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Fact-checking claims about Hobby Lobby

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that certain companies with religious objections can opt out of a mandate under the Affordable Care Act to provide free contraception to their employees.

The 5-4 ruling involved a case brought by two companies owned by Christian families: Hobby Lobby, a chain of hobby stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which makes wood cabinets. The companies opposed providing certain types of contraception that they believe is equivalent to inducing abortion, including morning-after pills and IUDs. (They didn’t oppose other methods of birth control.) They based their case on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Bill Clinton.

The issue arose because birth control is included among the free preventative services mandated by President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 health care law. Houses of worship and religious institutions were already exempt from this aspect of the law. The court’s ruling applies to "closed corporations" which are in control by a few people, rather than public companies with many shareholders.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion, stating that women who work for these corporations can still access these types of birth control either by the federal government paying for it or through a third-party administrator.

Though the ruling was narrower in scope than it could have been, supporters of broad access to contraception expressed disappointment. One of these supporters was U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair from South Florida. In a statement attacking the decision, Wasserman Schultz said that contraception for women isn’t just about avoiding pregnancy.

"Nearly 60 percent of women who use birth control do so for more than just family planning," she said.

We fact-checked Wasserman's claim and rated it Mostly True.

We're fact-checking a few other claims from the case and will update this story as we complete them.


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I know what would have been a simpler way HL could not have to worry about providing something they religiously disagree with to their employees - they could have advocated for a single payer system and worked towards getting themselves (and all employers) out of the 'providing insurance to employees' business altogether.

That would boost every company's bottom line, eliminate the crazy full-time, part-time, gotta-reduce-hours-or-pay-for-healthcare headaches and just let companies focus on what's best for their business which would probably lead to more productivity, more jobs, more tax income. A win-win-win.

But as I recall, very few companies supported a single payer system during Congress' discussions of ACA and our legislators effectively took it off the table before crafting a tenable single-payer bill that could be voted on.

It makes one wonder: Why didn't more businesses work to try to change our system of predominantly employment-based health insurance access?

In regards to Hobby Lobby, I can only speculate that in reality, they WANT to pay for - and thereby get to administer - health insurance benefits dependent upon employment precisely because it affords them a measure of control over their employees.


Hey Marvin, are you a Veteran? Heard the news about how the federal government handles health care at the VA? And that is infinitely smaller compared to what single payer would be in the US?

Can't take anymore

Hey, Hmmmer. Ever hear of a little program called Medicare? It's an example of a single payer program that has been working pretty well in the USA for around 50 years. It was the most frequently cited example in the discussion of single payer in the run up to the ACA. The VA is single provider, not single payer.

Voice of reason

CTA scores again!

Bob Johnson

I'm a Christian Scientist and I don't believe in medical treatment. Therefore, I shouldn't have to give health insurance to my company employees because it's against my religion.


I guess you all know more than the Supreme Court, right?


CTA - Medicare... really???

The same program you harp on that the governor stole from? Yeah, that's a model of efficiency we should emulate.



Hmmmm - really??? We should trust the corporations like the one the governor ran, for our healthcare. The goal of Medicare and the ACA is to provide healthcare. The goal of corporations is to make money for stockholders. Corporations will suck you dry. That is their goal.


We should trust government agencies like the IRS to be neutral and efficient, but they are not... and that is the case regardless of what party is in power.

And yes, corporations are in business to make money... and while we can disagree on various models, profit motives drive innovation, taxing people and spending the money on research IN PLACE of that will not.

So, yes, I will take the private market models over a government run model, as that is what makes this country infinitely better than most - at least for now.

ed jenkins

As we have seen the citizens have continued to believe the same way that their founding fathers who made the wise decisions that they only wanted their government to provide law enforcement and courts, transportation infrastructure and schools (although those could be outsourced to religious entities as they were in those days) despite a stubborn unwise minority who have failed to observe the disastrous results from attempts at communist dictatorships in other countries. The citizens want all of these extraneous functions discontinued as soon as possible so that their government will perform intended functions and less money will be confiscated from them.


Hmmmm... , you said "So, yes, I will take the private market models over a government run model, as that is what makes this country infinitely better than most - at least for now."

I disagree, from personal experience. Before ACA I would have LOVED to have been able to buy into Medicare (that was also an option that our legislators while debating ACA took off the table).

The private market health insurance model before ACA was so broken it was pricing people out of insurance and causing catastrophic bankruptcies and the 'trickle down' effect of all of that also was part of the 2008 economic crash. And yes, this oversimplifies a very complex problem.

To try to get this back to topic at least a little bit (and yeah, I know I started it), the fact is insurance companies providing birth control options for women costs them nothing or next to nothing, therefore if an employer uses such-n-such insurance company, it doesn't cost that insurance company (and therefore that employer) any more to provide that coverage than to not provide it. And we all know that adding a dependent baby and the baby's health care needs will cost the insurance company far more than providing birth control options.

So I ask again about Hobby Lobby's motives: Are their motives actually religious in nature, or are they just trying to use this high profile case to get publicity?

And there would be nothing wrong with them trying to get publicity, if it didn't cost so many other people so much.

What they have done will hurt people, will make lives more difficult, will cause people who are already spending money on health insurance to spend AGAIN for birth control. And if they can't afford it? Well, it will be a disaster all over again that You and I Taxpayer will end up paying for.


Marvin, it is not about birth control... Hobby Lobby covers birth control meds. I could care less about the abortion meds issue, and I don't care about other's position on it. Funny thing is, no one complained before... so my guess is people were happy to be employed and took care of the issue on their own if that was the chosen path.

But tomorrow it may be an issue you or I have strong feelings about... and the last thing we need is the government telling us we must do we something we disagree with (within reason of course).

I do not want to have a society that has to worry if government will infringe upon our lives in that manner. Right now, society doesn't pay enough attention to politics and in many cases votes only based on superficial items for us to give that kind of authority to the government.

Giving up that kind control and authority should scare everyone.

As for the broken system pre-ACA, I agree, something needed to be done. But costs under the ACA are rising. Heck, talk about cost, what happens when subsidies go away?

I believe there were other ways to implement change that could have brought stability to the health insurance markets outside of the ACA - which will control costs by various ways depending on what party is in power... not the best solution in my opinion.


Hmmmm..., thanks for a decent back and forth here.

It's weird, but I often find that when I can get into any kind of real non-soundbyte-type discussion with someone, eventually something comes out in which we have common ground. For example, I agree with you on a few points in the above post, such as "As for the broken system pre-ACA, I agree, something needed to be done" and "I believe there were other ways to implement change"

For people such as myself who did not have health insurance because it was fantastically overpriced if you were not in a 'group' (pre ACA), how much longer would we have had to wait before something would be done?

Was ACA perfect? No. Was there any expectation that Congress would come up with something else, something better and/or more to your liking that would have been voted into law anytime soon? No.

At some point, every person, every business owner, every corporate entity, has to at least go ahead and try something rather than sitting back and waiting and doing nothing.

If we are afraid to do anything because we are afraid it will be 'wrong' (however 'wrong' is defined), we'll never do anything, because we are human, and at some point, yeah, we will be wrong.

I say bring on the change, warts and all, and then fix the warts. If you have a better idea of what Congress should have passed for health care reform, I am very eager to hear about it.


Her comment wasn't "mostly true" - it was 100% true. You sully yourselves when you do this parsing nonsense just to find fault with Democrats. It's not our fault Republicans lie more.

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