Category Archives: Employer Mandate

Musings on The Hobby Lobby Case

I know that this is a law blog, so I should be writing deep lawyerly thoughts on the Hobby Lobby case, but my comments are  related to policy and feminism:

Did anyone else notice that the anti-Hobby Lobby argument (i.e. that women need their employers to buy their contraception) is really insulting to women?

My boss doesn’t pay for my rent, car, cat’s vet bills, food, or gun, but no one thinks that he’s denying me housing, transportation, the health of my pet, nutrition, or personal protection.

Yet these “feminists” are applying a different set of rules to contraception, claiming that if their boss doesn’t pay for it, they are denied access to it. The underlying assumption seems to be that sexually active women are too mentally incapacitated to use their paychecks to buy whatever contraception they need or do not need.

Isn’t THAT insulting to women? How insane would it be to say, “My boss won’t buy me my groceries he wants me to starve to death”? Normal people just buy their own food and leave their boss out if it – after all, the entire point of money is that it’s fungible and can be used for whatever legal ends the owner wants to use it for.

Why are empowered women too stupid to figure out how to use this thing called a “paycheck” to buy birth control, when they already use that very same paycheck to take care of other adult needs?  Isn’t that assumption the one that is really infantilising to women, i.e. that we need smarter people to figure out basic life skills for us?

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Filed under Employer Mandate, ObamaCare

Can the government force a religious company to open on Sundays?

Dwight G. Duncan wrote a op-ed in the Boston Globe wherein he outlined the American tradition of using corporate charters to advance religious liberty.  (Duncan filed an amicus brief for the Hobby Lobby case on behalf of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, the Massachusetts Family Institute, and the Pro-Life Legal Defense Fund.)  As Duncan writes, “The argument has been made that since corporations don’t go to heaven or hell, family businesses should not be able to freely exercise religion.”

The problem with that argument is that a “corporation” is nothing more than an agglomeration of individual people. If a “corporation” has to certify that they are providing potential abortifacients, then some human being within that company must sign off on the paperwork, cut a check to the company providing Plan B, and ensure that all female employees have access to it.  That a “company” does this action hardly means that it just magically happens: rather, an employee or employees must be the ones to ensure that the mandated action occurs and other individuals within the company must pay for it.

Imagine a rule that required companies to be open on the Sabbath.  “You’re just a corporation; the corporation does not need a day of rest,” goes the logic.

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Filed under Bioethics, Employer Mandate, ObamaCare

Snow Day Smorgasbord

A few things from ’round the web that I’ve been reading while in my jammies and petting the cat:

Michael Graham tears into the FCC for their “investigations” into how broadcast journalists decide which stories to report on. (It helps to know that the FCC has the power to shut down stations.)  If you have a true sociological interest in finding out how journalists make decisions, then send out a couple of graduate students to do research; don’t have it funded and conducted by a regulatory agency with the power to kill the business.

Speaking of regulatory excess, Congress is attempting to oversee the “black budget” that funds spy agencies. Pointing out the obvious: if Congress has no idea what the budgets for administrative agencies are, the constitutional shark has been jumped.

As part of ObamaCare’s health initiatives, Planet Fitness is forced to levy a tax on “Black Card” holders.  This is because the Black Card includes use of the tanning beds, and tanning is now taxable – even when it comes as part of an inexpensive, relatively high-quality gym membership.

Another Day, Another Illegal ObamaCare Delay. At least in a duly-passed law, you can figure out how it interacts with portions of other duly-passed laws.

Jessica Valenti seems to think that “women’s conferences” must include pro- abortion discussions.  Hey, maybe women are being paid less than men because men can do networking and business panels without talking about their sex lives.

 

 

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Filed under Academia, Employer Mandate, Law, ObamaCare

Wisdom in blog comments

Patterico writes searingly about the Obama Administration’s requirement that small businesses certify that they have not laid off any employees in order to be eligible for government goodies. Meanwhile, over at the National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru thrashes Linda Greenhouse’s blatant misrepresentations about the Little Sisters of the Poor case (specifically, Greenhouse’s omission of the fact that the Sisters are required by law to certify that someone else is providing contraceptives).

