraception in question has significant alternative uses not related to conception, and since the employer has no right to know if a prescription is for one cause or another, allowing an employer to deny such coverage based on a belief not steeped in medical or actuarial science is to unfairly burden those who may rely on such alternative uses.

        Although given the RFRA & the existence of the non-prof work around, I doubt even that would have worked.

        The fact that they went after corporate personhood instead is what smacks of incompetence to me, given that CU was so firmly decided by the conservatives & Kennedy.Report

  14. Avatar Patrick Bridges says:


    No real libertarian would be arguing that they had any claim to other people’s property. The whole point of the HL case is that the gov’t is forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.

    @damon “Other people’s property” is carrying a whole lot of water here, though. This is especially true if you’re going to hold a hard libertarian/anarchist position against public goods and services (e.g. air, water, defense, police, etc.) contra @james-hanley.

    It seems to me that the real difference between Damon and Zic is how they value equality of opportunity. Zic is saying that providing women equality of opportunity with men requires given them free, effective contraception. Damon views that as taking something from him. So the key questions I have on this, particularly for Damon, are:
    1. Do you agree with Zic’s historical analysis that access to contraception has been necessary to give women equality of opportunity with men?
    2. Are you willing to require women to pay more than men (by paying for their own contraception) to have equality of opportunity?

    Or to put a sharper point on it, would you summarize your view contra Zic as “FYIGM Y chromosome”?Report

    • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to Patrick Bridges says:

      Moderation rescue?Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Patrick Bridges says:

      @patrick-bridges nice comment, except this bit is inaccurate:

      Zic is saying that providing women equality of opportunity with men requires given them free, effective contraception.

      First, my base argument rests on equality of opportunity for all women. In the specific instance of HL, the ‘for free’ part is incorrect; it’s not ‘free,’ it’s a preventive service covered by insurance premiums, and part of her compensation. She’s paying for contraception via the premium risk-pooling that pays for every other preventive medical procedure; she’s receiving it without having to pay additional co-pays, just as your kids receive vaccinations without additional co-pay. It’s not free; it’s included in the premiums that are paid as part of her employee compensation.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic says:

        Fair enough – TANSTAAFL. Free was basically shorthand for “spreading the cost of contraception for women equally across both genders.”

        My larger point is the difference between goal and mechanisms for achieving it. Specifically, my understanding is that Mr. Hanley agrees that the goal is appropriate, but is concerned about the mechanism for achieving it under the ACA, and its implications to religious freedom. I’m not sure that Damon, on the other hand, would agree that the equality of opportunity goal is even appropriate. That’s the distinction I’m asking about.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        @patrick-bridges my interpretation of @damon ‘s desired policy would be that yes, she’s free to use any form of contraception she wants, but it’s her burden to acquire it and nobody who provides medical care should be forced to supply it if the opt not to. She can get it, if she’s able. They can provide it, if they want to. If she wants it, in a free market, providers would be there to provide it.

        This sort of ignores the social traditions and mores that hem her in; it’s predicated on her having enough personal resources to be able to procure the transaction. And if she doesn’t have those resources, any children she might have are subject to the same resource shortages she experiences.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to zic says:

        @zic
        In general you’re correct in your understanding of my position, with one exception. Should the woman in your scenario be unable to pay, she may solicit charity, and I am free to give it to her should I wish. The key to all this is VOLUNTARY action.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to zic says:

        @Patrick Bridges
        Oh dear Jeebus I wish I was “IGM” in the FYIGM. Then I wouldn’t be on this site pissing and moaning in reaction to how much money is taken from my pay. I’d be living the high life somewhere cool and pleasant. 🙂

        See below for my comments to zic, which I think is on point to your comments.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic says:

        @damon (for the record, I meant that as “FY I got my Y chromosome”)

        So just to be clear: Are you saying that you’re opposed to government trying to provide reasonable equality of opportunity? You’re comfortable with people without a Y chromosome having to pay more to have the same reproductive control of those born with one? You believe that a government setting up a (e.g. a Hanley-esque single payer) program to provide equal opportunity in this regard is pure theft? Isn’t (government) people with guns forcing you to pay child support not just another mugging in your view?Report

      • Avatar Veronica Dire in reply to zic says:

        @patrick-bridges — You’re reducing gender to chromosomes, which is a mistake. There are people with Y chromosomes who are not men.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic says:

        Fair point, @veronica-dire. My apologies for not being more precise on the terminology. Looking at GLAAD’s terminology guide, it look like I meant sex as opposed to gender.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to zic says:

        “Are you saying that you’re opposed to government trying to provide reasonable equality of opportunity? You’re comfortable with people without a Y chromosome having to pay more to have the same reproductive control of those born with one?”

        Uh, “have to pay more for” is not “denied opportunity”. I have really bad eyesight, and so I have to buy glasses, which a normally-sighted person does not; does this mean that the government’s refusal to provide subsidized glasses amounts to a denial of my ability to see?Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to zic says:

        Lots of insurance plans pay for eye care and glasses. Those that do not choose to provide don’t provide it for everybody. They don’t say we’ll just cover eye care for guys or women or Christians or Jews.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to zic says:

        “Lots of insurance plans pay for eye care and glasses. Those that do not choose to provide don’t provide it for everybody. They don’t say we’ll just cover eye care for guys or women or Christians or Jews.”

        Ah-heh. Try again, bro. To be accurate you’d have to say “some insurance plans will pay for plain glass lenses but not for radial keratotomy, therefore I’m being denied access to eyesight”.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to zic says:

        Huh? If you didn’t have access to an expensive procedure that would save your eyesight then that would be a problem. If you insurance wouldn’t pay for your ExpensiveEyeSurguryectomy then it would be fair to say they were denying you the care you need to save your eyesight. Glasses are often purely decorative and aren’t needed.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to zic says:

        “Glasses are often purely decorative and aren’t needed.”

        And if women want contraception they can just buy condoms, right?

        (Don’t forget which side you’re arguing, here!)Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

        Jim,
        the problem with condoms is all the pricks poking holes in them.

        Is it rape if you say yes, but didn’t consent to impregnation?
        And had reason to believe you were being cautious?Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        @jim-heffman

        My insurance pays for my glasses, at least in part, and with a co-pay. It always cost more for me because of the upgrades I do; more expensive frames with springs on the ear pieces and transition lenses. And I’m required to wear them when I drive, too. But that same insurance didn’t cover my contraception. Insurance covers viagra, and nobody required this. They just did it. Why is that?

        Now contraception coverage was required (at least that it be offered, it often cost more), in more than half the states. Most larger employers purchased plans with it, so probably didn’t realize it wasn’t covered for some of their neighbors.

        But here’s the thing: it’s something every woman needs (and the mandate covers more then just contraception, it was a basket of goods). You name me one thing that the majority of men would require that was not covered by standard insurance. Because women’s need for comprehensive reproductive care is critical to their health and well being, they paid for most of it — this varies by state, remember — out of their own pockets; and this includes maternity care, the cost of having a child. This is the most common life-threatening thing that women face; and a century ago, maternal and infant deaths were extremely common; it’s not getting a cold or stubbing your toe-level medical care.

        This meant that women were paying substantially more for their essential health care then men were; and it took a tremendous economic toll; it’s like extra penalty on top of the income gap; setting women just a little further behind in increments that end up in the hundred-thousand dollar range over a lifetime. That’s a lot of money that women have to pay as penalty for being female and having children.

        Health insurance, since it became a commodity people purchased, has always been regulated at the state level. So we have 50 years of data (1960 to 2010, last census,) to look at how those outcomes vary by the availability of contraceptives; under a host of scenarios that the different states tried. And beyond any shadow of a doubt, women who had easy access to complete health care services (excepting abortion, that’s mostly paid for out-of-pocket), have the best outcomes; they’re better educated, they have more stable marriages, their children do better, their have more wealth. There’s a significant difference.

        So you are welcome to your religious beliefs. But I will advocate for the policies that I see have worked based on 50 years of experimenting.

        But here’s the real problem with all of this: it’s not free. You’re objecting because you’re having to pay. Well, she’s paying, too; it’s not free to her. She’s paying for it through her premiums just like you pay for your annual colonoscopy through your premiums. Because both are basic, preventive health care, and under ACA, which just happens to be the law, preventive care is provided without co-pay. But that does not mean it’s not free.

        Remember: women know just much contraception cost then; a lot of us had been paying for it ourselves because for too many, it wasn’t covered. Most of us know of other women who got pregnant because they couldn’t afford more reliable contraception; a woman who suffered a birth-control failure. Often, those condoms you’re recommending.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to zic says:

        Jim, the “I don’t understand all the various medical uses for contraceptives” debate has already occurred. Short answer; contraceptives have many other uses besides contraception. Even still the various contraceptives have many advantages over condoms. Contraceptives also require prescriptions or to be inserted properly (IUD). I would assume you can therefore tell the difference between those issues and little plastic baggies.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to zic says:

        Either the debate is about women’s sexual freedom or it is not. If it is, then the alternate uses for contraceptives are as relevant as using cocaine solutions for topically-applied anesthetic.

        zic:
        “My insurance pays for my glasses, at least in part, and with a co-pay. It always cost more for me because of the upgrades I do; more expensive frames with springs on the ear pieces and transition lenses. And I’m required to wear them when I drive, too.”

        So you are legally required to have your vision corrected to normal when you drive–and yet your insurance will only pay for certain methods of correction. So. Why isn’t that the equivalent of what Hobby Lobby is doing? Because their insurance plan provides quite a wide range of actual contraceptives.

        “But here’s the thing: [contraception coverage is] something every woman needs…”

        Please stop saying “contraception coverage” because that isn’t what you mean. You mean “abortifacient pills and IUDs”, because that is what Hobby Lobby actually refused to pay for.

        Which is why I brought up the vision plan. Your vision care insurance covers some things, but not others. Why isn’t that seen as “denial of critical vision services”?Report

  15. Avatar Patrick says:

    @james-hanley

    A Question?

    But when we’re asking others to foot the bill, or more precisely, the more we dissolve the link between costs and benefits, the more problematic that becomes.

    I still don’t see why this is even close to the case in the Hobby Lobby case and maybe I’m too thick to get it but I’ll give it one more try to explain why I think this is a crazy objection.

    I can pay you with A (money). Money is fungible. You can take A and do whatever you want with it, buy abortions, buy guns and ammo, send money to the starving children in Africa, put it in a little pile and burn it, buy contraceptive devices that are legal in this country.

    If I worried that paying you A might facilitate those things, I have to take care as to what sort of folks I hire. If I’m an employer concerned with morality, I’m probably going to take care as to what sort of folks I hire.

    I can pay you with B (benefit). Benefit is far less fungible than money. You can take B and do several things with it. One of those many things is buy contraceptive devices that are legal in this country.

    Now, you can say that this is a substantive difference. you said, “On the other hand, if my employer gives me a coupon or voucher for hitman services, he will be blamed for my decision and actions, the family will certainly be able to sue him successfully, and he will face criminal liability. The employer is conplicit in this case.” The problem with this rejoinder is that all of these things involve legal culpability and we’re not talking about legal culpability.

