July 11, 2014
The liberal reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, which protected the religious freedoms of certain business owners, has been as predictable as it is asinine. The court, in the eyes of liberals, has declared another “war on women.”
Yet if these liberal critics truly believe what they’re saying, we ask a simple question: Why aren’t they condemning President Barack Obama in equally vitriolic language? After all, the Obama administration has exempted millions of companies from having to provide abortifacients to female employees.
Marion Homier, vice-president of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, responded to the court’s ruling by saying, “This decision means that employees will be subject to policies based on employers’ religious beliefs, regardless of their own. Employers will potentially be able to establish discriminatory policies against women or presumably any employees on the basis of religious belief.”
Yet the majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, pointed out that the Affordable Care Act already exempts millions of businesses from contraception and abortifacient coverage mandates. Alito noted the federal law “exempts a great many employers from most of its coverage requirements. Employers providing ‘grandfathered health plans’— those that existed prior to March 23, 2010, and that have not made specified changes after that date — need not comply with many of the Act’s requirements, including the contraceptive mandate. . And employers with fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide health insurance at all.”
Those two groups comprise a substantial share of the national marketplace. Alito noted, “Over one-third of the 149 million nonelderly people in America with employer-sponsored health plans were enrolled in grandfathered plans in 2013. . The count for employees working for firms that do not have to provide insurance at all because they employ fewer than 50 employees is 34 million workers.”
Put together, these exemptions cover roughly 84 million workers in the United States. That figure exceeds the combined population of 30 U.S. states. Obama supported every one of the exemptions. When Obamacare was being debated in Congress, the president agreed to exempt small businesses. After the law passed, he went on to unilaterally extend several other exemptions.
In February, the administration announced that companies with more than 50 full-time workers would be exempted from the employee insurance mandate, delaying it from 2014 until 2015. The administration also announced that companies employing between 50 and 100 full-time workers would be exempted until 2016, and that companies with 100 or more workers would have to offer insurance to just 70 percent of full-time workers in 2015.
In March, the Obama administration announced that the exemption for grandfathered plans would be extended until 2016.
In short, if employers are allowed to “establish discriminatory policies against women,” as Homier claims, then Obama is a major culprit in that alleged scheme, thanks to his nonstop rewriting of his namesake health care law.
In contrast, the Supreme Court’s ruling is a narrowly tailored religious-freedom decision addressing only “closely held” companies — those where five or fewer individuals control more than 50 percent of the value of outstanding stock.
If Homier and other liberals truly believe unfettered access to abortifacients is a “right,” why aren’t they lambasting Barack Obama? Their silence on that front proves that their objective is simply to engage in partisan political theater, and nothing more.
— The Oklahoman