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.
Thank god for Hobby Lobby, otherwise isolated single women would have nowhere else to shop.
The government requires a industries operating within its borders and under its protection to follow hundreds of laws. If HL doesn't wish to comply, it can relocate. It's as simple as that. I don't get to choose what laws I follow. Neither should it.
I couldn't pass up my chance to point out a mistake in grammar on the part of our resident grammar expert!!
"Neither should it."
all in good fun, couldnt pass up the opportunity TT :-)
So, you lied when you said you didn't reply to Tom, Tom. One of many lies, Chad. You're always complaining that I don't give you examples of your thousands of lies, so I'm pointing this one out now.
Now, carry on with your "arguments" and "reasoning" that make the christian belief look so much more stupid than most atheists could. kthxbye
Well put It is as simple as that
Chad lying?? Say it ain't so.
Chard lies about pregnancy, the bible, god, evolution, and anything else he chooses. No shock there.
That he chooses to jump on my grammar just tells the world how truly desperate he is for attention.
I'm pretty sure that I said "I dont usually respond to..." but I dont recall.
I think you misunderstand the term "lie". In any case, I certainly couldnt pass up an opportunity to correct the grammar of one whom has so frequently corrected mine :-)
Oooh, look at all those pretty little smilies! I win.
You lied, Chad, because you're a liar. It's who you are on the inside, it's not what you do on the outside. That you are ignorant of your refusal to honestly evaluate yourself and your beliefs is why it's so hidden from your consciousness. You're pitied more than you know.
I'm coming for you Chad! You have done everything I wanted!
:twisted: Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!! :twisted:
Selective tax paying ..... Now there's an idea!
As a fellow American and a fellow Christian I truly do resent the absolute arrogance of the tea party, the republicans and the rest of the so called " religious right " on how they are trying to twist religious freedom to suit their own ends and force everybody to adhere to their religious beliefs . Hypocrisy at its best. There's a reason the republican candidate did NOT win the presidential election. A greater majority of us did not care to have OUR first amendment rights trampled on. Believe me hypocrites you will be answering g to your God
Are you wrong or what, dsgusted ??
Better re-read your Bill of Rights.
And you are NO Christian.
You are just an Angry Man who condemns anyone who does not believe as you do.
I know were I won"t be shopping anymore! Hello Michael's!
I agree...the wife and I enjoy doing crafts although now we will shop other stores. It is amazing how large companies avoid Taxes and any other issue they can...hope this company is like many others, that they end up on the losing end and have to start closing stores!
Only a Little BIASED, Gina ??
Good Ridance to Bad Rubbish.
Gina - why does it matter to you? Shop wherever is convenient, or wherever you can find what you consider the best value. If the employees want to make an issue of it, that's their perogative; why do you talk as if you are personally affronted?
If that's your decision, more power to you. But given the choice, I'd go to Hobby Lobby. It's just a much cooler store.
It only serves to reinforce the image of Gopher that he thinks ANY hobby/craft store is "cool." What a friggin' ass waffle.
You're right. I like craft stores. How ignorant of me.
You'd be ignorant even if you'd never set foot in one, you fvckwad.
Hobby Lobby is cool. BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!
I bet he thinks Chik Fil A is cool too. BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!
Okay, I think I am done laughing at Topher. No, can't help myself, BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!
Okay, I've got it stopped, uh, BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!
There is nothing funnier than a dumb-ass like Topher who is being perfectly serious while he is being perfectly stupid.
Gopher builds models. He likes sniffing the glue. That's why he's mentally deficient.
Most Muslim-owned companies have strict rules as well, they must be compliant with Sharia Law. A private company that provides goods or services to others and makes money doing so, can provide a wage and benefits to people. Why should they be demonized?
A company or person must make money in order to pay other people wages. 13,000 people have jobs with this company. They are a private company who employ people. It is very difficult for people to get full time jobs and health insurance, and they are happy to have these jobs. Would you rather they be on the unemployment line? Or on Welfare? Obviously the people who have these types of jobs are not lawyers and doctors or accountants- they need this type of job and Hobby Lobby provides it and Hobby Lobby or any company has to make money in order to pay 13,000 people wages.
This week many individual franchise owners, including Dennys have said that due to Obamacare, they cannot afford to hire full time workers, and will be putting many of their workers on part-time basis because they cannot AFFORD the obamacare act provisions. So who loses- the worker who can least afford to lose the hours pay is the loser. Before you cast aspersions why don't you try building a company and provide jobs and health insurance to 13,000 people like Hobby Lobby does? As you can see what is happening, the people who pay wages, who provide jobs to other people are being made to be the bad guy, the enemy. That is wrong. Most people's health insurance premiums are going up not down because of these onerous rules that add costs. Anyone can go to Planned Parenthood and get the morning-after pill for free, so why attack this company?.. You have to see through the veneer of Liberalism and Socialism to see its real effects on people.