    We’re talking about moral culpability, which is an entirely different thing. Morality maps poorly onto the legal system.

    If the moral objection is that you bear a stain for providing access to something you find morally objectionable, that moral stain is exactly 100% the same whether you’re providing that access through A or B. If I give you a gun or a give you a bottle of pills, and you commit suicide with it, and I know you’re the type that might commit suicide, I’m complicit. If I don’t konw whether you’re the type to commit suicide I probably don’t have any goddamn business giving you guns OR knives if I care about whether or not you commit suicide with stuff I give you.

    Aside from that: I’ve never been in charge of determining what’s in the grab bag of B. That’s up to the insurance company providing the B. I can’t tell the insurance company providing the B that they can’t cover surgery, because I object to surgeries. I can’t tell the insurance company providing the B that they can’t cover abortions, because I object to abortions. I don’t get to do those things. I have never been able to do those things. I have historically been able to have a couple of competing providers of B, but in no way, ever, have I ever ever been able to dictate what B was. All I can do is choose to provide some version of B constructed by the insurance company, or not. Historically, the government has provided me an incentive to provide B by making it cheaper for myself and my employees by giving me a tax break.

    So as an employer, my alternatives are provide A and B, or provide A. B does not add any particular onus on my religious sensibilities that isn’t already imposed by A, because ANY thing that I object to that might be provided by B… surprise! Can be acquired by A.

    Now the government comes along and tells providers of B that they have to provide x, y, and z.

    Something that, in this particular case, they were already doing.

    What does this have to do with me? I am still not forced by the government to provide B. I don’t have to provide B. I have the choice to not provide B. People arguing about HL being forced to violate their religious beliefs really aren’t making that case. Hobby Lobby does not need to provide insurance to their employees. Indeed, they can opt out of doing so! Allowances have already been made for their religious objection!

    Hobby Lobby had to explicitly argue that they felt a moral compulsion to provide insurance to their employees in order to even make this argument work! Any bets on whether or not that moral compulsion argument will disappear if there’s a single payer system in the U.S. in 10 years?

    I am still not able to dictate to the providers of B what is included in B. I have never had this ability.

    I am still by the nature of paying my employees money facilitating access to stuff I don’t like, if I don’t take any additional steps to prevent them from acquiring it. If I don’t want employees getting abortions, I can actually require them to sign a contract agreeing not to get one as a condition of employment. Another special allowance has already been made for my religious objections!

    For all intents and purposes, nothing has changed!

    Except that the government is now regulating the insurance industry, of which I am not a member, to change the base package to include something by law that they have included by choice, since like, forever. A decision which, I might add once again, does not impact me at all as I still have, in the law, the ability to take advantage of other legal means that have been put in place in order to protect my religious freedoms!. A decision which, I might also add, changed nothing practically as I was already providing x, y, and z.

    Where is the actual BURDEN on Hobby Lobby, that isn’t already alleviated by the myriad legal options that are at their disposal? How far should we go to accommodate religious interests?

    Alito jumped to strict scrutiny because it got him what he wanted, doom for the government case. The government did a piss-poor job of arguing the case (it’s at best unclear to me that you were going to get a different result out of this court even if you ran the gauntlet an entirely different way altogether), I’ll grant that.

    The only thing that I’ve been able to glean out of the Hobby Lobby case is that the employer’s case rests entirely on “the feels are bad” and “I must do this thing, I just can’t do it your way.”

    Okay, now maybe it’s the case that the government chose to accept that on face value, and maybe it’s the case that the courts would accept that on face value either way. So maybe this is the inevitable legal result. I’ll accept that legal analysis argument. Fine.

    Is this really the yardstick we want in our interactions with the government, though? The fucking feels are bad?

    All of that TL/DR is setup for this… my question to the defenders of Hobby Lobby’s position…

    Do you, personally, seriously fucking buy this shit?

    I’m not asking if you think the argument holds water from a legal standpoint or anything.

    I’m just asking if you honestly believe that Hobby Lobby’s position has anything to do with deeply held religious beliefs (other than the religious belief that the Obama Administration is Evil and Must Be Opposed). This is a company that was already providing Plan B, and wasn’t going to sue until encouraged to do so by a third party for entirely political reasons.

    You can be in support of conscientious objection. I don’t have a problem with that.

    You can be in support of legal frameworks for support of religious freedom. I don’t really have a problem with that, either. You can have objections to the welfare state or whatever. Still no problem with that.

    Hell, I’m the guy arguing on the other thread that you can have your religiously themed for-profit corporation as long as you take the time to formalize that in your articles of incorporation instead of just granting religiously themed status to some for profit based upon how the stock is distributed.

    Which, if you ask me, is a completely insane standard that is clearly chosen for politically aligned outcomes rather than any rational basis and has unintended consequences that are pretty inevitable.

    BUT.

    The as-near-as-I-can-tell actual facts on the ground concerning this case is that a private entity is using privileged access to the legal system in order to infringe upon a large group of peoples’ choices under a completely bullshitted argument that has nothing to do with honest objections and everything to do with politics.

    Isn’t this the sort of thing that’s not libertarianish? Isn’t this fairly analogous to rent-seeking?Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Patrick says:

      @patrick thanks for getting at my point earlier — the objective here is not limited to providing these contraception methods; it’s religious objection to anything that interferes with a fertilized egg.

      This is about a woman’s right to decide what happens to her body if one of her eggs is fertilized; and the presumption on the HL side is that she has no right to self-determination once that happens; giving her this agency violates their deeply-held religious beliefs, and they have a political right to make their preferences the priori in law; it does not matter that it violates her bodily integrity.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to zic says:

        It’s not even about that; it’s about defeating ObamaCare. Women are just collateral damage.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        @mike-schilling women have been collateral damage since before written history. That’s the point. Because this just continues that damage, maintains the status quo, it’s not a problem. Women’s rights have always been infringed upon. Obamacare is a new whipping post for traditionalists resisting change.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic says:

        Obamacare is a new whipping post for traditionalists resisting change.

        In this particular case, I think it’s more about Corey Robin’s theory that conserativism is defined by attempts to preserve existing privilege and power structures, specifically, the privileges and power structures favoring white males. Which confirms your view if he’s correct. (I think he is, fwiw.)Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Patrick says:

      Wow. I need a cigarette. That was awesome Patrick.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Patrick says:

      I’m just asking if you honestly believe that Hobby Lobby’s position has anything to do with deeply held religious beliefs (other than the religious belief that the Obama Administration is Evil and Must Be Opposed). This is a company that was already providing Plan B, and wasn’t going to sue until encouraged to do so by a third party for entirely political reasons.

      Exactly right. And it’s not a coincidence that every single vote in this case is along party lines (though it would have been interesting to see what a Republican woman might say.) But for some reason we have to

      But for a Court that overturns one of most important civil rights statutes ever passed by claiming, in the midst of multiple states gloating about all the shit they’re going to pull once no one can stop them, that

      A. It’s no longer necessary, and
      B. It’s unfair to keep a special eye on the states that are the ones doing the gloating

      this is business absolutely as usual.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Patrick says:

      @patrick

      I was going to make a similar point, but you beat me to it, so thank you (I started to up above, with my comment on alternative uses for contraception).

      I do think you are right, that given the RFRA, the composition of the court, and the piss-poor choice of arguments the government made, the court decided the case “correctly”, such as it is.

      One thing, though.

      HL is self insured, so I think they actually can dictate what is & is not covered, since the ‘insurance provider’ is just administering the plan, not actually assuming the costs & risks.Report

      • They don’t have to self-insure, lots of companies happy to do it for them. They don’t manage their pensions, so have no trouble with those pesky investments in Plan-B and the IUD. (Sound’s like a band name.)Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @zic

        I know they don’t have to, but they do have the right to, and the fact that they do may change @patrick ‘s calculus a bit, so I wanted to put it out there & see if it does.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        HL is self insured, so I think they actually can dictate what is & is not covered, since the ‘insurance provider’ is just administering the plan, not actually assuming the costs & risks.

        This puts a different wrinkle on things, but it doesn’t substantively change much (indeed, it sorta drives a huge truck through the principled stand against anything if they were self insured and they’d already been offering these treatments in the past.)

        In any event, they aren’t required to offer insurance. The law is structured so that they can opt-out of providing insurance, and it will in fact (if my understanding is correct) cost them less if they choose to opt-out, so it can hardly be considered a burden for them to simply opt out of providing insurance at all.

        Which means that the only substantive difference in this case is that if they continue to offer health insurance, it gives them the paternalism access to tell people what kind of health insurance they can have.

        You know, if it was the government doing that, CATO would be screaming bloody murder (witness: everything written about PPACA by anybody at CATO).Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Patrick says:

      Do you, personally, seriously fucking buy this shit?

      Patrick,
      Awesome push polling question. You’re not honestly asking what I really think; you’re just signalling what the only acceptable answer is. That’s not a real invitation to a thoughtful discussion, so thanks, but no thanks.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to James Hanley says:

        No, James, I actually am honestly interested in your answer.

        Note that you don’t have to believe that Hobby Lobby is truly a wounded party to stand firm on all of the rest of the ideas that you’ve offered. Everything you’ve said applies to a truly honestly objecting party. None of it counters your legal observations, or even your principled observations, whether I agree with them or not.

        I just find it really hard to believe that anybody who has read all the backing material on this case believes that this is actually an instance of religious liberty infringement.

        Like, seriously. I know what a conscientious objector looks like.

        (edited to add)

        I’ll even give you this: you can say, “No, this doesn’t look like a real conscientious objector case to me, but I’d be uncomfortable with a legal framework that made it harder for people or organizations to conscientiously object to things. In fact, I think it generally should be easier, in support of religious freedom”.

        That’d be fine, too.

        I just am honestly incredulous that anybody thinks that Hobby Lobby has seriously a strongly held religious belief, in this actual case, that is being unjustly impacted by the gubmit.

        (/edited)

        So yeah, I do want to know if you believe ’em.

        If not, I’m curious if you feel someone regretful that your principled stand, in this issue, is coming to defense of a party that isn’t wounded, at all, in this case.

        I feel irritated when I standing up for the religious liberty of the Westboro Baptist Church, but I do it anyway because I think they have an honest alignment with their beliefs. That doesn’t mean that I cut them any more slack than they’re due, but I’ll grant them their due.

        But if the Westboro Baptist Church just came out tomorrow and said, “Aw, we’ve been punking you guys, we don’t even really believe in God, we just hate gay people”, I’d feel some regret, myself.

        This doesn’t mean that I would want to change the laws regarding picketing and public assembly. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t continue to argue that they should have the right of free assembly.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Patrick,
        You want an honest answer, but couldn’t be bothered to write an honest question?
        No, I don’t seriously, personally, fucking buy that shit.

        Anyway, Jaybird answered for me. Thanks, birdman.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

        As I pressed the “Post Comment” button, I found myself wondering how long it’d be before someone expresses sorrow at how I must have been abused as a child (or that my upbringing in itself constituted abuse).

