SCOTUS Blog’s Lyle Denniston is reading the tea leaves of today’s post-Hobby Lobby Supreme Court conferences and concludes that the five assholes have decided that religion is a massive get out of providing health care to women while getting tax benefits for doing so instead of a limited one time use card to use for “abortificants.”
The Supreme Court sent a fairly strong signal on Tuesday that its ruling giving some for-profit businesses a right not to provide birth control services to their female workers goes beyond the specific methods at issue in that decision. It issued a series of orders on six cases, each of which involved owners who objected to all of the pregnancy-related services mandated under the new federal health care law.
The decision Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, and a related case, involved religiously devout business owners who objected to only four contraceptives: the “morning-after” pills Ella and Plan B, and two intrauterine devices (IUDs).
The Affordable Care Act regulations issued by the federal government, however, required sixteen different preventive methods or services, including sterilization and pregnancy counseling. Depending upon how lower courts now interpret the Hobby Lobby decision, companies that fit within the Court’s “closely held company” bracket and offer religious objections could be spared from having to provide any of those services through their employee health plans.
My wife was asking if insurance companies would fight these ruling on the grounds of it being an administrative nightmare.
Unfortunately, from an equal rights perspective, this is a fairly simple piece of plumbing for insurance companies. My company could probably sell HobbyLobby compliant policies for August 1st start dates. September 1 start dates would be the absolute latest the modification would need.
If Mayhew Insurance was the third party administrator for Hobby Lobby, the way that we would make a Hobby Lobby compliant plan would be to create a rider to a common policy configuration. The rider would say that if a claim with the prodecure or pharmacetucial code is on a reference table, deny the claim initially. If the federal government offers Hobby Lobby the religious institution work-around where the third party administrator pays the claim and gets reimbursed later by the feds, then there would be a piece of logic attached to the rider that would say pay the claim out of Money Bucket B instead of Money Bucket A. The finance folks would then chase the feds for reimbursement.
Now the cases that the Supremes have sent back to the Circuit Courts for review are cases where the business owners/assholes don’t want to pay for any pregnancy related preventative care. Besides being a moral and legal mess (privileging an already privileged class plus enshrining significant religious exemptions into the public square), it is again fairly simple plumbing. The assholes who want to not cover anything would just get the current “Catholic” riders where any birth control procedure codes are denied.
Depending on how the Little Sisters of the Poor case goes, the assholes in black robes may decide that signing a form is too much of an infringement on the LSP religibious liberty and the work-around won’t work. If that is the case, then the plumbing is simple — deny claims. If the workaround goes through, the number of combinations on the reference table increases, but it is a simple matter of annual maitenance to say Group Y will pay for Pregnancy Related EHB 1,2,3 but not 8,9, and 15 so 1,2,3 get paid from Money Bucket A and 8,9, 15 gets paid from Money Bucket B while Group X will see all Pregnancy Related EHB claim lines get paid from Money Bucket B.
The plumbing is a simple kludge to appease assholes.