Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric care

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric care.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided 5 to 4 the case entitled Burwell v. Hobby Lobby:
http://www2.bloomberglaw.com/public...y_Stores_Inc_No_13354_and_13356_US_June_30_20

In Hobby Lobby the U.S. Supreme Court held that, as applied to closely held corporations, the HHS regulations promulgated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) (often referred to as "Obamacare") imposing the contraceptive mandate violate The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).

In other words, a closely held corporation does not have to provide insurance coverage for contraception if doing so would violate the owner's religious beliefs.

The obvious question for this forum is whether the decision in Hobby Lobby will permit a closely held corporation or other business owned by a Scientologist to refuse to provide coverage for care by a psychiatrist or psychologist, or for psychiatric medication. Despite the fact, discussed below, that in dissent Justice Ginsberg recognized and generally discussed the issue, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to decide the question. The answer is therefore a resounding "Maybe." No one knows whether subsequent cases decided under Hobby Lobby will hold that a closely held corporation or other business owned by a Scientologist may refuse to provide coverage for care by a psychiatrist or psychologist, or for psychiatric medication.

The most efficient starting point for analysis is Justice Ginsburg's dissenting opinion, in which (as to the part I'm about to quote) Justices Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagain all joined. Justice Ginsberg asks:
Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives 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 (Christian Scientists, among others)? 31 According to counsel for Hobby Lobby, "each one of these cases . . . would have to be evaluated on its own . . . apply[ing] the compelling interest-least restrictive alternative test." Tr. of Oral Arg. 6. Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision.
Dissent at p. 44.

Most importantly, the majority and controlling opinion by Justice Alioto responds:
HHS and the principal dissent argue that a ruling in favor of the objecting parties in these cases will lead to a flood of religious objections regarding a wide variety of medical procedures and drugs, such as vaccinations and blood transfusions, but HHS has made no effort to substantiate this prediction. 42 HHS points to no evidence that insurance plans in existence prior to the enactment of ACA excluded coverage for such items. Nor has HHS provided evidence that any significant number of employers sought exemption, on religious grounds, from any of ACA's coverage requirements other than the contraceptive mandate.

It is HHS's apparent belief that no insurance-coverage mandate would violate RFRA-no matter how significantly it impinges on the religious liberties of employers-that would lead to intolerable consequences. Under HHS's view, RFRA would permit the Government to require all employers to provide coverage for any medical procedure allowed by law in the jurisdiction in question-for instance, third-trimester abortions or assisted suicide. The owners of many closely held corporations could not in good conscience provide such coverage, and thus HHS would effectively exclude these people from full participation in the economic life of the Nation. RFRA was enacted to prevent such an outcome.

In any event, our decision in these cases is concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate. Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer's religious beliefs. Other coverage requirements, such as immunizations, may be supported by different interests (for example, the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases) and may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them.
Opinion, at p. 26.

The Supreme Court (i.e., speaking through the 5 to 4 majority opinion by Alioto) is clearly leaving open the issues concerning insurance coverage for vaccinations, blood transfusions and (by necessary implication) coverage for psychiatric and psychological care, and psychiatric medication. For our purposes the key words in the majority opinion are those highlighted in red, i.e., "necessarily" and "may."

There are now numerous news stories that assert that the decision in Hobby Lobby is "limited" to contraceptive coverage. While in one sense that may be technically true, do not be misled. The Hobby Lobby Court did not "limit" its decision to contraceptive coverage in the sense of clearly stating that all other religiously objectionable coverage (e.g., for vaccinations, blood transfusions, psychiatric and psychological care, psychiatric medication) is mandated. The Hobby Lobby Court instead left open the issue whether coverage for religiously objectionable coverage (e.g., for vaccinations, blood transfusions and psychiatric and psychological care, psychiatric medication) is mandated even in the face of a religious objection under the RFRA.