        I mean, sure. You’re welcome.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Patrick says:

      I read this and I wonder “am I the only one here who was raised Evangelical?”

      I was the kid in jeans on the beach witnessing to complete strangers about the 10 Commandments and asking people if they knew what would happen to them if they died.

      I went to a church that considered politics to be fairly worldly but started jumping into the water with the abortion debate (here’s how cut off we were: I was 15 or 16 the first time I heard that Lee Greenwood song… I was amazed that everyone else at Word of Life Bible Camp knew the words by heart when I had never heard it before).

      All that to say:
      Yeah. I know a lot of people who believe shit that you wouldn’t believe they’d believe. It wouldn’t even occur to me to question whether they believed it.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        This. Because I was raised a conservative evangelical, too. Although fortunately not evangelical enough to have shared your beach experience (*shudder*).Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

        FWIW, I didn’t think Patrick was asking, “Do you buy that people believe that X is sinful,” or whatever.

        I thought he was asking, “Do you buy that what is really important to people challenging on the HL grounds is the precise mechanism used to purchase insurance/healthcare?”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Looking at it from that framing, I believe that these people are trying to avoid a complete surrender to the “Culture Of Death” and have moved from “trying to win” to “trying to not be complicit”.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        It seems he could have asked the question that way, instead of letting his inner push pollster run free.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

        Man, you really are feeling the heat on this one, aren’t you?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        I believe that these people are trying to avoid a complete surrender to the “Culture Of Death”

        Heh. Nice.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        Douthat has been trying to negotiate their surrender. Poor sap can’t even get a harsh 1919 peace for his bros.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        This is one of the echoiest chambers we’ve had here in a long time.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

        @james-hanley, I’m just glad to belong to a religion thats kind of fuzzy on the afterlife even in its strictest interpretations and doesn’t believe in proselytization accept among fellow Jews.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        This is one of the echoiest chambers we’ve had here in a long time.

        It’s either that we’re all just parroting each other’s views out a some weird tribal affiliation OR that you’re quite obviously wrong on a bunch of levels. Why you would presume to reduce people’s disagreement with you to “echoes” strikes me as either arrogant or defensive. I’m not sure which.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

        @james-hanley Probably so.

        Still, it seems like if we’re going to get down on any people who ask leading questions in thread discussions here we’re going to be eventually be down to North and the guy who gets caught in the spam filter who promises me I can get fake Ray Bans for cheap.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Another, kinder, way to say that is: you have you’re beliefs on this issue, and other folks have theirs. There’s no call to go lashing out at folks who disagree with you in an attempt to trivialize account for those views. Like you, they have their views.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        OK, fair enough Tod. I just resent the allegation that I’m nothing more than faintly recurring and ever fading echo (echo, echo…)…..Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        There’s no call to go lashing out at folks who disagree with you in an attempt to trivialize account for those views.

        [Add: Why you would presume to reduce people’s disagreement with you to “echoes” strikes me as either arrogant or defensive

        It’s not the fact of disagreement, it’s how folks are disagreeing with me. I’m being quite moderate (I haven’t even said, “the Court got it right”), and yet I’m being called an ideological extremist, told I’m throwing women under the bus, and linked with people who see women as subhuman. It’s the fact that my ambivalence on the issue is being treated as something horrible and extreme that makes this an echo chamber.]

        I love the taste of irony in the evening.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Explain.

        How am I trivializing anything in this discussion James? I’ve actually defended you in some of these threads. I take your views seriously, yet – believe it or not (and I don’t think you do) – I disagree with you.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Jaybird says:

        There’s no call to go lashing out at folks who disagree with you in an attempt to trivialize account for those views. Like you, they have their views.

        That calls for hippie punching:

        Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        Not you, but the response of enough others to me has been to lash out, and to try to trivialize my argument as simply anti-woman or ideological extremism.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        OK. Got it. I won’t disagree with that James. You’ve been subject to some rather unpleasant accusations to be sure.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        Wait, I just re-read. And what the hell does this mean?

        I take your views seriously, yet – believe it or not (and I don’t think you do) – I disagree with you.

        Are you suggesting that I really believe that you actually agree with me? That’s just weird, and totally wrong. At no moment have I had any reason to disbelieve your disagreement.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        No, I’ve never thought you agreed with me, or that I’ve agreed with you’re disagreement with me, or anything like that. I simply disagree with you, and by that I mean I disagree with your reasons, your premises, not merely your conclusion. That’s the part I was trying to focus on. (….focus on, …. focus on…..)……Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        The “echo chamber” thing has little to do with tribalism and nothing to do with tribal-driven beliefs. It has a lot to do with the narrow array of welcomed views in this discussion without some degree of insult (intended or not).

        It really is as remarkable as James says and I am really glad my participation here has been limited by not having computer Internet access. Despite the fact that I think I agree with the contraception mandate being applied to HL. I am simply not confident that broad but incomplete agreement is enough here.

        Maybe it is that variation of opinion here is indicative of something being wrong with you or your thinking (or “thinking”). Whatever the case, I got a daughter to feed and put to bed and I’ll wait for a conversation where disagreeing with the consensus does not involve throwing her under a bus.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        I dunno Will, I don’t think there are all that many dimensions to this case and the way it was argued and decided. I think we’ve just about covered it, really. So the idea that there are *other* views out there which haven’t been entertained or recieved due diligence doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

        I do think that confusing James’ belief that religious exercise protections ought to apply to closely held corporations out to be distinguished from attributing to him a form of misogyny. That’s a step too far, it seems to me, even tho I think it’s fair to criticize his beliefs on this topic as expressing a form of misogyny.

        But, maybe not. I mean, this stuff gets really confusing really quickly. I’m not sure how it’s supposed to shake out.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Moderation. Can someone help a poor American out?Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

        and yet I’m being called an ideological extremist, told I’m throwing women under the bus, and linked with people who see women as subhuman.

        James, have I done any of those things? I mean, I get that these threads lately have made you feel like you’re being ganged up upon, but have I done any of the ganging?

        I’m asking you a pretty straightforward question, and you’re refusing to answer it because I’m not asking it nicely.

        Okay, I’ll ask it nicely.

        I’m of the opinion that the case, as put forth by Hobby Lobby, would not survive the level of scrutiny that the federal government applies to Conscientious Objectors in the Case of War.

        I agree, for the record, that in the case of Conscientious Objectors in the Case of War, the government makes it too hard to state that you are, in fact, a Conscientious Objector, just for the record.

        However, even on the basis of “show me that you have demonstrated in the past an unwillingness to participate in this activity that you claim to find abhorrent”, for me, the Hobby Lobby folks not only don’t clear the bar, they don’t make the qualifying round.

        In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to show – again, to me – that Hobby Lobby really didn’t give two active thoughts about their subsidization of birth control prior to the government starting to regulate the insurance industry.

        So.

        While I get that you’re feeling like people are engaging with you in bad faith, generally, I would posit that in my particular case I’ve been engaging with you pretty fairly, on this topic, in the last couple of days. I mean, our most strenuous objection to each other in the last week has been I think that HL should have to write their religious motivations into their articles of incorporation, and you’re willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

        I just don’t think that anybody defending Hobby Lobby has really engaged much with the question: do you really think that they’ve jumped over a high enough bar to show that they really care about this, absent government intervention either way?

        Jaybird offers probably the only real defense of it that I’ve seen in the last week, here or anywhere, and while I’m not particularly engaged with the Evangelical community, I have to say that’s a pretty weak sauce defense of HL. Maybe I’m too embedded in consequentialism, but if you’re not establishing a pattern of really caring about something prior to somebody saying you need to do it (if anything, you’ve established a pattern of not caring at all about something prior to somebody saying you need to do it, for the record), it’s hard for me to pull much sympathy out of my limited bucket of sympathy.

        Hey, I’m a terrible human, maybe that’s my problem.

        But I honestly don’t get it. Like, it’s hard pressed for me to take the case of Roman Polanski as a case of the police state gone amok (‘m hard pressed to take the case of Edward Freakin’ Snowden as a case of the police state gone amok, and I agree with the guy.)

        So it’s one thing for everybody to make all these arguments about how the birth control/however-we-would-like-to-label-this-issue-bit vs religious freedom as being an actual issue —— and I agree THAT IT IS —— but I still think that in this case, the Hobby Lobby folks are largely just full of bunk.

        And I honestly don’t get how anybody could look at the facts in this case and come to any other conclusion. BUT THAT MIGHT BE MY FAULT.

        So if you believe that Hobby Lobby actually has some sort of legitimate gripe – not in the abstract, but IN THIS CASE – I’d like to know why.

        Really.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jaybird says:

        @james-hanley

        And what of the argument that if there is an alternative use for a drug/device/procedure that is not related to conception/abortion, should we permit a moral objection because it might be used in a disagreeable fashion, even though it would be illegal for the aggrieved party to actually know if it was? Alternatively, if HL is against abortifacients, can we not demand that they also refuse to cover chemotherapy, since every chemo drug out there is an abortifacient?*

        *I call this my “good & hard clause”.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        So if someone had never witnessed in their life until someone pointed out that they could torpedo PPACA by witnessing was suddenly in the park every Sunday talking to strangers instead of playing golf, you’d praise the Lord for their sincere conversion?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        Seems to me there are a lot of dimensions to this issue.

        Did the court rule correctly? Should it have been a slam dunk? Does insurance count as provision? Can corporations have religious beliefs? Was the penalty for noncompliance large enough to constitute a burden? Was there a less intrusive way they could have done it? Does the fact that the administration allowed an exemption for churches that they didn’t allow for blood transfusions mean anything? Does the fact that the RFRA supercedes administrative decisions matter?

        This all makes it, in my view, actually quite complicated. Even if I come down on the “right” side of it, I would be nonetheless within the blast radius of Hanleytown. Had I participated more than I did.

        There’s no rule that says my perspective must be welcome, of course, and I don’t actually feel put-upon (largely because I avoided stayed clear). It does reinforce the comparatively narrow consensus, of course, but nowhere is it written that it shouldn’t.

        But it is what it is and given the constraints I hope I convinced Elias to write that post on the ten best Simpsons quotes.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

        @will-truman

        You didn’t ask me directly, but in the interest of weighing in, poll-form…

        Did the court rule correctly?

        No.

        Should it have been a slam dunk?

        Yes*

        Does insurance count as provision?

        Not any more than paying people money counts as provision.

        Can corporations have religious beliefs?

        Not as presently formed*

        Was the penalty for noncompliance large enough to constitute a burden?

        No.

        Was there a less intrusive way they could have done it?

        Absolutely.

        Does the fact that the administration allowed an exemption for churches that they didn’t allow for blood transfusions mean anything?

        Yes

        Does the fact that the RFRA supercedes administrative decisions matter?

        You know that bit where everyone says you can’t bind a future Congress to a budgetary constraint, because they get to make their own rules (absent breaking Constitutional ones, anyway)…? I have read a few law posts on RFRA and I don’t understand why this doesn’t apply. I mean, my general understanding of the legislative process is that new laws don’t have to conform to old laws (again, excepting the Constitution), because the new law is duh, the new law, and by nature it will supersede the old one. I don’t see why RFRA is any different, myself. Standard disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer.

