Obamacare

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear New Challenge to Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate

Obamacare is headed back to SCOTUS.

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Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

For the fourth time in five years, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a legal challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In an order released Friday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in seven Obamacare petitions, which will likely be consolidated into one final decision released at the end of the 2015-2016 term. At issue is whether the government is violating religious liberty in its scheme for granting regulatory accommodations to religious nonprofits, such as universities, hospitals, and charities, that object to Obamacare's contraceptive mandate.

In the most well-known of these petitions, Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell, a nonprofit organization of Catholic nuns maintains that the Obama administration has violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by requiring the Little Sisters "to comply [with Obamacare], either directly or by executing documents that authorize and obligate others to use the Little Sisters' healthcare plans to accomplish the 'seamless' provision of contraceptive coverage."

In other words, although the federal government has exempted the Little Sisters from providing contraceptive coverage directly to its employees, the Little Sisters object to the fact that it is nonetheless required to file paperwork that results in that same contraceptive coverage being provided by a third-party. In the view of the Little Sisters, any involvement in facilitating such contraceptive coverage is tantamount to being involved in facilitating abortion.

The Obama administration counters this argument by maintaining that the Little Sisters don't simply want a reasonable religious accommodation for its views, the group also seeks to impose its own improper agenda by "prevent[ing] the government from arranging for third parties to provide separate coverage to the affected women."

The Supreme Court will likely hear oral arguments in this new Obamacare dispute by spring 2016.

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  1. Little Sisters object to the fact that it is nonetheless required to file paperwork that results in that same contraceptive coverage being provided by a third-party.

    I hate Obamacare with the passion of a thousand suns, but I’m having a little trouble understanding the sisters argument here, aren’t they exempt from providing the coverage? This is just because they have to file paperwork?

    1. You don’t have to kill someone, but you are required to sign an order authorizing someone else to kill someone. So you can keep a clean conscience.

      1. Pretty much this.

      2. Ah, so like the morning after pill too, not just condoms?

        That’s fucked up.

        1. While the controversy is not settled, many people equate some forms of morning-after pill as chemically-induced abortion. These pills are required to be included in the birth control coverage.

          So if you believe abortion is a sin which is forbidden by your religion, then any mandate that forces you to participate in anyway in getting these pills to women is equal forcing you to support abortion against your will.

          That is the Little Sister’s argument.

    2. They are forced to take action that results in people being given contraceptives. They view this as being tantamount to providing contraceptives themselves. The reasoning seems pretty solid to me. It is a bit like the controversy over rendition of American citizens to foreign nations where they can be tortured for information. Sure, WE aren’t personally torturing them, but does that really give us a pass?

  2. … the group also seeks to impose its own improper agenda by “prevent[ing] the government from arranging for third parties to provide separate coverage to the affected women.

    They had me at preventing the government.

  3. The Obama administration counters this argument by maintaining that the Little Sisters don’t simply want a reasonable religious accommodation for its views, the group also seeks to impose its own improper agenda by “prevent[ing] the government from arranging for third parties to provide separate coverage to the affected women.”

    the intellectual dishonesty of this argument is just astounding. Because if one thing is clear, it’s that the govt would never ever ever impose its agenda on anyone.

    1. Well it is perfectly fine for the government to impose its agenda of making everyone have birth control coverage as part of health insurance, that is PROPER. The Little Sisters not wanting to be involved with that is an unconscionable use of force.

      It makes sense, if you are nuts.

  4. Because, after all, women are so weak and stupid they simply won’t have contraception unless the State makes their employers give it to them, rather than … letting them buy it with their salaries.

    My employer doesn’t buy me condoms, even indirectly via insurance or “getting a third party to provide them for me”.

    I just go buy the damned things.

    Like an adult with a job.

    1. Ohhhhhhhhhh look at Mr. Big Time Braggy-pants over here.

    2. Also, why can’t the guy buy his own condoms? Do prog women only sleep with homeless men and pajama boy?

      1. Actually, that would really help to explain why he always looks so pleased with himself

        1. “Is that Viagra in your cocoa, or are you just glad to see that president of the Womyn’s Student Caucus?”

          1. We all know they just marshmallows, including the extra ones his mother put in the cocoa because he is the bestest, biggest, boy ever.

      2. I can buy fifty of the condoms I prefer off of Amazon for a little over ten dollars. Do you expect me to just have ten dollars (and change) laying around?

        Look at you, up on your high, rich person horse, telling me how to spend my money.

        1. Toughskin Condoms: You Won’t Feel A Goddamn Thing, Guaranteed

          1. Those are the denim ones, right?

            1. I prefer the corduroy ones personally.

        2. Why spend 10 dollars?

          Don’t be a dummy, cum on her tummy.

          (Then give her a fake phone number and skip out before she wakes up)

  5. “I object to my money being stolen and given to other people.”

    [Justices laugh, throw petitioner down flight of stairs]

    “Signing a piece of paper is just like murder! MURDER! BABY MURDER!”

    “Solid logic. Welcome to the Supreme Court.”

    1. Between cop murderers, climate change idiocy and the militarization of our military let’s lighten things up and talk about abortion.

      1. This is the closest we are going to get to a Friday Afternoon Fun Link, I fear.

    2. Obama’s accommodation is more like a money laundering scheme where the contraceptive coverage comes out of the Little Sister’s money contribution but is passed through some other organization and Obama thinks this provides some kind of moral plausible deniability.

  6. They very much want to stop people from using birth control. They already make sure that their employees cannot use their health benefits for birth control. Now they want to make sure that other people cannot provide those employees with it. They also believe that they have the moral right to tell those employees that they should not use their wages to pay for birth control, it follows the same logic of “I don’t want my money going to pay for….” . But in the US, we generally feel that once you pay someone wages or benefits, it is not up to you to decide what people use them for. There are those who disagree with this principal, because they really like telling other people what to do. Hopefully, those on the side of liberty will prevail.

    1. WTF are you blathering about?

      1. Just repeating what he read elsewhere, I assume.

    2. An employer does not really have any power to make an employee do what the employer wants with their wages and the employer has the authority to define what the benefits package includes prior to it being received by the employee, notwithstanding the administration micromanaging what health insurance must cover. So, your point is , not well made.

    3. The govt telling free people what must or must not be in an employment contract is wrong, and unconstitutional on its face.

    4. Are they placing furniture in front of all the pharmacy doors to stop them from getting in and buying birth control? No? They they are not stopping, nor do they want to stop anyone from buying birth control. They just don’t want to pay for it.

      See, I’m not buying you shoes right now. If you said you wanted shoes, I’d recommend you go buy some. Am I “stopping you from buying shoes?”

      Oh and btw paint chips are not for eating.

  7. Little Sisters of the Poor

    Hey, when do they play Baylor and TCU again? The season is getting near the end.

  8. Oh, isn’t it cute, the Little Sisters of the Poor are serenading the Obama administration in honor of their upcoming battle.

    Catchy tune, but I don’t recall seeing it in the *Gather* hymnal.

  9. One think I don’t like is the fact that this always seems to come down to religious exemption, when it shouldn’t even go that far. Even if you accept the notion of requiring employers to offer health care, birth control is not a medical necessity; it’s not life saving surgery or treatment; if your employer isn’t required to pay for your food and shelter, they sure as shit shouldn’t have to finance your sex life. Why can’t the mandate be challenged just on that basis? It would make the case far stronger if anything, as it wouldn’t rely on a special exemption.

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