General Question

dxs's avatar

Was the Supreme Court's ruling yesterday on the Affordable Care Act a good one?

Asked by dxs (14503points) July 1st, 2014

The Supreme Court decision yesterday said that certain contraceptives that equate to their beliefs of abortion does not have to be covered by insurance. Here’s an article about it.
In my quest to fully understand the Affordable Care Act, I’m interested to know if providing contraception would have been beneficial and what Barack Obama’s intention of adding this into the health care plan was. Was it an impingement on religious liberties?

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36 Answers

syz's avatar

There’s a good bit of misinformation specific to the Hobby Lobby case; on the part of Hobby Lobby, they only objected to specific forms of birth control based on their religious beliefs (according to them).

But the wording of your question sounds to me if you are questioning whether or not birth control is a valid medical treatment. (“if providing contraception would have been beneficial and what Barack Obama’s intention of adding this into the health care plan was”.)

Birth control is vitally important to allowing women have autonomy over their own bodies (as well as many, many non-reproductive medical issues that it is used for).

As to the specific components of birth control that Hobby Lobby can now instruct insurers not to provide, women, specifically, are excluded from having these options that may have been recommended to them by their doctor paid for by their insurance.

If I own a huge company, how are Hobby Lobby’s “strongly held religious beliefs” any more valid then my own “strongly held disgust” about penis pumps and Viagra? Should I be able to instruct my insurance carrier to refuse to pay for those products specific to men? Why not? Hobby Lobby can.

gailcalled's avatar

It’s not all contraception across the board. Read the details of the decision, please.

dxs's avatar

It’s just the “morning after” pill, right? So this means they still cover other types of contraception?
[edit]: I edited the question.

gailcalled's avatar

“That includes Plan B contraception, which some have called the “morning after” pill, and intrauterine devices or IUDs used by an estimated 2 million American women.” (Also something called “the week after” pill that I dodn’t know much about.)

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I really, really wish that we would have gone to socialized medicine instead of Obamacare. One insurance plan for everyone, everyone pays for it with taxes, end of story. Nothing to do with employers at all. I have had this type of medical coverage in South Africa, Canada and England, as it’s great. Wonderful, in fact, regardless of who is spreading rumors to the contrary out there.

As it is, I can see many, many more problems arising. Now employers can refuse medical coverage for spouses of gay couples, even if they are legally married. That will be the next one, just watch.

This ruling on Hobby Lobby is really not a big deal as their employees are still covered for most birth control. The next few challenges to Obamacare are going to be much more significant.

dxs's avatar

@syz Making contraception more available, especially in underprivileged areas, is a step up economically in my opinion. But I don’t even know if that’s relevant here. (I’ve spent a while trying to understand the ACA but I just can’t grasp it.) I don’t see how birth control would be an invalid medical treatment, especially in non-religious ways. I think religion is far too subjective to be involved in a secular atmosphere like this, so it’s like a dead end. The way I see it is that this lets people’s personal thoughts dictate what a whole country can do.

syz's avatar

^ Exactly.

As has been previously pointed out, this case opens the door to horrendous abuse. As Justice Ginsberg wrote in her dissent, “Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”

Another part of the problem with this case is that it’s clearly political. If Hobby Lobby feels so strongly about their religious beliefs that they’ve taken this case all the way to the Supreme Court, why are they buying their products from China, a country that has views about abortion that are antithetical to Hobby Lobby’s?

gailcalled's avatar

Apparently Hobby Lobby has an investment portfolio that includes many of the big pharma companies that manufacture the taboo pills and IUDs. From TheDailyKos, Good research by Mollie Redden in Mother Jones.

hominid's avatar

I appreciate the energy put into making sure the specifics of what contraception is applicable here. But surprisingly, I don’t find the details all that relevant. @syz is correct regarding women and control of their own bodies. But in a way, this is missing the point. We shouldn’t be arguing about the ethics or needs for Plan B or IUDs at all. Why? Because they are legal.

