Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hobby Lobby suit shows ‘Obamacare’ goes too far

By The HUTCHINSON NEWS | 2/6/2014

The politicians are joining in support of Hobby Lobby in a lawsuit that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear next month and possibly rule on the issue of religious liberty of companies, at least so far as it pertains to what health care coverage they must provide employees.

The Oklahoma-based arts and craft store chain sued the federal government saying the “Obamacare” mandate requiring coverage of contraceptives in employer-provided health insurance plans is a violation of the company’s religious freedom.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., joined other members of Congress in a legal brief in support of Hobby Lobby. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt also jumped in, filing a brief on behalf of the state and joining 17 other states in support of Hobby Lobby.

“Americans may form a corporation for profit and at the same time adhere to religious principles in their business operation,” Schmidt said.

How this is a matter that demands the use of the limited resources of the state’s attorney general is questionable. But that’s not the point here.

Hobby Lobby has a solid case, one that’s quite apart from the company’s Christian principles. The kind of birth control to which Hobby Lobby objects to having to cover should not be mandated by the government in the first place.

Give Hobby Lobby credit for distinguishing between contraception with the sole purpose of avoiding pregnancy versus medication that often is prescribed for women’s health whether or not for birth control purposes. Too many people who raise Cain about forcing companies to cover contraceptives ignore the frequent need to do so for a woman’s health. Hobby Lobby objects specifically to emergency contraception and intrauterine devices (IUDs).

No matter whether one’s religious beliefs accommodate contraception, a big problem with “Obamacare” is trying to cover too much. The “morning after pill” and IUDs should be outside of the boundaries of necessary health care coverage for the same reason “Obamacare” shouldn’t mandate coverage of condoms, sterilization, plastic surgery and abortion – unless the mother’s life is at risk. The health insurance mandate must draw a line to keep costs manageable.

This country would be better off by separating religion from medicine. The Hobby Lobby case can be made on a medical basis.

The danger of this lawsuit is if a Supreme Court ruling in support of employers’ religious freedom extends even to contraception necessary for women’s health care. That would set up a collision of corporate rights versus individual rights and shake the foundations of a health care system that, because of politics, remains an employer-based one.

— The Hutchinson News

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