Read both articles: they are excellent descriptions of the unethical and unlawful paperwork that the government is forcing people to file.  But also read the blog comments.

At National Review, commenter Emily says,

As I said before, if one of my children were being pressured by a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, or employer to sign a form that they were assured was pointless, although objectionable to my child, and when they refused to sign it that person or organization put enormous pressure on them to sign it (a law suit and fines are enormous pressure), I would tell them not to sign it at any cost.

Nobody pressure you to sign a pointless form, which means that you are being lied to.

Over at Patterico’s, commenter Walter Cronanty explains the purpose of the (likely illegal and unconstitutional) ‘certification’ form for the IRS:

This is meant to silence critics. Remember the stories where business owners would say: “I’m not hiring [or I’m cutting hours/laying off people] because of Obamacare.” No more such stories, or they’ll be prosecuted for perjury.
Remember the stories from various news outlets/think tanks about how many jobs were lost because of Obamacare? No more – some Obama flack will say: “We’ve got sworn statements from businesses that this did not happen!”

Food for thought, my blog-friends.

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Filed under Employer Mandate, Law, ObamaCare

ObamaCare prediction

The Obama Administration has announced a delay of the “tax” on employers who do not provide their employees with health insurance.   The tax was supposed to take place in 2014, just before the midterm elections; it will be delayed until after November, 2014, so that the electorate will

Before anyone gets too excited, this was the point all along.  We needed “government accounting” to make this law “budget neutral”: ten years of revenue, six years of payments, and the CBO would score it as “budget neutral” over the maximum period that they may look at (i.e. ten years).  The second benefit to the delay is to ensure that the pain would come after the 2012 elections: either Obama would be firmly ensconced in the White House, or Mitt Romney would have taken the blame.  Likewise, the benefits were doled out immediately before the election: in August 2012, insurance companies were forced to send rebate checks to their customers and were forced to say that it was because of ObamaCare.

This latest round of politicking over ObamaCare is more of the same.  Low-information voters (which should be an oxymoron) get checks in the mail, government bennies, and not much pain – so they think ObamaCare is great.  The Administration does not want them to sit in front of employers in 2014 and be told, “We only hire for a maximum of 29 hours a week.  We would love to take you on full-time, but we can’t afford ObamaCare.”

Now, my prediction: sometime around 2020, the Supreme Court will rule that various mandates in ObamaCare are unconstitutional, based on an “evolving standard” of decency and will condemn the writers of the law as backwards and bigoted.  Barack Obama will cheer the news.

I crack myself up.

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Filed under Employer Mandate, Law, ObamaCare

Apparently, Cornell University and GULC did not teach economics to Sandra Fluke

Via Chicks on the Right, Sandra Fluke compares contraception coverage to leukemia coverage:

COTR makes good points about choosing one’s employer, a free market for one’s work and one’s mind, but I’m going to attack this absurdity from another angle.

Economics is “the study of scarce resources which have alternative uses.”  (Sowell, Thomas.)  Religious liberty aside, every insurance dollar spent on Sandra Fluke’s sex life is an insurance dollar not spent on covering leukemia.  If you want to provide “free” birth control, you have two options:

1. Raise the cost of insurance premiums; or

2. Reduce spending on cancer, broken legs, Alzheimer’s, coronary artery disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

(I will note, again, that if ‘free’ contraception actually reduced costs for insurance companies, those greedy bastards would have already put it into every plan and would charge more, not less, for plans without such coverage.)  If you really care about covering leukemia, you would make it easy to get coverage for leukemia, rather than conditioning people’s ability to get leukemia insurance on them paying for you to do the horizontal bop.

Not only is the comparison between contraception (a non-essential prescription drug) and leukemia absurd, the reality is that requiring people to pay for contraception coverage will reduce leukemia coverage.  If you care about cancer-ridden kids, get rid of this mandate.

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Filed under Economics, Employer Mandate

Some quick health care policy and cost links

From Walter Russell Mead, “Why America is Going Broke.”  It is not simply the cost of health care itself, but the efficiency in administering it.