Since we don’t have universal health care in this country (and somehow are not humiliated by this fact), and we’ve decided to leave it up to an awful system of private health insurance companies. Allowing for religious exemption in health care (of any kind) is as troubling as allowing for religious exemption in other vital services, such as fire and police.

I feel that engaging in a discussion about IUDs or Plan B is likely counter-productive and only tangentially-related.

Darth_Algar's avatar

No. It’s an absolutely terrible ruling, for the reasons Justice Ginsburg pointed out in her dissent.

jaytkay's avatar

Here’s the text of the ruling for anyone interested in the specifics.

I found links that didn’t work in my browser, so here are three options in hopes that at least one works for you.

US Supreme Court site

Washington Post – Supreme Court decision on Affordable Care Act contraception mandate

Louisville Courier Journal – Full text of the Supreme Court ‘Hobby Lobby’ decision

Coloma's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt Agreed, and, we are fast approaching only a part time work society because of this. Full time employment is already fading fast and most people I know are working 2–3 jobs. Best way around employers not having to pay for health care is to reduce their workforce to part time only. I have been dealing with this situation for over 3 years. Virtually impossible to find decent full time work anymore.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@Coloma Yes, I have noticed that, too. At my place of employment, we had to drop all of the 20-hour a week people to 19 hours, just to get around Obamacare. If it was just straight government health care, it would have nothing to do with employers or companies.

As far as the ruling yesterday, I think it is the right decision. I hope everyone else also challenges Obamacare. I hope Obamacare gets so screwed up that they have to come up with a different plan. Maybe the right one next time around.

syz's avatar

For me, it’s just another reason to drop group coverage, which is what we’ve done at my place of work. We pay 50% of the cost for individual coverage, employees are responsible for the rest.The group coverage has gone up by 30% every year for the past 3 years, and will likely do so again at the end of this year.

It’s cheaper for us as a business to cancel the group, send our employees to the marketplace, pay the fine, and give our employees a bonus to put toward paying for their health insurance premiums. At least 10 of employees are eligible for the subsidies and tax breaks, and at least one will only have to pay $30/month (2 people will wind up paying more, one of which is me).

Unless insurance companies make some drastic changes, I truly think they’ll price themselves out of the group coverage business. But in the meantime, if employers can withhold aspects of health care depending on personal beliefs, then all the more reason to go to the marketplace and pick out the program that works for you.

ibstubro's avatar

So if a Christian Scientist owned a large corporation, they could just refuse to provide health care?

I predict that Obamacare is just a stepping stone on the path to universal health care, and I think that’s why it’s so polarizing to the left and the right…they know that.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The stupidities that pile up around the affordable care act are both endless and inevitable, and just what one would expect from a scheme whose primary goal is not to render the most efficient and widespread coverage possible. It is important to recognize that Romney care was devised to deflect the United States from the PROVEN model of single payer universal health care. The primary purpose of the ACA is to guarantee that parasitic insurance companies turn a healthy profit. Hidden away in the decision by the court is the literal statement from Scalia that is the great truth of the healthcare debate. The government DOES have a compelling interest in seeing to it that women have access to contraception, and the government has the option of PROVIDING IT. This truth if applicable to contraceptives, must certainly hold for ALL health care. It’s basic logic and just plain common sense.

cazzie's avatar

Health Care provided to a person.. an individual, should not vary based on who they are employed by. No one should be subject to the whim of a ‘corporation’ throwing their biased ideas into an arena it has not right to. A company either provides healthcare or it doesn’t. This bullshit grey zone discussion shouldn’t even be happening. If it is legal, it should be provided. End of Story.

jaytkay's avatar

This was a great victory for religious freedom of the tiny number of very loud people who believe IUDs are abortions.

kritiper's avatar

Bad news! There is now a case pending where a merchant wants to deny service to gays based on religious views. Can you say “SCOTUS, can you fit your foot in your mouth??” Hypocrisy is not dead!

dxs's avatar

What’s SCOTUS?
@kritiper Can you give me a link to that?

kritiper's avatar

@dxs SCOTUS= Supreme Court Of The United States. The case is in Oregon, you might be able to find it on a Portland, Ore. news site or

