Should a company be allowed to opt out of Obamacare for religious reasons?

An Ohio company wants to opt out of Obamacare for reasons they say are protected by Freedom of Religion. Do they have a point? Suppose you find your company paying for a procedure you think is wrong. Suppose, for example, that you don't think you should have to pay for circumcision. Here's the article:

Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate illegally infringes upon the religious freedom of two Catholic grocery store owners in Ohio, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday.

The court’s ruling means Francis and Philip Gilardi do not have to provide contraceptives in their employees’ health care plans pending the resolution of their case. The Gilardis, who own Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics, are among at least 39 for-profit corporation owners who have sued the federal government over the 2010 health care reform law’s provision that says large employer health plans must include all FDA-approved contraceptives without co-pays.

Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote for the majority that the mandate put the Gilardis, both devout Catholics, in an impossible position to provide health coverage for their 400 employees. “They can either abide by the sacred tenets of their faith, pay a penalty of over $14 million, and cripple the companies they have spent a lifetime building, or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong,” wrote Brown.

The court said the government had not shown it had a compelling enough interest in forcing employers to provide birth control to justify infringing upon individual owners’ religious objections. “A parade of horribles will descend upon us, the government exclaims, if religious beliefs could serve as a private veto for the contraceptive mandate,” Brown wrote.

Brown argued that religious business owners should be allowed to opt out, as the Obama administration has already carved out exceptions to the mandate for nonprofit religious organizations such as churches and other groups.

The decision is the latest to add to a lower court split on the contraceptive mandate, which means the Supreme Court will almost certainly decide to weigh in and settle it, just a year after it upheld health care reform’s individual mandate.

So far, the 3rd and 6th circuit courts have rejected arguments that businessmen's religious freedom is infringed upon by the birth control mandate. The 10th, 8th and 7th circuit courts have disagreed, forwarding the religious freedom argument.

Many of the cases challenging the contraceptive mandate cite Citizens United, the controversial 2010 Supreme Court decision that found corporations cannot be restricted in how they spend their money for political reasons, because it infringed on their right to free speech. The Gilardis argued that their grocery store corporation also had its own right to free exercise of religion and thus was protected from having to provide contraceptives to employees. (full article here

Can you see both sides of the issue? After all, Freedom of Religion, it has been established, also protects our freedom from religion. Our freedom not to be religious.

Which side are you on?

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Libraries. Police and fire departments. Caring for the infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.). Healthcare. 

These are things that benefit one and all, even those who aren't using them at the moment. Nevertheless, they are there for the use of all. In many ways, often not obvious, they pay for themselves.

Should we have people asking themselves, "If I call the police or fire department, will they bill me for helping me?" Nonsense. It should be the same for healthcare.

Universal healthcare will keep healthcare costs down for all. How? By diagnosing and treating conditions before they become expensive emergency room catastrophes, for example. Be eliminating the ER as the "doctor" of first resort for many who are poor and/or lack health insurance. 

To be opposed to universal healthcare is not just ethically unsupportable, it's economically crazy.

(BTW, the Wall Street Journal has determined that Obamacare is not having the predicted impact on employment predicted by the GOP.)

Will it affect jobs somehow. Will it pressure employers to convert full-time jobs to part-time jobs in order to minimize the cost of compliance? Probably. 

Maybe it's time to eliminate the distinction between part-time and full-time. I'm not sure why it's needed anyway. Or perhaps part-time should start at a lower threshold, like 10 or 15 hours a week, not 30.

So, you'd be for continuing to throw the self-employed or underemployed or poor under the healthcare bus so that you don't have to have to participate?

What about the government forcing you to get a driver's license and to have insurance in order to drive? Is that a government overreach as well?

Seems rather liberal of you, I am not, I am not an conservative either, I believe in freedom, both ways, I am libertarian, I don't want to be part of the herd. That is one reason I am also a atheist to keep the others from telling me how to run my life and keep the government at bay. Programs like obamacare is not helping things. I would have thought that at least some on this site would also feel that way but it seems again that their concept of freedom is only in one direction.

If you have no freedom over the control of you money and property, you have nothing, you are just a pawn of other people's whims.

I repeat: "So, you'd be for continuing to throw the self-employed or underemployed or poor under the healthcare bus so that you don't have to have to participate?"

Just say yes. I think it's how you feel about it. Don't be shy. Say it!

So you would rather throw me and others under the bus instead? Maybe you would like the US to be totally like some socialist European countries and ignoring our roots?

Thank you, no

Asking you to participate in a healthcare system which one day you might need access to is hardly throwing you under the bus. It hardly compares with relegating other citizens (and their children, I might add) to having no reliable healthcare.

Boo hoo!

@Warren, I will agree that there's a lot of rational consistency in the libertarian approach, and in many ways I am sympathetic to it.

However, on an economic and social basis it often breaks down at scale, because when we put lots of people together in a space pure libertarianism is inherently economically inefficient.  If every individual built his own road across his property and charged his own tolls, rather than fairly contributing to common roadways, we have Germany of the 17th century: a disorganized economic backwater despite its resources and population. 

For that reason, we at times build common infrastructure and thereby suppress some liberty.  When we build common infrastructure, whether it's the federal highway system or the GPS satellite constellation, we spur innovation and economic growth.  Yes, the GPS satellite network is paid for by tax dollars, and even those who don't make personal use of it are robbed by the guvmint to support it.  Yet they too benefit because shipping costs are reduced and the general economy is improved.  More people have money to buy the goods that they are selling.

The question for health care is whether it should be common infrastructure, like a highway, or private provision, like your house.  One can make arguments either way, but I think the notion of just letting people die of treatable diseases because of inability to pay is abhorrent to us Christians and to many atheists.  There's an additional practical issue in that communicable diseases that affect even the wealthy and insured tend to originate in areas of poverty with inadequate care.   So providing care for everyone actually helps everyone, including the wealthy and insured.

Being atheist doesn't give you rights or protection from obtrusive law. Voting on the other hand is your tool of choice to ensure onerous legislation is kept to a minimum. The majority dictates policy and change. Well, in a working representative system it does but today we suffer from a corporate oligarchy that keeps our politicians in line with their long arm of influence ($$$).

I believe the rights of the individual trump the rights of the corporation. It would be wrong for an employer to be able to provide insurance that excludes a portion of the policy on religious grounds. An employer does not have the right to force their religious views on their employees. A non-Catholic nurse who works in a Catholic hospital should not have to become Catholic with regards to her reproductive choices. This would also violate the 14th amendment's equal protection under the law clause. As to whether the employers would have the right to simply not provide insurance and force their employees to look elsewhere, um, I dunno.

Absolutely!  Right after they opt out of citizenship.


Of course!  Right after they opt out of citizenship and leave.



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