        * Like I said on my own post, I don’t have a problem with people codifying a religiously-inspired organization as a legal entity. I just think you need to codify that stuff as part of making the religiously-inspired organization in the first place. Because I cannot, in my mind, figure out any way to adjudicate a conflict in the future if two differing ideas of what the non-codified religiously-inspired organization bring a dispute to court. Not fairly, anyway. And I think – from the perspective of governance – that’s an unreasonable burden to put on the courts. You want to claim some sort of religious mission as part of your organization? Go ahead. Put that down in writing and I’m totally okay with it.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        Patrick,

        I’ve drafted three responses, and chucked each one. You’ve made it clear that you don’t believe anyone could possibly believe that HL is being sincere. Jaybird gave you an answer, I seconded it, and you’ve just dismissed it and repeated the question.

        I don’t think you’re actually asking about what HL really believe. I think you’re asking for a claim about their beliefs that you can believe they believe. And I’m in no position to answer a question about what you can believe.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        Patrick, congress could have waived or overrode RFRA. They didn’t choose to and there is a good argument to be made that it wouldn’t have passed if they had tried.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist

        Are you also under the impression that I’ve been defending the HL ruling? Is that why you’re specifically asking me that question? Have you realized that at no time have I made any claim at all about either the wrongness or rightness of the ruling?

        My answer is, that’s an important argument (and I did notice when you said it earlier), and it influences my thoughts on the issue. I’ll say nothing more than that.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

        You’ve made it clear that you don’t believe anyone could possibly believe that HL is being sincere.

        On the contrary, I absolute believe that they could be sincere. I absolutely believe that the head honcho over at Hobby Lobby thinks that Plan B is murder.

        That’s not the point.

        I absolutely believe that lots of people can be sincere about not wanting to serve in a war, James. Some of them believe it down to the cores of their bones. Some of them might volunteer to serve in the military and believe that they’re doing the right thing right up to where they put boots on the ground somewhere else and come to the conclusion that this isn’t the sort of military that they thought they were serving in.

        You know what? I have sympathy for all sorts of cases in this space. Some of them are truly regrettable.

        I’m still not letting someone who signs up for military service to decide in the middle of a war zone that “nope, they’re done now” is a decision that should come consequence free. Sometimes you gotta fight the power, sure.

        I don’t think you’re actually asking about what HL really believe. I think you’re asking for a claim about their beliefs that you can believe they believe.

        Actually, I’m asking what YOU THINK HL really believes, and quite frankly you’re coming across as a stubborn ass by claiming that I’m not asking that. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a stubborn ass (guilty), but come on…

        I’ve only said that five bazillion times now.

        You don’t have to read more into the question than I’m asking, James, I’m not engaged in 11-dimensional chess right now.

        I’m asking, do you really think that this is a sufficient case, a suitable yardstick for measuring whether or not the government is being intrusive in a way that is oppressive to religious belief, given all the outs that Hobby Lobby has and did not take?

        Is this the yardstick you want to use? You’re okay with that? You realize how this yardstick can be used as a matter of convenience to infringe upon others?

        It’s OKAY IF YOUR ANSWER IS YES (just for the record). I accept all sorts of yardsticks that I find to come with all sorts of bad potential consequences. Should we go back to the Gun Symposium?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        @will-truman

        I’d like our lawyers to weigh in, but I don’t think that answers Patrick’s objection.As I understand things, from a legal analysis perspective, it’s not at all necessary that Congress be explicit about making an exception to a prior law. The Court often proceeds by saying obviously Congress was aware of the prior law, and obviously this doesn’t square with it, so since this one comes later in time it must mean that Congress was making an exception to the prior one (else we have to assume they didn’t know what they were doing, and we extend them the respect of assuming they do know what they’re doing).

        This is something I also have wondered about.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

        Patrick, congress could have waived or overrode RFRA. They didn’t choose to and there is a good argument to be made that it wouldn’t have passed if they had tried.

        At what point do we need to explicitly call out previous legislation and say, “No really, it counts here” or “No really, it doesn’t count here” when drafting current legislation?

        Congress could have waived or overridden all sorts of things. To what extent is Congress bound by previous Congresses?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        @james-hanley Congress didn’t pass the contraception mandate. If they had, that would be current congress overriding previous congress. Instead, congress gave the president the ability to require then-not-yet-specified medical care be covered. But they did not explicitly give the president the ability to violate laws more explicitly passed by congress, which is what the court says happened.

        Law trumps administrative regulation. Explicit law trumps implicit law. Theoretically, anyway.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

        Oh, I’ll grant that SCOTUS thinks that RFRA matters in this case and they overrule me both in practice and in theory.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        Actually, I’m asking what YOU THINK HL really believes

        But I already answered that. I seconded Jaybird. And yet you’re still asking. So I don’t really know what it is you want.

        I’m asking, do you really think that this is a sufficient case, a suitable yardstick for measuring whether or not the government is being intrusive in a way that is oppressive to religious belief, given all the outs that Hobby Lobby has and did not take?

        See, you said you had “a” question, and it’s not clear to me whether that’s a separate question (you actually have two), or if it’s a rephrasing of the same question. I’m going to treat it as a separate question, but if you want me to stop reading too much into your questions, stop writing such rambling comments around them to the point where I’m lost (Polanski? How the hell did that relate?).

        So, treating that as a separate question, in a nutshell, I don’t accept the idea of government making an authoritative determination of whether someone’s beliefs are sincere. And if HL was a sole proprietorship or simple partnership, I’d say their claim of sincerity is dispositive, regardless of past actions.

        But in the case of a closely held corporation, is the company identical enough with the owners that it’s actually their religious freedom that’s being constrained? That’s the real question there. I still take the claim of sincere belief as facially valid and not to be questioned by government. But is it actually their belief that’s being constrained, or just a corporation that by definition can have no belief? And as I’ve repeatedly said, I remain ambivalent about that.

        This is why I agree with your idea about setting up some clear rules to distinguish religious for-profits from non-religious for-profits.

        But here’s a general question, not specifically for you. There seems to be agreement that an organization can’t have religious beliefs, that a corporation is separate from its owner in that sense as well as others.

        It’s also been claimed that any rights the owners might claim to not have to provide contraceptives is trumped by women’s fundamental right to liberty, and the means of controlling their reproduction that is necessary to exercising that liberty.

        So how can non-profits be exempted? I asked about this, with my Grace Bible College example, but nobody really took it up. Doesn’t the logic that’s being laid out require that Grace also provide contraceptive care as part of its health care package? How can a religious freedom that “the college” as a corporation can’t actually have trump women’s fundamental rights

        And now I’m going to bed, and I’ve got a lot of construction work to do tomorrow, so I may or may not get back to this tomorrow.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jaybird says:

        @will-truman

        Ah, it was one of those congressional delegations of legislative power to the President. It should have been struck down in whole on those grounds, but that ship has long ago sailed, and nobody gives a shit anymore about how policies are made so long as they get their preferred outcome. And so we slouch toward executive tyranny, year after year, president after president, the only redeeming factor in all of it being that it’s the only thing in Washington that’s totally bipartisan.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Jaybird says:

        It’s also been claimed that any rights the owners might claim to not have to provide contraceptives is trumped by women’s fundamental right to liberty, and the means of controlling their reproduction that is necessary to exercising that liberty.

        I will not make that claim, myself. I understand where Zic is coming from on that ground, but I can’t get there myself. I get close enough that I’m like Jaybird on the playing ground that I think there’s a strong enough case to be made that the absence of birth control has enough negative consequences for womens’ liberties that the government should provide it, but I can’t get far enough to say that any one individual, or subset of individuals, should do so (but, I don’t think that providing insurance that covers contraception is the same thing, fwiw).

        Mostly for the reasons you lay out here.

        if you want me to stop reading too much into your questions, stop writing such rambling comments around them to the point where I’m lost

        Eh, fair enough. I had wine. Apologies for the rambling.

        I don’t accept the idea of government making an authoritative determination of whether someone’s beliefs are sincere. And if HL was a sole proprietorship or simple partnership, I’d say their claim of sincerity is dispositive, regardless of past actions.

        That’s fairly straightforward, and I think a justifiable stance. I don’t particularly agree with it myself but at least we’re in the ground of nuance.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        At what point do we need to explicitly call out previous legislation and say, “No really, it counts here” or “No really, it doesn’t count here” when drafting current legislation?

        Within the framework, if Congress happens to pass two laws that might conflict with each other without one law explicitly repealing the other, it’s up to the courts to rule how the two laws can be reconciled. There are a lot of ways to do this, of course. One is to use the language of the laws in question but that gets into “semantics” and so hell with that. One is to say “which law was passed more recently?” and let that trump the other. I suppose you could do weird stuff like say “which law was passed with bigger majorities/less drama?” and come to a conclusion that way. Or you can say “what’s the outcome I want?” and then work backwards from there.

        I’m pretty sure that that’s what the Supreme Court does even as it pretends to explore “semantics”.

        Outside of the framework, this is the same body that did Buck v. Bell, Korematsu, Bowers v Hardwick, and Citizens United.

        Grab your gun and go outside. Are you the only one outside with your gun? Go back inside. It’s not time yet.Report

  16. Avatar zic says:

    @mad-rocket-scientist down here, please.

    And what of the argument that if there is an alternative use for a drug/device/procedure that is not related to conception/abortion, should we permit a moral objection because it might be used in a disagreeable fashion, even though it would be illegal for the aggrieved party to actually know if it was?

    You posted this notion earlier, as well, and I’ve been thinking about it for a while, now. I do not know the answer to this question, but when an employer self-insures, how are employees’ privacy rights protected under HIPPA? Are they still protected? The triangle there is the patient, the medical provider, and the insurer. Does HL, fulfilling its HR function, know if employees used these forms of contraception while they provided it?

    I ask, because the admin. assistant once spoke to my husband about care I received (self-insured org,) that revealed she knew details of what treatment I’d received that would now, under HIPPA, be a violation of my privacy rights.

    So there may be some privacy concerns with companies that self-insure. I think you put it wonderfully before, something about if you have VD, and go for penicillin, you don’t want your employer to know that the antibiotic was for VD; when your insurer and employer are the same thing, that’s kind of creepy.Report

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to zic says:

      Does HL, fulfilling its HR function, know if employees used these forms of contraception while they provided it?

      Yes, but this is itself constrained to need-to-know basis. Whoever manages your health care plan will know what procedures you’ve opted-into (they need to, of course, to do their job).

      It is their obligation to only share that information on a need to know basis. Barring a convoluted legal justification (legitimate or otherwise), someone-not-in-HR asking for that information would be barred from getting it.