CWMcCall's avatar

They make the right and only choice and whether it was a good ruling or leads us into a minefield has yet to be seen. The media and people who oppose this ruling are knee jerk reacting to the overall concept of religious based freedoms as opposed to the facts of the case involving only specific forms of birth control that conflict with their religious beliefs and not all forms of BC plus people are now free to pursue ACA coverage on their own and get all the birthcontrol they so desire on the open market.

jaytkay's avatar

…the case involving only specific forms of birth control that conflict with their religious beliefs and not all forms of BC…

Not true. As Ginsburg wrote, ”the Court’s reasoning appears to permit commercial enterprises like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga to exclude from their group health plans all forms of contraceptives.

…people are now free to pursue ACA coverage on their own and get all the birthcontrol they so desire on the open market…

That will usually be much more expensive than employer-provided insurance which is typically partly paid by the employer.

syz's avatar

@stanleybmanly ” the PROVEN model of single payer universal health care”

PROVEN to be the highest per capita spending in the developed world and underperforming relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last. The U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity. Source

Also PROVEN to be the overwhelmingly primary cause of bankruptcy. in the United states.

@CWMcCall “the right and only choice” based on what?

The “this country was founded on religious freedom” applies just as strongly to freedom from religion as it does to the freedom to practice religion. Hobby Lobby has now been given the right to inflict their own religious views on others, the antithesis of what the founding fathers attempted to do. And certainly, nowhere was Christianity designated as the only religion.

pleiades's avatar


ANSWER: To take the uneducated kids “mid western good ol’ boys” and have them serve in the army of course!

jaytkay's avatar

And today five members of the court clarified that they want make ALL contraceptives less available.

“The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings in favor of businesses that object to covering all 20 methods of government-approved contraception.”

“SCOTUS: Ruling Applies Broadly To Contraception Coverage”;

Darth_Algar's avatar


The “right and only choice” that actually directly contradicts previous rulings by the court.

CWMcCall's avatar

@Darth_Algar Previous does not always indicate nor establish the right ruling as clearly the Supreme court judges are all appointed by sitting Presidents and this ruling was clearly divided between conservative and liberal appointed judges. Majority ruled, deal with it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

And two of those judges were in the majority opinion in both yesterday’s ruling and the earlier ruling (Employment Division v Smith), thus contradicting themselves.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, the “majority” only means the power players, not “we the people.”

rojo's avatar

No, it is a blatant political decision not a legal one.

rojo's avatar

It is a sad time in America.

We have stepped backwards to a point where properties are people and people are only property.

rojo's avatar

All you wage slaves better start towing the line and all you sluts better learn to keep your legs together.

CWMcCall's avatar

@rojo Why is this ruling a “sad time” in America? Each and every American now has guaranteed access to health care including all forms of birth control through ACA and private business owners have now been assured the right to have free will to exercise their religious beliefs unencumbered by restrictive Federal regulations! It’s HUGE win win for everybody. Why is this so difficult for you to comprehend?

rojo's avatar

It is a sad time because we have a Supreme Court that is more concerned with politics than the law.
It is a sad time because the SC is in the process of redefining corporate personhood to put it on an even, or greater, footing than your or I.
It is a sad time because we are not talking about business owners here, they have always had the right, we are talking about corporations being granted the right to discriminate based on THE CORPORATIONS religious beliefs.
It is a sad time because we are in the process of providing corporations with the ability to pick and choose what parts of the law (and the ACA is the law) it is going to abide by. Which, by coincidence, the GOP claims the President does and that is why they are sitting with their thumbs up their ass doing nothing.
It is a sad time because business has bought and own’s our government and have convinced a large percentage of the population that what is good for them is good for the people.
It is sad because those people have swallowed those lies and are content to sit here and argue over the crumbs that trickle down out of their feeding trough while telling themselves how good they have it.

Darth_Algar's avatar


It’s a sad time because the precedent this ruling sets goes far beyond just contraceptives. Contraceptives are almost a footnote to the can of worms this opens up. Seriously, read Justice Ginsberg’s dissenting opinion.

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