A Scientology owned closed corporation or other business can certainly refuse to provide insurance coverage for psychiatric and psychological care, and psychiatric medication, and either: (a) file a lawsuit to establish it is exempt from the requirements of Obamacare under the reasoning of Hobby Lobby; or (b) defend a lawsuit by HHS on the ground that it is exempt under the reasoning of Hobby Lobby. Right now nobody knows, with certainty, how such a lawsuit would turn out. The U.S. Supreme Court very expressly left the question undecided.

Going further, I personally would be surprised if Scientology owned closed corporations and other businesses did not object to providing insurance coverage for psychiatric and psychological care, and psychiatric medication, on the ground that they are covered by the reasoning of Hobby Lobby.

One final observation. I predict an RFRA objection to insurance coverage for vaccinations would likely be rejected. The U.S. Supreme Court's observation that coverage for immunizations, "may be supported by . . . the need to combat the spread of infectious diseases," sends a pretty strong signal to the lower courts. Unfortunately, I see no such strong signal concerning insurance coverage for psychiatric and psychological care.
 
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CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

The media are picking up on the reference to Scientology in Justice Ginsberg's Hobby Lobby dissent.

Forbes: Will The Supreme Court's Contraceptive Decision Affect Coverage Of Other Drugs?
http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkr...tive-decision-affect-coverage-of-other-drugs/

Excerpt:
In the dissenting opinion, Justice Ginsburg wrote more extensively for the minority,
“Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives 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 (some Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?”

“According to counsel for Hobby Lobby, “each one of these cases . . . would have to be evaluated on its own . . . apply[ing] the compelling interest-least restrictive alternative test.” Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”
The majority opinion held that no such cases have come before the court, therefore, such challenges should not be expected. But Justice Ginsburg wrote for the minority that religious objections to immunization programs, for example, are not merely hypothetical.
Mother Jones: The 8 Best Lines From Ginsburg's Dissent on the Hobby Lobby Contraception Decision
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/best-lines-hobby-lobby-decision
"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."
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

Daily Beast: Hobby Lobby: Supreme Court Declares Itself to Be High Priest
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articl...-for-conservatives-and-religious-liberty.html

Excerpt:
Moreover, with an increasingly multi-religious America, subsequent claims may not be as beloved to conservatives as this one. May pious Muslims ban immodestly dressed women, or all women for that matter, from their company’s stores? May they refuse to hire women as employees?

Or, as Justice Ginsberg noted, how about corporations owned by people who are religiously barred from blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses), antidepressants (Scientologists), and vaccinations (Christian Scientists)? On its face, Hobby Lobby says it’s not about those cases. But its logic certainly applies: if I believe that vaccinations are morally wrong, my company should not have to provide coverage for them.
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

Wall Street Journal: Hobby Lobby Contraceptive Ruling: Key Excerpts from Ginsburg’s Dissent
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2014/06/30...e-ruling-key-excerpts-from-ginsburgs-dissent/

Excerpt:
Justice Ginsburg disagreed that the ruling was as narrow as the majority framed it, warning that it would open the door to a variety of other challenges:
Pages 19, 33-34: The Court’s determination that [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] extends to for-profit corporations is bound to have untoward effects. Although the Court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private . . . .

Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives 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 (Christian Scientists, among others)?
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

Perhaps not surprisingly, Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg takes a rather sanguine view:

A Few Things the Hobby Lobby Ruling Won't Do
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-06-30/a-few-things-the-hobby-lobby-ruling-won-t-do

Excerpts:
Experience should also inform our evaluation of one of the main arguments against the ruling: that it will bring forth lawsuit after lawsuit as Scientologist employers make religious objections to covering antidepressants, Jehovah's Witnesses balk at covering blood transfusions and so on.

That's the argument with which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg closed her dissent to the decision, along with the warning that ruling on these cases will require courts to judge "the relative merits of differing religious claims."
There may be a case filed here or there. But nothing in the past or present suggests there will be a flood of litigation about Scientologist health plans. The courts aren't going to be passing judgment on the wisdom of different religious teachings. And access to blood transfusions will be affected by this decision even less than access to contraception will be.
 

