RMC Responds: The Real Costs of Hobby LobbyPosted: July 11, 2014
Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, which RMC explains in a recent blog could have a broader impact on insurance coverage for all forms of birth control, some of RMC’s Facebook commenters have stated their support for the Hobby Lobby ruling is mainly based on opposition to the federal government using taxpayer dollars to pay for birth control. In response to RMC’s call for the Supreme Court to uphold individual liberty instead of creating a hierarchy of religious beliefs, one Facebook commenter said: “I’m all for choice…but stop expecting the government to mandate and pay for everything.”
The truth is that when the Supreme Court ruled against equity in contraceptive coverage, they specifically suggested ways for the taxpayer, instead of companies, to cover the cost of private sector workers’ contraceptives. SCOTUS essentially gave private businesses the right to dictate particular forms of medication or push employees to the newly created healthcare exchanges. The exchanges are set up on a sliding scale, meaning the government i.e. taxpayers end up paying for a portion of the coverage. Health insurance is an earned benefit, a form of compensation for an employee’s work at a company. Mainstream Republicans who believe in limited government should take a closer look at the ramifications of this decision. Above and beyond the dangerous religious freedom hierarchy this decision created, the end result could actually increase the ways that you as taxpayers will be compensating workers instead of the company that employs them:
1. The Majority’s ‘Let the Government Pay’ Alternative. In Justice Scalia’s opinion, he outright suggested that the government pay for pregnancy prevention and contraceptive coverage when companies refuse to. While many extremists who support this ruling suggest that corporation’s beliefs are more important than their employees, do you believe that this hierarchy of personal beliefs should force the taxpayer to get involved as well?
2. The Religious Accommodation. Justice Scalia also suggested that “closely held” corporations should be given the same accommodation as religious non-profits and churches, who have the option to register their religious objections to the contraception mandate with the federal government. In these cases, an insurer or a third-party administrator covers birth control. Under the new health care plan the government, ie: taxpayer dollars are then used to reimburse that insurance company for the cost of the coverage.
3. The State Healthcare Exchange. If an employee wants health insurance with adequate coverage and their employer refuses to provide it, they have the option to enter the state or federal healthcare exchange and purchase their own. In some cases, the federal government will then subsidize that health insurance, which includes full contraception coverage. These federal government subsidies come from revenue made from none other than the American taxpayer.
When all is said in done, we should all consider the economic impacts of contraception. Providing affordable contraception in the private market is the truly fiscally conservative approach to reducing unplanned pregnancy and abortion and that is why RMC champions the coverage of it. In fact, not providing contraceptive coverage in employee health plans costs insurers 15 to 17% more in the long run. Contraception coverage saves insurance companies money and leads to large Medicaid savings for state and federal governments.