Supreme Court: Hobby Lobby, Companies Can Refuse to Cover Contraception

The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

The justices’ 5-4 decision Monday, June 30, 2014, is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And regarding Obamacare, it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.

Read more at Newsmax.com

Why Hobby Lobby May Not Be The Last Religious Freedom Healthcare Legal Challenge

A pending decision by the U.S. Supreme Court may send the message to Washington that it’s not a good idea to interfere with religious freedom.

Recently, the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby was argued before the High Court. For the past couple of months, it appears justices may be leaning towards a favorable ruling supporting the chain retailer’s religious beliefs. The issue? Whether Hobby Lobby, or any other employer can be compelled to make available mandatory contraceptive treatment coverage to employees.

Hobby Lobby is not the only organization to feel the heat of Obamacare’s “contraception mandate.” George Mason University law professor, Helen Alvare, reports in the Hill of June 25, that coinciding with this litigation involving a private-sector employer, is a similar matter concerning Little Sisters of the Poor, a non-profit comprised of 30 homes in the United States: facilities assisting in caring for the dying elderly. The Obama administration says the sisters are bound by the same Affordable Care Act contraception requirement. Noncompliance potentially equals fines in the millions for the sisters, who say they are just simply adhering to their religious beliefs.

A creed, like Hobby Lobby’s, is opposed to birth control. Their case is at the lower Federal Appellate Court level. So far, judges there have temporarily halted the fines against the sisters, but for both entities the legal wrangling is far from over.

Read more at The Hill

Where Does U.S. Healthcare Rank?

The most accurate measure of a country’s healthcare system may be a look at the point in time medical aid is given. Varying studies point to deficiencies in current healthcare. Research along these negative lines abounds, possibly, in some instances, with faulty research methods.

Reading these critiques may also raise skepticism, especially when the United Kingdom is ranked by at least one study as having a top healthcare system. Britain’s National Health Service is dealing with accusations of severe patient neglect. The allegations have caused some stateside supporters of the single-payer concept to backtrack. Ben Domenech of the think tank, Heartland.org, in Human Events online (June 19), finds fault with such healthcare studies, especially a comparatively recent one by the Commonwealth Fund, which Domenech claims is, “rigged to produce a result that favors socialized healthcare systems.”

According to Human Events, another Healthcare expert, Avik Roy, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute claims, ”the study is typical of the genre: drawing conclusions that are not warranted by the data; failing to account for alternative (and more plausible) explanations; and using flawed methodologies.”

Read more at Human Events

As Mandate Looms, Firms Trim Hours

Will expansion of worker health coverage will break the collective banks of business? The answer may get down to which enterprises best absorb the costs of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act, taking effect in January, 2015.

Since the mandate is so complicated for business, the Obama administration made concessions to the private sector by delaying it – twice. The June 23 Washington Post explains when Obamacare first took effect, some proactive employers acted fast and first, offering insurance to workers. The Post report also tells of how the mandate requires most businesses provide coverage to full-time staff. However, as Obamacare-related costs became clearer, positives such as pay increases and plans for further growth cease.

Another reality is also apparent because some staff level employees have not rushed in applying for ACA coverage. One reason may be the risk of families’ personal data being shared, or worse, compromised.

Read more at The Washington Post

D.C. Won’t Let Doctor Assist Patients

In spite of tumultuous healthcare changes since 2010, physicians still highly regard the doctor-patient relationship. A sacred trust remaining central to the daily practice of medicine, some doctors now voice concern over reduced actual time spent with patients.

One reason for this uneasiness is the overwhelming amount of Obamacare-driven paperwork. The resulting bureaucracy is outlined in a USA Today column on June 22, 2014, by North Little Rock Arkansas Neurologist, Kathryn Chenault. The red tape increases each year, according to Dr. Chenault.  She is now thwarted by Obamacare forms coming from nation’s capital, which more so require the interpretive skills of lawyers and administrators, according to the doctor’s USA Today column.

Read more at USA Today

Lawmakers Say O-Care Risk Corridor Payments ‘Unlawful’

Is there already a split between new Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Congress?

Burwell was given a June 24th congressional deadline to list funding sources of Obamacare “risk corridors.” The corridors (Temporary Risk Corridors Program) were established under the Affordable Care Act transferring money from healthier, less costly patients, to those sicker and more expensive to insure. Ferdous Al-Faruque reveals in his report for The Hill on June 11, 2014, that risk corridors are being called into question again.

Also, according to The Hill, Senators Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) wrote to Burwell claiming while she has authority to oversee the risk corridors, nothing grants her funding powers. This raises another question. Is Matthews in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act? Sources for both Senators’ views and questions come from findings by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the government Accountability Office (GAO).

Read more at: The Hill.com

Sick Drawn to New Coverage in Health-Law Plans

People enrolled in new plans under Obamacare are exhibiting higher rates of serious health conditions than other insurance customers, according to an early analysis of medical claims, puttig pressure on insurers around the country kas they prepare to propose rates for next year.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

How Big Cities Will Suffer in States that Snubbed Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion

Cities were to be the biggest beneficiaries of a provision of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) expanding access to Medicaid. The low-income are disproportionately concentrated in urban America. So are major regional medical centers like Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta that provide care for and attract the uninsured from far outside of cities.

Some of the country’s biggest cities, though — Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia – are so far missing out on these benefits.

Read more at The Washington Post

Feds Spent $4.8 Billion on Obamacare Exchanges So Far

The federal government has spent nearly $5 billion to establish federal and state exchanges for ObamaCare, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The funding was provided by a section of the Affordable Care Act that allowed for “indefinite” funding at the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Read more at The Washngton Free Beacon

Hillary Clinton Wants 2014 Democrats to Run on Obamacare

Hillary Clinton has yet to announce whether she is running for president in 2016, but in an interview that aired Wednesday, June 25, 2014, Clinton outlined how she would run in favor of Obamacare “if [she] were a Democrat running for reelection in 2014.”

Indeed, she told PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill in an interview taped Tuesday that Democrats “need to” run on President Barack Obama’s sweeping healthcare law.

Read more on CNN Politics.