This year, a few news sources are reporting that Obama rendered the Hobby Lobby decision obsolete. Basically, if a religious organization has a religious objection to paying for birth control, then the health insurance provider must provide birth control coverage at no charge.
But it would be wrong to say that this nullifies the Supreme Court decision. Rather, Obama is implementing the decision.
Here are some facts:
- ACA, as written, already had the same policy for religious non-profits. That is, if they had a religious objection to paying for birth control, then the insurance provider must provide birth control coverage at no charge.
- The rationale behind the Hobby Lobby decision is that if the ACA does it for religious non-profits, then it can (and must) do the same for religious for-profits. And now Obama has made it so.
There was never any danger of female employees losing access to birth control coverage. The danger is that it makes religious rights too expansive. Can religious employers discriminate merely because their religious beliefs tell them to? The Hobby Lobby decision doesn't outright say that they can, but it sets a poor precedent.
I also worry about perverse incentives. Why should organizations with particular religious beliefs have to pay less for health insurance? I do not want to financially incentivize those beliefs, and it is simply unfair.
Though there is a lot of focus on the Hobby Lobby decision, I find the decision itself hard to argue with. I think the real problem is in the original ACA policy, as written by the legislators. Religious organizations should not have a right to discriminate, and the ones that do should not have their operating costs subsidized.