      In practice, you can make all sorts of baloney justifications for access to that info, of course. Many of them would survive a court challenge. That don’t make ’em baloney, tho.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to zic says:

      @zic

      What Patrick said. HIPPA says you can only see medical information that you have a need to know about, or that the patient chooses to share with you. Even the head of HR would have to legally justify why they were looking at a persons medical information, should someone file a complaint. And curiosity doesn’t fly.Report

  17. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    FWIW, as a non-objective observer via emails over the weekend, I think the threads here and in my previous HL post remind me of that sociological phenomenon my wife did research on where people not aren’t that far from each other on an issue drive one another to opposite ends of the spectrum.Report

  18. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    This subject seems to lead to a lot of people talking past each other, so I’ll try to outline what I consider to be the key points.

    The first question is whether a corporation can have religious beliefs.

    Personally, I don’t see the logic in a private for-profit corporation – as opposed to a religious institution – being able to claim that it has religious beliefs. The function of the corporation, by my understanding, is to separate a business establishment from its owners. This has certain functions which favour personal liberty – for example, preventing the head of a corporation from saying “I am a teetotaller, therefore I will fire any employee who I learn has been drinking alcohol”, or from refusing to hire someone who has a different religion from them. An organization which has a specifically religious purpose can do this (e.g.: if a religious NGO wants to only hire people who share their beliefs, they can do so), because being Christian is inherent to its nature and goals. A grocery store which happens to be owned by Christians cannot.

    However, my opinion on this is clearly not shared by the US Supreme Court.

    The second question is whether there is a significant distinction between, “providing an insurance policy for one’s employees which covers a service to which you morally object” and “paying taxes to the government which fund actions to which you morally object”. Whether we like it or not, all of us are obligated to do the latter. People can go to jail for protesting war by withholding a portion of their taxes that matches the proportion of funds the US government spends on the military.

    It seems to me that “give money to government –> government uses it for things you oppose” is more direct than “purchase insurance policy which covers birth control –> employee makes use of birth control –> insurance company reimburses employee”. The company isn’t paying for the employee’s birth control; they’re paying for their insurance. Moreover, the business has alternatives, which is a key point to me: the government was not forcing them to provide insurance which covers birth control – it was stating that a company will only receive tax benefits from the government for its insurance policy if the policy is comprehensive, and “comprehensive” means it needs to include certain things, birth control among them. If a company’s owners object to birth control, they have the freedom to not purchase any heath insurance plan for their employees and forego the tax benefit.

    The third question – and the point of this thread – is whether it’s sexist that the Supreme Court is making freedom-of-conscience-based exceptions relating to birth control, and not relating to all the other things listed. The other items listed are things done directly by the government, rather than by an insurance plan purchased by an employer. If we accept – and I’d like to hear a clear argument for why we should – that the latter puts a person in a position closer to directly paying for the action which they oppose, then the other things in Tod’s list aren’t immediately relevant.

    However, even in that case we would still need to note that there are plenty of things covered in health insurance plans – including treatments for erectile dysfunction – that employers are not objecting to providing. So they are, in essence, saying that they don’t oppose products which enable men to have more sex, but they do oppose products which enable women to have more sex. If you want to make an argument that the objection to providing birth control is sexist, that seems to be the clearest point in your favour. (That, and the blatantly sexist things that supporters of the HL decision keep saying, which Tod detailed in his previous post.)Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to KatherineMW says:

      I second every single thing you just said.

      An organization which has a specifically religious purpose can do this (e.g.: if a religious NGO wants to only hire people who share their beliefs, they can do so), because being Christian is inherent to its nature and goals. A grocery store which happens to be owned by Christians cannot.

      I think you can detect the two sides here because one side, the correct side, keeps talking about Hobby Lobby’s actions, while the other side keeps talking about ‘the owners’ actions. Of course, in actual practice, the *owners* of Hobby Lobby need to do nothing…they could simply stop being officers of the corporations, and have the board (aka, them) appoint new corporate officers that will follow the law. Or they could hire someone specifically to manage compliance with insurance.

      The real joke here is that all the objections of the Hobby Lobby owners are *of their own making*, they’re the ones who put themselves in the position of having to manage such insurance. (As opposed to all the other workers out there all over America who are told to do things at their jobs, every day, that they are not morally comfortable with..but those people aren’t the super-rich, they don’t count.)

      Moreover, the business has alternatives, which is a key point to me: the government was not forcing them to provide insurance which covers birth control – it was stating that a company will only receive tax benefits from the government for its insurance policy if the policy is comprehensive, and “comprehensive” means it needs to include certain things, birth control among them. If a company’s owners object to birth control, they have the freedom to not purchase any heath insurance plan for their employees and forego the tax benefit.

      This seems to be something that literally everyone is skipping right over. Hobby Lobby just claimed religious grounds to take a tax deduction it did not qualify for. Really, people? That makes sense to you?

      The third question – and the point of this thread – is whether it’s sexist that the Supreme Court is making freedom-of-conscience-based exceptions relating to birth control, and not relating to all the other things listed.

      The entire objection to birth control is inherently sexist, and has been this entire time. Hell, the objection to *abortion* is the same way.

      Oh, I’m sure some people have an ‘honest religious objection’ to it, and I’m *equally* sure that they have that *because their church has decided to operate in the political sphere* and been hijacked by right-wing politicians and spent decades telling them that.

      We like to pretend that religious beliefs just appear out of a vacuum, or that people somehow magically already have them, and find a church that agrees with them. No. That is not what happens.

      History has been rewritten so well that most people can’t that remember the actual religious reaction to Roe. v. Wade was *overwhelmingly positive*, or that it took almost a decade and a lot of political manipulating making it into an issue before ‘churches’ were against it.(1)

      I, personally, am not old enough to remember that, but I *am* old enough to remember when, growing up Baptists, that being against contraceptives was a crazy Catholic issue. Of course, the only sex should be inside marriage, but *of course* you used contraceptives when married.

      Hell, if you *were* going to have sex outside of marriage, *of course* you used birth control. If you had wandered around my 1993 youth group, and taken a poll ‘If you have sex outside of marriage, is it more or less moral to use birth control during it?’, every person would have said ‘more moral’. (It was sorta like asking us if we decided to get drunk, whether or not we should drive. As underaged Baptists, of course we shouldn’t get drunk, but if we were going to sin, at least we should do it in a way that didn’t hurt other people.)

      But the right has made it a wedge issue via decades of constant repetition, in a desperate attempt to keep power. (And not caring the least what sort of harm they do the religions. Christianity is in dire straits, thanks to people who reject right-wing nonsense also rejecting it.)

      The exact same thing happened with slavery, of course. And segregation.

      1) Incidentally, people, if you think that ‘life beings at conception’, even if you aren’t a member of a church…you’ve still fallen for the brainwashing. A trivial amount of research will demonstrate that all life has existed for billions of years. Eggs and sperms are both already alive. We’re talking like five seconds on Wikipedia here. You’re repeating complete nonsense.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to DavidTC says:

        I don’t agree that objection to abortion is sexist; I oppose it because I value human life, the same reason I oppose capital punishment and unnecessary war.

        And the statement that “life begins at conception” pretty obviously means that conception creates a new life from two people who were already in existence, which is true. A fetus is indisputably alive, human, and a distinct being from its parents. The debate is about whether these qualities are sufficient to consider a fetus a person prior to its birth. And it’s a debate which isn’t related to the purpose of this thread.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to DavidTC says:

        History has been rewritten so well that most people can’t that remember the actual religious reaction to Roe. v. Wade was *overwhelmingly positive*, or that it took almost a decade and a lot of political manipulating making it into an issue before ‘churches’ were against it.

        Um, you’re going to need a citation for that one. By my recollection, RvW was generally regarded as the proper decision by a majority, but I wouldn’t have called it “overwhelmingly positive”.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

        @patrick :
        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/10/29/revisionist-memory-white-evangelicals-have-always-been-at-war-with-abortion/

        And the first link in that article is to another article where he explains it more.

        Please notice he’s talking about *evangelicals*, the group most closely associated with (besides Catholics) *opposing* abortion today.

        It took a loud and constant drumbeat by right-wing politicians to turn basically *any* protestant leaders against abortion, especially considering that the Bible pretty clearly says the opposite of what they now pretend it says.

        @katherinemw
        And the statement that “life begins at conception” pretty obviously means that conception creates a new life from two people who were already in existence, which is true.

        ‘a life’ and ‘life’ are using the same word to talk about different things. ‘life’ is a process, one that started with specific bits of self-replicating matter a very long time ago, and has managed to continue to this day. Whereas ‘a life’ is shorthand for ‘a person’.

        Don’t blame me for your factually incorrect slogan, where you want to say ‘a person is created at the moment of conception’, but that sounds too dumb, so you have to try to fudge the issue by actually saying something else and *pretending* that’s what it says.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to DavidTC says:

        Kat,
        if it can’t think, if it can’t move, if it can’t do anything that distinguishes it from being a dirty ape, I’m not going to say it’s human… yet. A potential human? sure, but that files it in a different category, and with different obligations (and rights!) than humans get.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to DavidTC says:

        It took a loud and constant drumbeat by right-wing politicians to turn basically *any* protestant leaders against abortion,

        Some people would call that argumentation and debate in a free society.

        And one has to wonder, why were these right-wing politicians so opposed to abortion if no protestants actually were?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to DavidTC says:

        James,
        Demographic Armageddon tends to come with charts. And World Takeovers (Yes, Plural. Lotta people running the same “live off welfare” scam).Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

        @james-hanley
        Some people would call that argumentation and debate in a free society.

        People call lots of things lots of names. You can certainly call it that if you want.

        I, OTOH, call it something else. Specifically, I call it ‘hijacking a religion’.

        And one has to wonder, why were these right-wing politicians so opposed to abortion if no protestants actually were?

        The exact same reason they were opposed to integration. It was something that, by repeating often enough, they could get the people to vote against.

        You might find this odd to believe, James, but while I’m not very ‘organized religious’, I am religious, and I do actually respect religion, probably as much as you, and one of the things I can’t stand is *conmen* who come in and manipulate people’s beliefs. (Since I am a Georgian, so one of my mortal enemies is Ralph Reed, that lying scumbag who won’t go away.) People often do not deeply inspect their own religious beliefs, and if they’re told they *should* believe something, they often end up doing so.

        It’s why people will stand there and say that abortion is murder, but then, when actually asked what that *means*, do they mean women who get one should go to jail, they have no response. It’s why there are a large percentage of people who call themselves ‘pro-life’ that think abortion should be legal, and why people object when I call pro-life people ‘forced-birthers’, which is *literally* what they are. (Someone’s going to object to that. Tough. If you do not support forcing women to carry their pregnancy to term, *you are pro-choice*.) People are *told* certain things about abortion, and ‘believe’ those things only as long as they aren’t asked to think about it.

        There are *deep and complicated* thinkers about religion, a lot of complicated thought out there that organized religions can filter and simplify…and the normal believers can’t tell those guys from a guy whose actual goal in showing up is to make them vote a specific way, and will literally tell them anything to do so.

        It’s ‘quack religion’, like ‘quack medicine’. It’s something *pretending* to be a religious statement, but it’s presented by someone who just wants your money or your vote.