A study of which hospital services contributed the most to growth in 2001-2006; hint, it’s not more radiology and diagnostic testing. Those services, however, will be the first to be rationed or cut during ObamaCare, and radiologists will be making substantially less money.

ObamaCare, by the way, will make life even harder on underpaid university adjuncts.  As anyone who works over thirty hours per week will be entitled to “free” health care, paid for by the employer (perhaps with a modest co-pay by the employee), universities will cut the hours of their adjuncts.  (Yes, these are non-profit, accredited universities.)  The predictable result: instead of being an adjunct at one school, you’ll be an adjunct at two, which will increase your commuting costs and the time spent away from home.  Alternatively, you’ll merely see your hours get cut, which means even less take-home pay.

As a health-related item, cities are declaring war on food trucks.  The usual over-regulation is the culprit, which will either drive food trucks out of business, or will drive up prices (no pun intended).  I’m not a food truck aficionado, but I do appreciate the variety of consumables that are on them, as well as the general healthiness – you can get hummus, veggies, stir-fry, and tofu at McDonald’s prices, but not at McDonald’s quality (or lack thereof).

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Filed under Economics, Employer Mandate, Miscellanea, ObamaCare

ObamaCare Update: the Carnage Begins

Due to the cost of providing Cadillac health care to all full-time (i.e. working more than thirty hours a week) employees, many companies are laying people off and cutting hours.  Denny’s is adding an “ObamaCare surcharge” to all of its bills to reflect the increased cost of doing business.

Meanwhile, doctors, who spend about twelve to fifteen years of their adult lives, and about $300,000, to train for medicine, are now gravitating away from Medicare and Medicaid heavy fields. ABC gives us this headline: “Doctor Shortage Could Cause Health Care Crash.”  (Hat tip.) Hey, we told you so.

Meanwhile, medical device executives are descending on Washington to attempt to get the additional 2.3% tax on medical device sales (not profits) repealed.

You can have the “right” to technologically advanced, free health care all you want, but you have to get someone to provide it.

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Filed under Economics, Employer Mandate, ObamaCare

ObamaCare’s perverse incentives

Robert Samuelson explains how ObamaCare harms the people it is most intended to help.  By requiring, for example, that employers provide insurance to employees who work more than thirty hours per week, employers of part-time, low-skilled, and seasonal employees have a huge incentive to reduce their employees’ hours.

As first reported in the Orlando Sentinel, Darden Restaurants — owners of about 2,000 outlets, including the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains — is studying ways to shift more employees under the 30-hour ceiling. About three-quarters of its 185,000 workers are already under, says spokesman Rich Jeffers. The question is “can we go higher and still deliver a great [eating] experience.” The financial stakes are sizable. Suppose Darden moves 1,000 servers under 30 hours and avoids paying $5,000 insurance for each. The annual savings: $5 million.

As a reaction to Obamacare, this makes business sense, but in other ways, it doesn’t. Waiters and waitresses going below 30 hours a week will lose income. They make about $15 an hour with tips, says Jeffers. A server who drops five hours would lose $75 a week.

I’ll also add that it is very difficult for people in that position to work a second job: the hours of the first job are so unpredictable that a second job cannot be reliably scheduled around it.  That lost income is pure lost income – difficult or impossible to make up with another job.  (Also, I would presume that most people would prefer to work one full-time job, not two part-time jobs, and that most people would prefer mediocre benefits to getting no benefits in an attempt to get amazing benefits.)

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Filed under Economics, Employer Mandate, ObamaCare

Quelle Surprise!

The D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, which regulates insurance exchanges within the District of Columbia, voted unanimously to require all small businesses [i.e. with fewer than fifty employees] to purchase employee health insurance through the government-run exchanges. (In 2016, businesses with fewer than one hundred employees will likely be required to join the exchanges.)

The move was opposed by more than 150 small businesses in Washington.

So much for “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”  This also stifles small businesses and imposes requirements on them that are not imposed on larger businesses.  Moreover, ObamaCare made it impossible for small businesses and non-profits to form coalitions to buy health insurance at discounted group rates; a problem created by the government is, quelle surprise, “solved” by more government intervention.

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Filed under Employer Mandate, ObamaCare