Miss Ellie

Miss Ellie
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

I do not want ANYONE coming between me & my doctor.

If my doctor(s) & I decide to do any thing about any condition that is not a concern of anyone.

Insurance should cover ACCEPTED medical treatments. No dead chicken parts waved over my head please.

If I want to breed or not breed or get un-breed that is between my doctor(s), the sperm donor and my God(s). Not anyone else.

Will these same religious nut(s) adopt any child in any condition that is produced because some woman can not get birth control? I doubt it.

Ok... feel much better now...

:wink2:
 

Churchill

Gold Meritorious Patron
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

It is an interesting hypothetical, however since Scientology will never reward a down-stat by providing even the cheapest, most elementary and basic form of health coverage,

the question becomes completely moot.
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

It is an interesting hypothetical, however since Scientology will never reward a down-stat by providing even the cheapest, most elementary and basic form of health coverage,

the question becomes completely moot.
The whole point of the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare) is that employers of a certain size are legally required to provide health insurance or face a monetary penalty. That is why Hobby Lobby sued. It couldn't simply refuse to provide insurance coverage, including (until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled) insurance coverage for contraception.
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

New Republic: The Hobby Lobby Ruling May Not Be as Bad as It Seems—for Now

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/...ikely-not-prevent-free-contraceptive-coverage



Excerpt:
While the narrow ruling will likely allow HHS to apply the workaround to religious for-profit corporations, the implications of it may go further than that. Huffington Post reporter Paul Blumenthal asked on Twitter whether “Scientologist owned closely held corporation [could] refuse to cover mental health treatment for its employees.” Catherine Rampell, of the Washington Post, followed that up with questions over whether Christian Scientist–owned, closely held corporations must cover vaccinations, or Jehovah’s Witnesses–owned, closely held corporations must cover transfusions. Alito touches on this in his opinion when he explicitly writes that this ruling does not necessarily hold for immunizations or transfusions. “Other coverage requirements ... may involve different arguments about the least restrictive means of providing them,” he writes. Presumably, though, the same workaround to the contraceptive mandate could apply to immunizations or transfusions.
 

Churchill

Gold Meritorious Patron
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

It is an interesting hypothetical, however since Scientology will never reward a down-statV O LU N T E E R by providing even the cheapest, most elementary and basic form of health coverage,

the question becomes completely moot.


FIFY
 

Intentionally Blank

Scientology Widow
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

It is an interesting hypothetical, however since Scientology will never reward a down-stat by providing even the cheapest, most elementary and basic form of health coverage,

the question becomes completely moot.

It's true. Although there are small and mid size employers who are scilons who may use this law to push their agenda at some point. My personal upset is more about any religious faction having enough political clout to subvert First Amendment rights. I predict the slippery slope will make itself apparent sooner rather than later.
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

Will these same religious nut(s) adopt any child in any condition that is produced because some woman can not get birth control? I doubt it.

I've followed the case.

Hobby Lobby DOES cover birth control. They did not want to cover the "morning after pill" and other similar products because they are abortifacients, and they don't want to pay for abortion.

This does not prevent women from buying their own morning-after pill with their own money.
 

elwood

Patron with Honors
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

It's true. Although there are small and mid size employers who are scilons who may use this law to push their agenda at some point. My personal upset is more about any religious faction having enough political clout to subvert First Amendment rights. I predict the slippery slope will make itself apparent sooner rather than later.
Are you referring to the Hobby Lobby ruling or something else? What First Amendment Rights do you see as being violated?
 

Daisy

Patron with Honors
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

I've followed the case.

Hobby Lobby DOES cover birth control. They did not want to cover the "morning after pill" and other similar products because they are abortifacients, and they don't want to pay for abortion.

This does not prevent women from buying their own morning-after pill with their own money.

Thanks Enthetan, the media has not made that clear.
 