        And while this specific way to vote is usually ‘vote against Democrats’, but I would object as much if that was the other way around, or at least I *think* would.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to DavidTC says:

        DavidTC,
        You might find this odd to believe, James, but while I’m not very ‘organized religious’, I am religious,

        I don’t find it odd at all.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to DavidTC says:

        Don’t blame me for your factually incorrect slogan, where you want to say ‘a person is created at the moment of conception’, but that sounds too dumb

        No, that’s precisely what pro-life people are saying, simply with slightly more streamlined phrasing.

        Kim – If a fetus produced by intercourse between two human beings is not Homo sapiens, then what species is it?Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

        @katherinemw
        No, that’s precisely what pro-life people are saying, simply with slightly more streamlined phrasing.

        Ha, yes, because ‘a life begins at conception’ is so much longer than ‘life begins at conception’. It’s an entire letter, and a space!

        So I guess you have an excuse for your misleading slogan claiming that people are as gods and commonly create life: Length! It’s Occam’s Razor, but with letter count!

        But people saying ‘a life’ would still be technically wrong anyway. Even putting aside any semantics about what the heck people mean by ‘conception’, a fertilized egg can result in multiple lives in the case of identical twins, or less than one life in the case of chimeras.

        And, of course, the most common result, by far, of a fertilized egg is *zero* people. Failed implantation, the greatest disease that has ever ravaged mankind, resulting the deaths of a quarter of a trillion people throughout history, killing three times more people than anyone ever knew about.

        What I’m apparently arguing is that people should stop saying literally impossible things and start saying factually wrong things instead, which is a dumb argument for me to make, so peace out. You guys be wrong however you want to be wrong.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Katherine, you don’t see the argument “we’ve provided coverage for birth control, just not for abortifacients” as having any merit?

      I ask because I would have thought that you’d see that as an important distinction to make. (If you don’t see it as one, that’s totally cool, of course. It just means that my thoughts about your thoughts were mistaken.)Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird says:

        I don’t find it an especially strong argument because of the fact that, if the owners do strongly object, they can cease to provide any health insurance plan and raise wages instead.

        But if they were genuinely willing to provide health insurance that covered many commonly-used contraceptives but not the morning-after pill…yes, that does change things. Providing employees with a health-care plan that covers 16 of 20 FDA-approved contraceptives is significantly different from providing employees with a health-care plan that doesn’t cover contraception. Is that what Hobby Lobby was intending to do? Are health insurance companies offering such plans?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        if the owners do strongly object, they can cease to provide any health insurance plan and raise wages instead.

        From what I understand, this is illegal.

        Hey! PPACA scholars! Am I right? Would that be illegal under the PPACA?Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Jaybird says:

        No, Jaybird, it’s not illegal; particularly for companies with under 50 employees. Over 50 employees (or multiple companies with the same owner that total more then 50 employees) and the penalty is calculated as (No. Emp. – 30) * $2,000 annually.

        I do not know, but guess this is after-tax dollars, not pre-tax.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird

        I’m not scholar, but I believe at some point a company of HL’s size would incur fines if they did not provide an approved health insurance option to their employees. I don’t know what the law says about employer contributions. I assume they could require employees pay 100% of the premiums and then pay them a sufficient wage to cover that and theoretically keep their hands clean. But I don’t really know.

        It also seems important to note that the morning after pill is not an abortifacient. It has no impact on an already-fertilized egg. All it does is prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg. That is why the window to use it is so narrow (24-48 hours with no guarantee of effectiveness even within that window).

        One of the more troubling things about this decision, as I understand it, is that the court ruled HL’s belief that such a medication was an abortifacient — despite all scientific evidence to the contrary — was sufficient grounds for their objection. By that logic, they could object to penicillin if they believed it unbabtized people. Or whatever.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        From what I understand, that’s the penalty for not providing insurance after the deadline.

        I’m asking about ceasing to provide insurance that you used to provide and saying “we’ll just pay the employees more”.

        The stuff I’m googling is all talking about small businesses (not large ones) and discussing Section 105 plans (which seem interesting in themselves)…

        Ah, wait. Here’s the answer:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/26/us/irs-bars-employers-from-dumping-workers-into-health-exchanges.html?_r=0

        Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the Obama administration has squelched the idea in a new ruling. Such arrangements do not satisfy the health care law, the administration said, and employers may be subject to a tax penalty of $100 a day — or $36,500 a year — for each employee who goes into the individual marketplace.

        So there it is.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        Zic is correct. Also, for whatever it’s worth, there is a solid chance the employer mandate won’t actually go through and so there won’t even be the 2000 penalty.

        Katherine, I have heard that HL is willing to include the contraception that they are satisfied doesn’t affect implantation (most of them).Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird

        Yet another reason I really struggle with the PPACA: further entangling employment and insurance is a bad thing. It is why I still secretly suspect it was built for blow up in everyone’s face and pave the way for single payer.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        Jaybird, Nob and I discussed it a while back. The issue there is trying to make the tax free contribution. That part is illegal and can draw up massive fines.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Ah, I should have read the whole thing:

        If an employer wants to help employees buy insurance on their own, Mr. Condeluci said, it can give them higher pay, in the form of taxable wages. But in such cases, he said, the employer and the employee would owe payroll taxes on those wages, and the change could be viewed by workers as reducing a valuable benefit.

        So that’s what Hobby Lobby should have done instead?

        Well, I mean, theoretically. (Technically it did kind of win the Supreme Court case.)Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to Jaybird says:

        “Hobby Lobby joined the ranks of money-sucking corporate bastards who are depending on government aid to handle their employees’ healthcare, something that they ought to be doing themselves anyway and *would* if they had any human decency at all…”Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

        So that’s what Hobby Lobby should have done instead?

        Well, no, what Hobby Lobby *should* have done is purchased the correct insurance. If the corporation’s current corporate officers wouldn’t purchase such insurance due to religious objections, the board should have hired officers that would.

        But yes, Hobby Lobby *could* have simply said ‘We’re no longer providing insurance, please buy your own out of your wages.’.

        Now, in theory, Hobby Lobby would have to pay penalties if they paid so little that their full time employees, when buying insurance, qualified for exchange subsidies. However, Hobby Lobby actually pays reasonably well, and if it just handed the employees their existing premiums in their paycheck, it almost certainly wouldn’t be paying that penalty, at least not in 99% of the cases. (1)

        But Hobby Lobby has a religious objection to not getting tax subsidies. Or something.

        1) This is the penalty that everyone’s pretending that is ‘Oh no, corporations have to provide insurance to full-time workers if they’re over 50 employees! So corporations aren’t hiring!’.

        No. They *either* have to provide insurance *or* pay their employees well enough they can buy their own. They are no longer allowed to hire employees at low enough wages that the *government* is forced to step in and make up the difference so they can get insurance.Report

  19. Avatar morat20 says:

    Just a note:

    “Government” has always regulated health insurance policies. Previously this was done by state governments more so than the Feds.

    The birth control mandate already existed in some 20+ states (28? 22? I can’t recall) — states where Hobby Lobby existed, cheerfully did business, complied with the law, and didn’t raise a fuss.

    That is why, to use Patrick’s language, I think the Greens are full of crap.

    In unrelated news, my local city paper (published perhaps twice a month, Texas town of perhaps 30k) headlined “Obama’s Abortion Mandate Struck Down”. Lovely, yes?Report

  20. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    @james-hanley

    No, I didn’t think you were defending the ruling, but I think you had said that it was OK for HL to refuse to cover treatments it found objectionable for a specific purpose. Which is why I was pushing back, given that it’s a rare medical treatment that has a single purpose. Ergo, it is important, in this context, for the Greens, et. al. know exactly why a given woman is using a given treatment they object to, which means they have to violate HIPPA. Otherwise, they are possibly denying unobjectionable medical care in their effort to avoid the objectionable bit.

    Add in that they are then asking for the government to keep the corporate shield intact as well as the tax break… Well, we all must suffer somewhat for our beliefs, so I’m not sure why they get a pass.

    I.E. given the existing legal environment*, their rights trump an employees rights** because maybe the employee is requiring them to pay for a treatment they object to.

    *Yes, in my libertarian heart, we should not even be in this mess, but we have to make lemonade with the grapefruits we’ve been given.

    **(Here I admit my bias) Unlike you & Jaybird, I am very resistant to allowing the religious to impose their beliefs on others absent a convincing secular argument in support. They why is a long story. But suffice it to say I find the RFRA highly objectionable, and I even have a very hard time stomaching the idea of an for-profit corporation of business enjoying religious freedoms that impose non-trivial duties upon others. But that is just me, and I recognize the internal ideological conflicts it creates.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      I am very resistant to allowing the religious to impose their beliefs on others a

      From the beginning I have believed that’s an inaccurate description on what’s going on.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to James Hanley says:

        Remember that for most people on the anti-HL side, “won’t pay for” is equivalent to “ban”.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to James Hanley says:

        No. Which is weird.

        Look, let’s lay aside “Should government mandate you provide insurance for your employees”. That was, bluntly, another court case entirely. Let’s lay aside the whole premium split thing on what you pay (which is a point that probably should have come up in Hobby Lobby, and didn’t. I pay at least 30% of my insurance premiums, and my work pays 70% or so. I can’t recall the latest breakdown).

        Let’s get to the nut: If the government requires you to provide insurance for your employees, does the government have the right to define what ‘insurance’ means? What things are covered, not covered, mandatory, etc to qualify for the label ‘insurance’ for the purposes of determining whether or not a given plan fits? (Note: Many states have mandated certain things, including contraception, be covered by health insurance in the past).

        I’d assume yes — insofar as ‘no’ means I could put together a policy that covers nothing and you could issue it, and that seems…sub-optimal, yes?

        So yes, ASSUMING the government can mandate you provide insurance (and pay some of the premiums) for your employees, we can also assume government can dictate minimums for what qualifies as insurance.

        What “most people” on the anti-HL side believe is “Contraceptives should be among those minimum covered criteria”. Hobby Lobby, and Rush Limbaugh apparently — but since he seems to think the Pill works like a condom, we can probably ignore him — think it shouldn’t be.

        I’ve yet to see a reason why it shouldn’t be OTHER than “My religion says…” which is a problematic reason in a secular society. (I have see “Nothing should be covered” which, that’s great and totally understandable, but also a kind of moot objection given that ship has sailed and the problem before us is “what” and not “if”)

        It’s the anti-contraceptive folks who somehow think birth control is different from my blood pressure medicine (which my insurance is, in fact, required to cover). And that somehow my insurance premiums, both the part I pay for and the part my company pays for, are somehow not actual money being paid for insurance.

        So, seriously — how is the Pill difference from linsopril? What non-religious reason is there to cover one but not the other? (Covering neither is not, in fact, an option. Again: Previous court case, not the one in question).Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to James Hanley says:

        “I’ve yet to see a reason why it shouldn’t be[,] OTHER than “My religion says…” ”

        Why should Indians in the Southwest be permitted to break Federal laws?

        Do you have a reason why they should be, OTHER than “their religion says…”?Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to James Hanley says:

        Did you have an answer to the question of “Why shouldn’t contraceptives be considered a required part of ‘insurance’ in order to be called ‘insurance’ for the legal purposes of the ACA”?

