Given the headlines of much of the media today, you’d think the Supreme Court just declared war on women by cancelling Orange is the New Black, declaring macaroons illegal, and simultaneously punched every vagina in America.
“5 Justices Go After Women, Workers”
“Hobby Lobby Hammer Drops”
“Supreme Court Declares Itself To Be High Priest”
The whole internet is abuzz after this huge “hammer” dropped, even though it’s not so much a hammer as one of those shitty cranks they give you to put together furniture you purchased over the internet. While everyone is declaring this a huge blow for women and a huge win for corporations, it really isn’t much of either. It’s more like a World Cup game – either tied or almost tied.
The court’s decision does not say that women who work at Hobby Lobby can’t get birth control. Women can always get birth control. They just have to pay for it – which makes economic sense because you don’t “insure” against something that you choose to use or have to use. For instance, I have to use the subway every day. It is a fact of my life. But I don’t buy “subway insurance” because that makes no sense. You buy insurance in case the subway crashes. That is something that is unlikely to happen and out of your control. If they insured against using the subway, the insurance would cost more than just buying a metrocard – because you’re paying for the subway to run as well as the administrative costs to run the insurance. There is some mistaken belief that adding things to insurance makes things cost less. This isn’t true. It makes things cost more. It just smooths the risk out, but if there is no uncertainty then it serves no function.
What makes all this internet noise even more unbearable is the fact that in addition to being able to buy birth control with their own money, the women who work at Hobby Lobby will still be covered by their insurance! In his opinion, Alito points out that there are already mechanisms in place for non-corporations to to avoid paying for portions of Obamacare they didn’t like:
Alito notes that the Obama White House provided an out for nonprofit religious corporations. Instead of paying for birth control themselves, an outside insurance company can do it. Alito asks, why can’t this apply to the for-profit employers, too?
In fact, why can’t the federal government just pay? “The most straightforward way of doing this would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections,” he writes in the opinion.
The entire issue of women “losing” their birth control is a non-factor in the opinion. It’s just a matter of who is picking up the bill. If the left is concerned with that, they are mad at the essence of Obamcare – cost shifting. Cost shifting is the essence of Obamacare, so it’s ironic that the left is attacking it here. This irony is even more apparent now that commentators are upset at the idea of their boss making their healthcare decisions.
It absolutely is stupid that American health insurance is tied to your employer. But Obamacare saw that ridiculous quirk and decided to double down on it. It is insane that the liberal media outlets are now screaming about tying healthcare to employment after they just spent two years touting it as if they were Kanye West discussing his own album. A year ago it was Yeezus, and now it’s that “shitty noise those damn kids are playing.”
Perhaps the most disheartening thing about the backlash on the left is just how abruptly they will turn on their morals to support a “victim” (in this case women). The left has often and perhaps correctly framed corporations as evil creatures who only care about profit and nothing else. Here we have a family owned corporation that closes on Sundays, what would likely be its most profitable day, so that its employees can spend time with their families and attend religious ceremonies. In an era where K-Mart announced it would stay open for 41 straight hours starting on Thanksgiving, is Hobby Lobby refusing to pay for 4 out of 20 types of birth control really that much more outrageous? I know Christians are the enemy these days, but isn’t an enemy who believes in something more admirable than one who only believes in making money?
But if anyone cares only about making money its the media. That’s how we get headlines telling us that “High Priests Are Forcing Women To Get Pregnant and Give Birth in the Fabric Section of Hobby Lobby Before Getting Baptized in a Mop Bucket.” The real holding of the court is that closely held corporations do not have to pay for certain types of birth control for their employees, and such expenses will likely be picked up by the insurance companies or the government.
It was a showdown between the very first amendment (as expanded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act) and the two year old “right to force your employer pay for your Plan B.” The first amendment won, and somehow there is controversy. It’s a scary day when even the media is making even the most fundamental right a partisan tool.