By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor
Washington (CNN) - By Friday, Hobby Lobby would have racked up $14.3 million in fines from the Internal Revenue Service for bucking Obamacare. But in keeping with the great American tax tradition, they may have found a loophole.
The company is facing $1.3 million a day in fines for each day it chooses not to comply with a piece of the Affordable Care Act that was set to trigger for them on January 1. The craft store chain announced in December that, because of religious objections, they would face the fines for not providing certain types of birth control through their company health insurance.
The penalty was set to go into effect on the day the company's new health care plan went into effect for the year.
Peter M. Dobelbower, general counsel for Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. said in a statement released through the Becket Fund that, "Hobby Lobby discovered a way to shift the plan year for its employee health insurance, thus postponing the effective date of the mandate for several months."
The statement continued that "Hobby Lobby does not provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs in its health care plan. Hobby Lobby will continue to vigorously defend its religious liberty and oppose the mandate and any penalties."
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Last month Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected the company's appeal for a temporary relief from the steep fines while their case made its way through the lower courts.
Hobby Lobby announced a day after the ruling that it "will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs."
In September, Hobby Lobby and affiliate Mardel, a Christian bookstore chain, sued the federal government for violating their owners' religious freedom and ability to freely exercise their religion.
The lawsuit says the companies' religious beliefs prohibit them from providing insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs. As of August 2012, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare, requires employer-provided health care plans to provide "all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity," according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Churches and houses of worship are exempt from the regulation and a narrow exemption was added for nonprofit religious employers whose employees "primarily share its religious tenets" and who "primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets."
The Internal Revenue Service regulations now say that a group health care plan that "fails to comply" with the Affordable Care Act is subject to an "excise tax" of "$100 per day per individual for each day the plan does not comply with the requirement." It remains unclear how the IRS would implement and collect the excise tax.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment on the high court's move last month.
White House officials have long said they believe they have struck an appropriate compromise between religious exemptions and women's health. The White House has not commented specifically on the Hobby Lobby case.
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The Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby chain has more than 500 stores that employ 13,000 employees across 42 states, and takes in $2.6 billion in sales. It is still privately held by CEO and founder David Green and members of his family.
"The foundation of our business has been, and will continue to be strong values, and honoring the Lord in a manner consistent with biblical principles," a statement on the Hobby Lobby website reads, adding that one outgrowth of that is the store is closed on Sundays to give its employees a day of rest.
MORE BACKGROUND: Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare
The Hobby Lobby case is just one of many before the courts over the religious exemption aspects of the law. The case represents by far the biggest for-profit group challenging the health care mandate.
Part of the reason Sotomayor rejected their appeal to the Supreme Court she wrote was because their case is still pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
A spokesperson for the Becket Fund said on Friday a date has yet to be set for the case to be heard in the 10th Circuit.
these are the same holly business owners would pay 14 mill in fines, but would refuse to give extra 50 cents pay raise
same goons yes
It's not about their employees, it's about wanting special rights.
a private company should be able to decide exactly what benefits they will give you. if you don't like it then you have the choice to not work there.
So they can deny all benefits and break the law, is that what you are saying? Why religious people think they are above the law is fascinating to me.
I really think that hard right Christians are jeopardizing their tax free status if they don't stop trying to dictate how people lead their personal lives. I know I'm getting fed up with it.
Hobby Lobby your even more awesome now!!!
I love sarcasm :)
"You're"... as in "you are". Not "your".
Thaddius needs a hug!! Poor thing, I guess he lives to correct grammar!!! Oh wait maybe I should on put one explanation mark, please let me know if I get carried away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oops, that's so much excitement, sorry I REALLY got carried away!!!
No, he just knows a moron when he sees one, Jennifer.
Well just what do you think the mode of communication is here, Jennifer? Do you expect people to divine what you're trying to say? Maybe you should just post a video if you can't avoid being so sloppy?
Tom, wow........enough said with your name!!!! I really don't need to say anything else,
You don't know how to say anything else.
Way to go Hobby Lobby with standing your ground and making The Lord proud!!!!
Threatening lay offs is not a very good bluff when the Company is methodically bankrupting itself anyway.
I am pro-life but I do think what Hobby Lobby is doing is wrong. ALL employee healthcare should fund contraception of all kinds. However, the morning after pill CAN be an abortion pill if you are a literal pro-lifer. Eggs are fertilized in the tubes of a woman and float down into the uterus to implant. The morning after pill makes it unlikely that the egg will implant and make the internal environment harmful to a developing egg. So, if the egg was already fertilized by the time you take the pill...yes you are aborting a fertilized egg. So compromise I propose...allow women to have pills and other preventive measures FREE, and morning after pills are still paid for...why? because if the contraception is free the morning after pill won't be needed as much if at all by the majority of women anyway.