        Or did you just want to change the subject to Indian tribes, whose relationship with federal law is…quite complex, and certainly not applicable to the topic at hand, since Hobby Lobby is not a domestic dependent nation, almost — but not quite — an independent governmental entity to the US?Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to James Hanley says:

        “Or did you just want to change the subject to Indian tribes”

        I think maybe you need to read up on what the RFRA actually is and why it exists.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to James Hanley says:

        I think you need to answer the question. (Yes, I know what the RFRA was passed over. Scalia’s words in that case are hilarious, in retrospect).

        Can you think of any secular reason, whatsoever, that birth control should not be covered? (Assuming we are mandating insurance coverage at all).

        How is birth control, religious reasons aside, different from ACE inhibitors? Or any one of a thousand commonly prescribed medications required to be covered?Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to James Hanley says:

        You say “is there any reason other than ‘my religion says’ “, and I reply “according to the RFRA, there doesn’t need to be”.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to James Hanley says:

        No, it says HL doesn’t have to pay for a few things, it does not say you do not have permission to exclude comprehensive reproductive care from the insurance risk pool; but that if you object to the risk pool, the government has to find the way of accommodating your conscientious objection in the least intrusive manner.

        The obligation remains, to those without your beliefs. And those without your beliefs have a right to be agitate change if they feel your accommodation encroaches too far into their beliefs.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley

        I think I see where you are coming from on this. I agree on the grounds of political philosophy, but in this case, due to my biases, it turns my stomach to do so.Report

  21. Avatar Barry says:

    Mike Dwyer

    “Zic,

    Just to play devil’s advocate here… can’t a woman control her reproductive rights by simply not having sex? Rape IS ilegal even between spouses.”

    Gawd.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to Barry says:

      I suppose the women with PCOS or debilitating menstrual cycles are just SOL, as the medical treatment for that is…birth control pills. (Well, and glucophage as well for PCOS. I understand the combo is quite effective in killing that nasty little hormone/insulin feedback cycle).Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to morat20 says:

        Or severe endometriosis, which is relieved by the pill, and sometimes by…

        wait for it…

        an IUD.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        I still don’t get it. HOW IS THE PILL DIFFERENT FROM AN ACE INHIBITOR?

        Am I getting “free” ACE inhibitors because the government requires my insurance cover it? (Hey, they really ARE only 8 bucks at Target! At least for the low-dose generics my system processes nicely). Am I getting a hand-out? A free lunch?

        Why isn’t Rush Limbaugh screaming about my free-loading ways, and maybe if I’d kept my genetic propensity towards minor high blood pressure to myself, I wouldn’t be looking for handouts.

        I don’t get the “FOR FREE!” roars, even here. I *earn* my insurance. Heck, I pay 30% of it — but the other 70% my company pays for services I provide to them. So why is mandating that this compensation cover the Pill a “handout” and linsporil “not a handout”.

        What’s the difference?Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to morat20 says:

        @morat20

        Was that a reply to me?Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        No, just a generalized rant. Half the people screaming about the Pill are screaming about subsidizing sluts, but nobody calls my ACE inhibitor a subsidy. Everyone pays insurance premiums (maybe there are still some companies that pay 100% of it, but I bet not many) but nobody calls my healthcare a “hand-out”.

        Nobody called contraception a hand-out when 28 states required it for insurance policies. And nobody calls ACE inhibitors a “hand out” now, even though they’re required in coverage.

        But the Pill? How is it different? Nobody can say, except Religion Something Religion.

        And even then, why is MY benefit — taken in lieu of cash — being litigated over by YOUR religious beliefs? apparently religion something something religion.

        Then again, I thought pharmacists refusing to fill birth control pills were idiots too. It’s not your JOB to be my moral gatekeeper. Go join a seminary if that’s what you want to do with your life.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to morat20 says:

        @morat20

        OK, Just checking.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to Kim says:

      The best I’ve come up with, regarding the “but it doesn’t count about blood transfusions” is the Court saying “because we aren’t faced with that yet, because no one has sued”.

      They have proposed no test that lower courts can apply to determine when a coverage mandate is religiously burdensome, which leads to a couple of possibilities:

      1) They assume, despite citing other examples, that no one else will sue over a coverage mandate. Contraception is, apparently, the only one really questionable enough to prompt a lawsuit.
      2) They assume that only contraception is questionable enough to really require court judgement, any other objections could be trivially decided by lower courts despite the lack of concrete guidance or an actual test from SCOTUS. (Aka: Contraception is different).
      3) They plan to adjudicate all religious objections one by one — or let the lower courts guess and then correct them, which is much the same thing in terms of “inefficient”.

      I’m not sure which door they’re thinking about.

      I did find the lawsuit filed on behalf of Gitmo Muslims to be hilarious, though. Having been adjudged “not persons” prior, refiling in light of Hobby Lobby because if a “corporation is a person, then surely an actual person is a person” is fun.

      We get to watch two bad decisions collide.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to morat20 says:

        Ginsberg was pointing out it doesn’t count for Muslims or Jews or Hindus.

        And if the Hindus in India were capable of rioting when forced to put pork products in their mouth, I surely think they’re capable of suing here.

        I’m pretty certain they mean the second — anything else would just be DUMB, and they ain’t that dumb.Report

  22. Avatar zic says:

    There’s a conversation about unnecessary consumption of health care going on above. I’m dropping it down here, @lwa and @james-hanley please join in.

    I agree with James, overuse is a problem. In my state, we supposedly have a heroin epidemic now. I have two family members who are junkies fighting the problem. Both, as most of the others, were addicted starting with prescribed pain killers.

    We’ve also been x-raying women’s breasts every year, doctor’s orders, not to mention a whole lot of other good and caring people who want what’s best for women.

    Antibiotic overprescription is a big problem; but the bigger problem is antibiotic usage meat farming and hospital-acquired resistant infections.

    And there’s always advertising. I don’t watch commercial, broadcast TV. I don’t have a cable connection, I live in a bowl in the mountains with no broadcast reception. I watch video on my computer via my broadband connection. About a year ago, I was at my sister’s house with my Mom for the night, and we did what most American families do, watched TV. First time I saw an episode of Big Bang Theory. In the course of three hours, I counted about 11 different prescriptions that vaguely seemed like they could treat symptoms I have from Migraine and physical injury. And people are going in to their doctors and asking for these drugs, the commercials tell them to.

    On some level, that’s probably a useful diagnostic tool for doctors. But I do wonder if there’s a whole lot of, ‘can’t hurt to try it,’ prescribing going down. Placebo effect of taking a pill is powerful.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

      And I have to ask: how on earth do you over-use contraception? It’s not like that; you don’t get an IUD and then go take the morning-after pill, too, while taking birth-control pills daily.

      Really, is there such a thing as overuse of contraception? (And the answer I can think that might be, “yes,” is people who believe contraception is sin, or sex outside of marriage is sin. But we are not about to outlaw extramarital sex, are we?)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        The argument isn’t that every medical procedure is being overused. I doubt it’s a problem for heart transplants, for example, although LWA seems to think that’s what’s being argued. So contraception may also be something that’s not really overused, even though it’s very much more commonly used than heart transplants.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        So contraception may also be something that’s not really overused, even though it’s very much more commonly used than heart transplants.

        Like dude, that’s what we’ve been saying; contraception’s necessary to anyone who has higher estrogen levels, needs higher estrogen levels, or needs lower estrogen levels. Controlling these things uses hormones, aka contraceptives, thought there are other kinds of contraceptives.
        @veronica-dire and my daughter likely take contraception. My dad took contraception when they treated his prostate cancer. He hated being on estrogen, it made him every bit a mentally yucky as my daughter does without it. She suffered constant suicidal ideation for years, antidepressants did not help. Contraception did; almost instantly, within two weeks. Together, we faced huge hurdles to get her two prescriptions, spent thousands of dollars that ended a life-time of feeling like killing herself because we called her he.

        Like asthma, adjusting your hormone levels and maintaining organs in constant flux is complicated. While V. and elder sprout don’t moon cycle, we all know about women on the rag. Consider, for a moment, how dramatically most women’s bodies change as they flux through their cycle; it’s a real, physical thing. If men went through as much change as a woman can go through in a year — ovulating to menarche to ovulating to nine months of pregnancy to labor and delivery, recovery, breast feeding and occasionally, through again to another pregnancy (babies one year apart there, takes an incredible toll on a woman’s body) — if men went through that, they’d hospitalize them entire time.

        Women need comprehensive reproductive care, it’s central to our well being; it’s complicated, we’re all different in one way or another, and there’s a lot that can go wrong, women’s trouble. The contraception mandate’s just a small part of a mandate to review women’s essential health-care needs, and provide preventive services that have gone unmet. And since it takes a man to make a baby, women cannot do that part alone, I think it’s also preventive health care for men.

        There are thousands of medical reasons why contraception is crucial, but it’s just part of a spectrum of well-documented unmet and easily preventable problems. Two weeks on estrogen, and my child wanted to live and felt lonely and wanted to be around people again.

        RRFA doesn’t relieve the government of the obligation to provide that contraception; and it’s required by ACA; the full range is required. I’d guess employees of corporate objectors will be covered by the government, that’s logically where the obligation lies because ACA is still the law, and it calls for all forms to be available as preventive health care necessary to serve women’s needs. There are two obligations here, not to overtly intrude, and to make available without copay.

        I hope reaching that point requires some sort of penalty or loss of tax-exempt status for corporate conscience; they are rent seeking from others participating in the risk pool. Since corporations are people (who apparently get represented twice because they have their own personhood plus corporate personhood — or maybe they’re just part of a personhood, shared with up to four others, or each owner 3/5 a person?) Anyway, since corporations are people, a tax or penalty would be treating corporate conscience the same as the actual real people who don’t purchase insurance and end up rent-seeking on the rest of us. Same format: a small penalty that will grow enough to take a bite in a year or two.

        We have weather changing, I apologize up front if I’m grammatically challenged.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        So this was just a setup to lure me back into that argument? Color me unimpressed, and not interested in playing your game.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        So this was just a setup to lure me back into that argument? Color me unimpressed, and not interested in playing your game.

        I am describing all the ways contraceptives are underutilized; the inverse of over-prescribed.

        As to a trick? I’m insulted. I worked very hard on that comment, it’s worthy of it’s own post.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to zic says:

        @zic
        I think everyone here agrees that medical overprescription and overuse is happening.
        The point of contention is whether having patients pick up the cost will fix it.

        I don’t think it medical overuse is generated by patients seeking unnecessary treatment; When it happens, it is driven by the doctors.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic says:

        I suspect it’s driven by loved-ones.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to zic says:

        The classic situation for overprescription of antibiotics is indeed a parent insisting that their child needs it and the doctor giving up arguing. That would probably be reduced to some extent if they cost more, but it’s hard to say how much.

        Though by far the most dangerous overuse of antibiotics is in animal feed, and as far as I know, they’re all bought at full price. That’s a classic case of externality: the ones who profit from the increased meat production don’t compensate the ones who fall prey to resistant bacteria.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        According to LWA, the law of demand is suspended when it comes to medical care. Because…well, something about toasters.