Sidney18511

Patron with Honors
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

Hobby lobby is also refusing to cover an array of woman's medical products including IUD's and most birth control pills because the incorrectly believe that they cause abortion. The SC knows that hobby lobby is incorrect in their thinking but because they "really believe" certain birth control pills cause abortions the right wingers used this as an excuse to side with the fundies.

and yes if a scientologest owned a business he can and will certainly refuse to provide mental health care.
 

Smurf

Gold Meritorious SP
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

I've followed the case. Hobby Lobby DOES cover birth control. They did not want to cover the "morning after pill" and other similar products because they are abortifacients, and they don't want to pay for abortion.

This does not prevent women from buying their own morning-after pill with their own money.

I did, too. I don't understand why people are having a cow over this. If you don't like Hobby Lobby for appealing to the Supreme Court, then don't patronize them. The same goes for Chick-fil-A ( I actually tried it when all the controversy was happening & walked away feeling UGH!! Chic-fil-A is for those who enjoy very greasy food).

Hobby Lobby does provide contraception alternatives:

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiep...verage-for-16-types-of-contraception-n1857354
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

Tony Ortega now has the story:

Scientology gets trolled by the Supremes
http://tonyortega.org/2014/07/01/ra...yone-where-there-wasnt-a-clear-self-interest/
Yesterday’s highly-anticipated Supreme Court decision regarding Hobby Lobby’s objection to the Obamacare contraception mandate produced a wild day of punditry and analysis. And one thing we noticed: When commenters wanted to give the impression that the Court’s decision was a harbinger of disaster, they tended to bring up Scientology as a dire warning.

It was actually kind of funny.

In the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Court went out of its way to make the point that its decision, finding for Hobby Lobby that its “sincerely-held” religious beliefs should allow it to opt out of the health law’s mandate, was narrowly aimed only at contraception, and should not be a signal that companies could then apply the decision to other health care requirements they disagreed with.

But critics of the decision didn’t buy that caveat, and predicted that soon, business owners would begin making their own religious-based objections for all kinds of things. A Scientologist business owner, for example, might object to paying for psychiatric treatments, since Scientology considers psychiatry the source of all of the universe’s problems.

Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing the dissenting opinion, called out Scientology by name as an example of a worst-case scenario…
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 (Christian Scientists, among others)? According to counsel for Hobby Lobby, “each one of these cases . . . would have to be evaluated on its own . . . apply[ing] the compelling interest-least restrictive alternative test.” Tr. of Oral Arg. 6. Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.
Ouch! We’ve written previously of the Supreme Court fending off Scientology. And now, to be used as a negative example in a court decision? Tsk. Tsk. Is there no love for David Miscavige’s crew on the highest court in the land? Maybe all those years of outrageous abuse of the American legal system has its price, after all.
 

NoName

A Girl Has No Name
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

I did, too. I don't understand why people are having a cow over this. If you don't like Hobby Lobby for appealing to the Supreme Court, then don't patronize them. The same goes for Chick-fil-A ( I actually tried it when all the controversy was happening & walked away feeling UGH!! Chic-fil-A is for those who enjoy very greasy food).

Hobby Lobby does provide contraception alternatives:

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiep...verage-for-16-types-of-contraception-n1857354

Yes they do.... How can anyone call Hobby Lobby anti-women when they'll pay freely for vasectomies?:melodramatic:
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

http://www.laprogressive.com/hobby-lobby-supreme-court-ruling/
Conservative Christians cheered when Hobby Lobby was able to deny working-women of childbearing age birth control coverage though their company’s insurance plan. They called it a victory for “religious freedom.” I would like to see those applauding this newly discovered corporate conscience to also stand up for other religions’ freedom: Islam, Flying Spaghetti Monster or Scientology. Otherwise they’re not really for religious freedom—they’re for Conservative Christian legal protection while tweeting the word “freedom.”
Excuse me, but is the author implying that the religion of Scientology has less merit than the religion of Flying Spaghetti Monster?
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Re: Hobby Lobby and Scientology business health insurance coverage for psychiatric ca

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