Wrong. You need to read up. The morning after pill works PRIMARILY by preventing ovulation. There is no abortion.
How about you just pay for them yourself!!!!! You don't have to believe the socialist's brainwashing mantra: "look into my eyes... you're getting very sleepy... very lazy.... very stupid.... you're not able to pay for anything yourself...."
If a fertilized egg fails to implant there is no pregnancy. A fertilized egg does not a pregnancy make-fertilized eggs fail to implant about 40% of the time. Do you think those are all considered "miscarriages" or "abortions"? Of course they aren't–by anyone.
I have never had an encounter with a woman that I could not put a few dollars together for a trojan. That pill is pretty inexpensive as well. This stuff is kind of "the dudes" responsibility, not the bosses...unless the boss is tagging that as well!
If men were responsible that would be just jim-dandy, but they're not. And they aren't the ones who end up pregnant. You want to prevent pregnancy or do you want to just punish women for having s#x?
If you want to follow that strict interpretation, most forms of contraception would be excluded – the "pill" prevents a fertilized egg from implanting, so do IUD's.
till, what you don't get is that the law now says that the employer is required to offer insurance coverage that includes contraception. Employees DO pay premiums for insurance and drug coverage. Hobby Lobby claims this isn't motivated by monetary interests but by religious convictions. Would it be just as fine if their religious convictions included refusing to have insurance coverage for blood transfusions, too?
By definition there is no pregnancy until there is implantation.
Tom Tom, how much are they paying you to be on the forum?
Oh, gee, yet another moron who thinks anyone who disagrees with him is working for CNN.
Keep that rubber on, dude. No one needs your little swimmers knocking up anyone.
Labeling this pill simply as another form of family planning like the use of a condom is disingenuous. There are two ways the newly approved morning-after pill can prevent pregnancy:
1) The morning-after pill reduces the chance that an egg will become fertilized by: a) delaying/preventing the release of an egg, and b) thickening the cervical mucus, preventing the sperm from fertilizing the egg. Ethically speaking, this is no different than traditional birth-control pills or even the use of a condom. If the egg never becomes fertilized, clearly, no life has begun.
2) The morning-after pill prevents a fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterus (Mayoclinic.com, August 28). In other words, the already conceived embryo dies because it is unable to implant itself in the mother’s uterus, resulting in a spontaneous abortion. Whether you are for abortion or against it, this is a form of abortion by any traditional definition.
The Associated Press report that ran in many newspapers simply said this: “Plan B is different from the abortion pill: If a woman already is pregnant, Plan B has no effect” (August 25). This miracle is accomplished by simply redefining when a pregnancy begins. Instead of acknowledging, as many believe, a pregnancy begins at conception, pregnancy is simply redefined as beginning when a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus. Even most pro-lifers won’t oppose this pill because the media will not have informed them that it has the potential to cause abortion at all.
I don;t think you work for CNN, but I know who is paying your boss to give you all your "facts". It doesn't bother me or anything, I just wanted to know if they are paying you what you deserve.
Like I said, if your a literal prolifer, you DO believe a fertilized egg alone is a living individual thing. To say that just because its not implanted doesn't mean its alive then they wouldn't be opposed to stem cell research or petri dish embryos that are discarded but they are. You make one good point when you said that most contraception methods like the regular pill can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting and you are correct. However, its one thing to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting its another to let nature do it for you. Just because it happens 40% of the time naturally doesn't mean people want to go out of their way to force a fertilized egg to die.
By definition there is no pregnancy until there is implantation.
Word games. You can make up whatever definition you want for "pregnancy". It's a mute point. The fertilized egg is not allowed to implant itself causing it do die. Not, preventing it from living. No. Causing it to die. THat is abortion. Period.
It's MOOT point, you fvcking idiot. You are so dumb you must have someone else tie your shoes. Anyone that stupid has no credibility in the matter.
And Sharky, I don't get "paid" to write anything here, you dipsh!t. I have no idea who you think my "bosses" are, but do tell us all your conspiracy theory about it. I can hardly wait for the gentleman who buys Trojans for his romantic "encounters" and thinks he's a real catch for doing so.
There is fertlization and then implantation which begins the process called pregnancy. There is no pregnancy until there is implantation despite your opinion about it. Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy.
Good to see a business standing their ground against this union run administration and making some headway. If we all keep letting Obama run over us he will be assigning our kids jobs before we know it....if there are any left.
The U.S. is an embarrassment to the civilized world for not having healthcare for all. You call it "Obama running over you"; the rest of the civilized world calls it "basic human kindness." It's a shame when a lower-religion outside world has to teach christians how to provide basic kindness.