        @zic,
        You can keep talking about the need for contraceptives, of course. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. Just don’t say you want to join me in a discussion about something else, inviting me by name, then use that as a springboard to launch right back into that prior conversation. Sure that’s a trick, the classic bait and switch.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

        Mike,
        50% or so of doctors give placebos. Why not just do that, rather than something that might cause harm?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to zic says:

        A lot of over consumption is physician-generated, as LWA says. But a whole lot iisn’t.

        It’s fine-go-away prescriptions. It’s active drug-seeking. It’s tired-of-being-pregnant. It’s supratentorial distress. It’s people trying to get non-medical needs through medicine.

        Just because *you* would never visit the doctor unless you needed to, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

        Linky Friday had a link a while back about British doctors asking that patients be charged to address this, and I’ve heard doctors in the US (liberals, even) say similar things when dealing with Medicaid populations.

        I suspect that physician-driven over consumption is the bigger issue, but patient-driven is a thing.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

      moderation holding
      my thought trapped in a time out
      like a kiss unblownReport

  23. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    One additional peripheral comment – what really annoys me is that conservatives had the opportunity to avoid all this by simply allowing a Congressional vote on a health care plan that incorporated a public option rather than the mandate. The mandate was something they pushed for as an alternative, and given their responses to it I’m strongly suspecting that many of the legislators and activists who did so wanted one precisely so that they could use it to make life difficult for the government.

    You don’t want the government telling companies what they need to cover in their employee health care plans? You don’t want the government requiring people to purchase health insurance? You want a market-based system? That’s what the Democrats were trying to pass. That’s what Republicans and conservatives stopped them from passing. With a public option, the insurance companies do what they want and cover what they want, employers buy whatever coverage they want, people can buy or not buy health insurance as they choose, and the government provides health insurance that does cover pre-existing conditions and does include birth control and is affordable for low-income people – and people can buy that if they like. And if a lot of people like that better than what the insurance companies are offering, then the insurance companies have to adapt and compete.

    That’s what the Democrats proposed. That’s what the Republicans blocked. The mandate was passed as a compromise with the Republicans to get some kind of health care reform passed. So if it’s a mess, it’s a mess deliberately created by the people who are complaining about it.

    And this is why political compromise with the Republicans is like Aesop’s story of the farmer and the viper. You’re going to get bitten.Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Katharine, ACA was passed strictly on party lines. D’s had enough votes to have complete control of the process, and this is what they got. They were under time constraints due to Ted Kennedys death and Scott Browns election, but the only compromising they had to do was within their own party. R’s had nothing to do with this.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to aaron david says:

        I think the point is that, while the conservative justices are saying today that the mandate is unconstitutional because Congress could have accomplished the same goal through means that put less of a burden on HL’s religious liberty interest, Republicans were never willing to support amendments to the law that would have made it less burdensome. In other words, HL would be arguing ACA is unconstitutional whether it included a means for public provision of insurance for contraceptives. Of course, the even better proof of disingenuousness are the lawsuits filed by non-profits that don’t like teh workaround HHS provided for them.Report

      • @aaron-david

        I seem to remember a big push by the Dems to get at least a few Republicans on board. If the Republicans–or some of them besides Snowe and, briefly, Grassely–had engaged, then maybe what @katherinemw is supposing could have come about. Maybe not, though. Whatever the Republicans believed, they seemed to draw the line somewhere south of a public option.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to aaron david says:

        HL would be arguing ACA is unconstitutional whether it included a means for public provision of insurance for contraceptives.

        And there’s effectively zero probability that argument would have won. It’s implausible that the Court would have even agreed that they had standing to bring such a case, because it’s already established that you don’t have standing to challenge how your tax dollars are used.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to aaron david says:

        “The mandate was passed as a compromise with the Republicans to get some kind of health care reform passed. So if it’s a mess, it’s a mess deliberately created by the people who are complaining about it.”

        Numerous compromises were made with the GOP, which the GOP immediately reneged upon.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to aaron david says:

        @james-hanley Before the court granted Wheatley an emergency order, I would have agreed with you. But the majority of the court seems awfully friendly towards claims (by conservative Christians) that even very tenuous burdens on their religious freedom are constitutionally protected. And either way, it’s hard not to get the sense that the plaintiffs here really have a problem with these forms of birth control being used at all, not just with them being used in ways that the plaintiffs are vaguely complicit in.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to aaron david says:

        Oops, I meant Wheaton.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to aaron david says:

        Don,

        Do you mean Wheaton College?

        I don’t think we can read too much into that yet. Even standing claims can receive a thorough litigation and argument before the Court. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife.

        I get why Wheaton makes people nervous, and I won’t pretend that I don’t find it very puzzling. But there’s no legal ruling there yet; none at all.Report

  24. Avatar Barry says:

    “Of course, the even better proof of disingenuousness are the lawsuits filed by non-profits that don’t like teh workaround HHS provided for them.”

    And in the Wheaton College case, it’s clear that the SCOTUS five didn’t even spend a day living up to what they said. They also sent back a large number of cases, so it looks like *all* birth control is on the table.

    This is where women and liberals in general are rightfully suspicious – SCOTUS clearly carved out birth control as a special case, deserving of special exemptions for right-wingers.Report

  25. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    @zic

    “…if she believes that good, wholesome sex is important to her health and well-being, that’s also her choice.”

    I want to reiterate that I 100% support access to BC for all women, however continuing to play devil’s advocate here, your comment above illustrates my point. Assuming the woman is engaging in voluntary sex, then restricting her access to birth control isn’t really an infringement on her rights IMO. She is choosing to engage in behavior which could result in a pregnancy. This is true even with various birth control devices. So just to be clear, what is really being said to employers is,

    “Expecting celibacy as a means of birth control is unfair, so therefore you must pay for drugs that allow me to keep having sex for fun with no consequences.”

    That is what religious conservatives hear in this conversation and it’s why I think Hobby Lobby won the case. For those that oppose these kinds of policies, my suggestion is to re-frame the discussion because right now you are not speaking the same language. Liberals tend to be far too quick in claiming something is a ‘right’. Access to birth control is not a ‘right’ in my opinion. Yes, it’s desirable and I think it should be extremely easy (and maybe even government funded) but that’s a policy decision, not a moral obligation.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I consider it a moral obligation not to have kids you can’t care for.
      Not that the “barefoot and pregnant” regiment seems to mind if women can’t care for their babies…Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      @mike-dwyer I know you’re playing devil’s advocate here, so let me try to target the argument appropriately. First, “you must pay” is, at best, reductive, and at worst outright incorrect. We are talking about what is included in a health insurance policy that the employee earned through her labor provided to the company. So they’re saying that they want to micromanage the relationship between the employee and her doctor, and they want to do it in a way that burdens women who want to have sex without pregnancy, but not men who want the same thing, and they don’t want to do it for any of the other behavior that they perceive to be immoral that is in any way facilitated or subsidized by everything else that health insurance covers. I have a problem with that.

      Beyond that, does it bother you that this argument still applies to married women that want to have sex with their spouses without becoming pregnant? That it applies even to women like the Griswold plaintiffs, who are married and for whom pregnancy would be potentially life-threatening? Women who would be at great risk of serious complications and who also would face considerable financial hardship if BC isn’t covered?Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Don Zeko says:

        @don-zeko

        “…they want to do it in a way that burdens women who want to have sex without pregnancy, but not men who want the same thing…”

        So they ARE providing BC for men? That is the first I have heard of that.

        As for your second paragraph, again, I am completely okay with women in those situations having access to BC (I was a father at 19 and I now have two teenage daughters, believe me when I tell you that I think universal access to BC is awesome). My point though is that there are more than a few people that would say sex can be fun within a marriage but the ultimate goal is children because God designed us that way. They will say that it is immoral to stop those pregnancies because of their belief regarding when life begins.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Don Zeko says:

        Considering that condoms are cheap and available over the counter, there’s certainly a disproportionate cost being borne by women. And if you’ve ever heard of a man offering to pay for his girlfriend’s hormonal contraception or IUD, that makes one of us.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Don Zeko says:

        @don-zeko I do know lots of men who’ve paid for their girlfriend’s abortions.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Don Zeko says:

        @zic That’s fair, although I’m sure we still agree that hormonal contraception, IUD’s, emergency contraception and the like put a disproportionate financial burden on women. Plus, the types of birth control that HL objects to are all much more likely to be paid for out of pocket by women than by men.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Don Zeko says:

        So they ARE providing BC for men? That is the first I have heard of that.
        We provide hormone therapies for men with issues with testosterone levels or excess estrogen levels.

        I realize that men generally think of “the Pill” as a contraceptive, but what it does is alter hormone levels — which means it’s also a first-level treatment for things like PCOS, debilitating menstrual cycles, cycle-tirggered migraines — not to mention that it affects brain biochemistry, so it is also used to treat some depressions. (As noted by another poster).

        I am not aware of an exemption in Hobby Lobby requiring coverage of the Pill for non-contraceptive purposes, even though they do exist.

        Secondarily, should a prescription male contraceptive exist, I would whole-heartedly support requiring insurance to cover it. Since it doesn’t, kvetching that insurance doesn’t cover it is ridiculous.

        I also support moving the Pill to OTC, however I understand the issues at stake here — as mentioned above, the “Pill” is not some single, magical formulation. Birth control pills vary in formulation, and have differing effects and side effects on women (it’s mucking with hormones after all) which is another reason the “8 bucks at Target, yuk-yuk” reasoning could only come from a man.

        My doc went through three medications dealing with my seizure disorder. My wife got lucky with the first formulation of the Pill they tried with her (for an underlying medical disorder, in fact). Her sister, taking it for contraception, went through five variants before finding one that didn’t cause drastic side effects. That one isn’t 8 bucks at Target.

        My sister-in-law’s implant caused migraines and massive emotional swings — they had to remove and replace it with another formulation.

        I wonder if I’d have a court case against Hobby Lobby, for refusing to cover the Pill for my wife despite the fact that she uses it to regulate a health-threatening hormonal imbalance, not to prevent contraception?Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      @mike-dwyer this is clashing belief systems; some folk who believe wholesome sex is a positive, some who believe it’s immoral; and the ‘immoral’ traditions root deeply in some very nasty stuff. Take the recent spate of headlines about all the dead babies at an Irish home for unwed-mothers. That story was grossly misreported, suggesting that somehow, the Nuns were responsible for these babies deaths in some way beyond resource shortages, and that was pretty offensive.

      But the real horror there was pregnant women, thrown from the bosom of their families simply because they were pregnant, rape or no rape, sent to these homes to give birth. After delivery, the children were kept at the home, the mother sent off to indentured servitude. That’s a real outcome of the moral world of sex only for procreation within the bonds of marriage.

      Playing my own devil’s advocate, I never noticed anyone who holds those morals lobbying for extramarital sex to be considered rape; to give these men the same moral culpability the women had. Yet none of those pregnancies happened without a man. This calculus seems misogynists and discriminatory to its core.Report

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