" the US is an embarrassment to the civilized world". ...I would add the uncivilized as well, but only in the past 4 years.
I have to agree, End. I might argue a different day over religion, but based on my travels, you are correct. When it comes to heath care, the U.S. has been a laughing stock.
Obama care is scary, it's like an 8 yr old wrote it. It covers all illegals for free, limits the amount of care you get yearly so the people signed their own death warrant by re-electing Obama.
I'm sure you also believe Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster are a crime-fighting duo.
Do you get all your facts from an 8 year old? Maybe that's the problem.
hobby lobby temp close till case is resolved; 13,000 laid off = no fines; kids in china with no jobs. Thank you. _______ KING Obama :-)
Are you really blaming Obama? Was Jesus so against healthcare that these religious nut jobs are willing to put all of their families in peril to demonstrate their own bigotry and stupidity? Not everyone is going to like every single part of a law but it is a law, threatening to break the law in the name of Jesus is pure craziness.
Typical refusal to accept responsibility for yourself. We have laws. When they're not followed you go to jail or pay a fine. If HL chooses to pay fines until they are bankrupt, or just go right out of business, is their decision and not Obama's. Grow up. If you don't like the legislation, go fight that. You don't blame Obama for people who break other laws, nincompoop.
I'm not blaming anybody; I 'a just saying that is what Hobby Lobby could do to get out of paying fines. no one working no fines.
It's a private business, as such, it gets no religious protection. The day religion finally dies will be the day of global peace.
I say give em coat hangers !
Gangster always preach when they start ratcheting down on the neighborhood they are trying to control.
You know if you were going to pay out of pocket for most of these drugs its only about $30 per month. I spend more in than for Magnum condoms
If they were not so loose they would not fall off so often. You could save 25 dollars by buying the right size.
Everyone is missing the point!!! You CAN pay for it yourself!!!! Don't believe the socialists who want you to believe you HAVE to rely on someone ELSE for EVERY LITTLE THING!!!! Insurance was only supposed to be for catastrophic stuff, NOT EVERYTHING.
They're not saving any money by blocking their employee's access to "A" drug. It's all about control and employer overreach.
So Viagra and Levitra for the male employees should be cut as well??
Yeah, it's only for catastrophic care until YOU need major surgery. Then it's all about you.
The Government says an employer must pay a minimum amount of wages.
Hobby Lobby is exploiting religion in an effort get out doing so.
The US has health care results below the levels of most industrial nations. Birth control, infant mortality, STDs, mortality rates are a disgrace. The employer should be taken out of the loop. We should go to government medical coverage. Everytime that we start to talk about this the insurance, pharmacy, and AMA talk about socialized medicine and death panels. Just what does the public think we have now? My husband and I, in our eightys pay over $3,500 a year in additon to premimums for our "share" of our drug bills. The Medica/drug lobbies are making idiots out of the public. The US is paying more for less because of the "right to birth" movement.
TELL THEM my mom does too
First off, how many you want to bet that the average pay at Hobby Lobby is probably hovering around 10 bucks an hours or less even? Yet they want to dictate their employee's reproductive decisions. Furthermore, that so called abortion pill doesn't even cause an abortion. Talk about an employer get too far up their employee's business. What next?
No they're NOTTTT!!!!! They're just saying they don't want to PAY for it. You can pay for it YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!
Hobby Lobby is not going to pay any less for health care coverage by preventing access to a certain drug. Basically, they're dictating what drugs they're employees can take. That is between me and my doctor. Not my employer.
I agree completely. Hobby lobby owners are either true religious nut jobs or they are using this to gain recognition. Until this, I've never heard of the chain and after this will never shop their.
I agree completely. Hobby lobby owners are either true religious nut jobs or they are using this to gain recognition. Until this, I've never heard of the chain and after this will never shop there.
One more delay, one more obstacle, before our country is handed over to an authoritarian regime and the fools that support it.
So...these great CHRISTIANS, SUPER patriots, and 'more American than Americans' Americans, have just racked up a fine of $14 milllion +, racked up untold legal fees to prevent giving health insurance to their employees...calling them 'abortion inducing' when they are actually just contraception and showed their mostly female staff that they aren't WORTH Hobby Lobby's concern. Well that's ONE place I'll never be shopping at!
Read it again please. It says "the companies religious beliefs prohibit them from providing insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs". It does NOT say they will not be providing health care coverage, just coverage for abortion-inducting drugs. They believe in LIFE, not killing an unborn child. Who gives anyone the right to kill a fetus in the womb? Let alone a government or court the right. That is life. If you kill a seedling you are killing the whole plant, it will never grow to be one will it? This Country has gone quite far enough in the killing fields, let's stop and support these few companies who want to stand up for what is right and just in this Country. We are paying a startlingly heavy price for not following God and bringing instead a whole of trouble to our Country.
Plan B doesn't cause abortion.
ARROGANCE, plain and simple. They are apparently above the law because they are Christians. Christians get so many special rights in this country, it's amazing. They need to shut up and stop making waves because the more we realize how many special rights Christians get, the more we are fighting to take these special rights away.
"the killing fields"??? I'm so glad people with your opinion will never win a general election again, I LOVE the future.
Thank you God, that there are some people out there willing to stand up for the right principle in preserving life. It is not up to any one of us to deem who should and should not take a life, let alone for a government or the courts to decide. People have free will, this is a God given right, not a man given right. This company is standing by its faith and saying 'no' loud and clear. Thank God again that there is still some semblance of right and wrong left in this Country.
How many kids do you have? Have you ever practiced birth control? Because that is what Hobby Lobby is 'standing up for'. They are using the 'abortion inducing' words to 'confuse' you. I guess it worked.
God wasn't pro life in the old testament. A little bit of infanticide is a lot. Sure, you're pro life but bomb Iraq. Irrational thinking is killing us not birth control.
Love, love, LOVE companies that find religion suddenly at the EXACT moment they are required to spend more money on thier own staff. (Rats...)
Do a little history lesson on the store before you shoot off your mouth, the business has always been guided by their religious beliefs.
So busy looking up all the sourced information from your detailed post. Admit it, Elgin, you and I have never heard of this company until they tried to weasel out of Federal law. (aka, Obamacare...don't you love that he took the word from the right and now it's a positive thing???)
Good for Hobby Lobby.
It's crazy that today in America you are forced by the government to assist in abortion. Awful.
This has nothing to do with abortion.
How about getting people to treat lovemaking as being a sacred act of conceived conceptualization? The women rule the bedroom antics. Abortions along with the day after pills and all manner of drug induced contraceptives abound to being nothing more than governmentally controlled democide.
It IS awful...and that is why it's NOT TRUE. HL is using the WORDS 'abortion inducing' when they are really whining about contraception.
conceptualize, conceptualise [kənˈsɛptjʊəˌlaɪz]
to form (a concept or concepts) out of observations, experience, data, etc.
conceptualization , conceptualisation n
" Sacred act of conceived conceptualization" sounds like a freshman art student's performance art piece.
lion, what is wrong with your brain? Do you honestly think women should do NOTHING to control their reproductive lives? Are you that stupid? You couldn't be and still breathe. Why would you imagine the world would be better if we went back to the bad old days when pregnancies couldn't be limited or spaced? Every model shows that countries in which women can control their family size are FAR better off economically than places where they cannot.
You are really an unbelievably stupid man. No wonder your wife took off.
So then, you would rather I write 'conceived conception'? What I really thought would get your goat is 'democide'. But I guess you looked t up?
Stop being such a little pu$$y and answer the question, you wackaloon. You're a fvcking little coward.
What's awful is an employer meddling into his employee's personal business. These people would surely have been slaveholders back in the day. Those folks justified their abuse with the bible in one hand and a whip in the other. Yes, I'm white.
And the great big king of the jungle, Lionly Lunatic, runs off again. Chicken.
Tom wrote, " Do you honestly think women should do NOTHING to control their reproductive lives?"
Women are in full control of their bedroom antics and they know when and when not to do the sacred deed in order to not become pregnant. Or are women too damn dumb to keep track of their own cycles?
You stupid ass. Are you truly that ignorant of biology? Do you not realize that "natural family planning" has an extremely high failure rate? I knew you were poorly educated, but I had no idea you were truly that much in the dark.
I am sorry for you. I'm even more sorry that you blabber your stupidity here for everyone to read.
Read it, you cluck. Maybe something will sink in. Even if used exactly as it should be, your preferred method resulted in 5 unplanned pregnancies in a year's time.
Maybe your mental illness keeps you from earning a living, but it's no excuse for not getting accurate information. You choose to be stupid.
Went to your oh holy site. Nowhere did it say for women's understanding of their own body's rhythmic cycles to prevent pregnancies. Like I said women are too dumb and they cannot keep track of their own bodies cycles preventing pregnancies the natural way!
Fertility awareness (also called natural family planning or periodic abstinence) is a way to check the changes your body goes through during a menstrual cycle. This information can help you learn when you ovulate. You can then time s3xual intercourse to try to become pregnant or to try to avoid pregnancy.
You are unbelievable. You didn't even know what you were reading, did you?
no health class in your state?? I'm guessing...
So then, a woman's rhythmic cycles can either become known for wanting to either become pregnant or avoid it? I guess women who do not keep good track of their cycles takes risks on her own just to please herself for a night's stand?
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.