Of course I like Chick-Fil-A! How can you not? Have you ever been there?
BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!
Tophu just gets better and better.
I'm going to bet Tophu is one of these people:
Hobby Lobby will not allow employees to use birth control, yet amongst their top three funds in the employees 401k is an American Balanced Fun. This fund has, among its holdings, a significant chunk invested in Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Anyone want to venture to guess what Teva manufactures?
Ha. Telling, isn't it? What did Jesus say about the money-changers?
I guess HL is only Christian when it's profitable.
I'll bite. Ahhhhhhh, maybe something to do with contraceptives?
Oh but that's different Lori. Just like it is is fine that China is their main supplier (you know, a country that pretty much encourages gender related abortions).
Dang Tom ya beat me to it. Time to get the whip out and cast them out?
Employee can purchase birth control if they want. No one denying that option.
And they can pay for their own blood transfusions, too. The point is that the law says they have a right to be offered health care insurance that covers those costs, you moron.
Your argument is NOT valid, Lori.
How in the world could anyone in America stop someone else from using Birth Control?
You have a Brain.
Please use it.
You have a brain. Not a "Brain." Idiot.
Where did you get that Hobby Lobby will not allow its employees to take birth control pills? In article, it says they refuse to pay for abortion inducing birth control and which many people, Republicans and Democrats, are against – whether religiously or philosophically.
They never said employees can't use abortion or birth control- they as a private company don't want to provide it or pay for it. Most Muslim companies have strict rules, Sharia Law, that they must comply with. It is their right. As a woman I have always paid for my own contraceptives...
...but now that Contraceptives are included, my Premiums are $2,500.00 MORE! Hello! I'd rather have it the old way.
Never heard of Hobby Lobby before. They opened on up here in Washington. Did a little research. Found out they were all Pro Christian. I will never shop there. Jesus freaks have done enough harm over the centuries, I don't need to give them my hard earned cash for yarn and trinkets. I'm all for going back and feeding them to the lions.
Bold and aggressive talk from someone hiding on the internet.
Yeah, let's just massacre those with different beliefs.
bob: "Jesus freaks have done enough harm over the centuries, I don't need to give them my hard earned cash for yarn and trinkets. I'm all for going back and feeding them to the lions."
You have to be trolling.
No one is this stupid.
Love your TOLERANCE, Bob !!!!!
The same could be said about the Non-Christian Freaks also.
I see you are a Real Student of History.
Most Muslim-owned companies have strict rules as well, they must follow Sharia Law. Will you boycott those privately owned companies as well?
Hobby Lobby is the Christianity of paying your employees the absolute least while selling low quality goods at high prices. Indeed, it is the Christianity of becoming a billionaire by gouging everyone as much as you possibly can while providing the absolute least you can.
Jesus proves this when he said, uh, okay, he said to do the exact opposite of this, but hey, he's dead, and the Hobby Lobby superrich owners can make-believe whatever they want.
So very Christian . . .
Baloney. HL is using this religious nonsense as an excuse. Nothing more, nothing less. If it will not comply with the law, it should go under.
If the CEO personally hires each and every worker, and is responsible for their work status, he might have a case. But once the decision is placed in others hands, you have to follow the anti-discrimination guidelines. I don't believe in your magic sky person, don't foist your belief on to me. You pay my salary, you don't run my life.
There is an easy way to fix this. The Hobby Lobby claims that they won't cover abortion inducing drugs. The thing is that the only abortion inducting drug (mifepristone) is already not covered under the Health Care Act. Emergency contraceptives DO NOT induce abortion or miscarriage, only attempt to prevent ovulation, which IS NOT an abortion. Any medical doctor who specializes in female reproductive health can easily stand up and show how these people are misinformed.
What I'd like to see is more employees stand up and sue these employers for trying to deny them their own freedom of religion by forcing their own beliefs on them. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against employees who hold other religious beliefs then their own. It's one thing for say a Catholic Church to expect the people working for them to follow the same beliefs because it is a church and most Jewish people probably wouldn't work there (it is still not a requirement though), but Hobby Lobby has no right to hold such an expectation. If religion services are not part of your job expectations, which selling craft items is not, then you can not force your own religion on your employees.
No one is asking Hobby Lobby to hand out pills like they claim. They are only supposed to provide access to health care. What their employees do with it is their own business.
Nobody is forcing anything. If they don't like it then they can leave.
So you think OSHA is just unnecessary and a burden to commerce, right. Try telling that to the families of men who died of Black Lung, RL.
I'm all for the OSHA (as long as they don't take things too far like in Britain), but that's for work environments. Apart from maybe adult film, I don't see their relevance with contraceptive issues.
YOU are the reason this country is now being F***ed up!!!!. They have every right to ask their employees.........but I`m sure you being a atheist obviously, should stop throwing your religion of Non-religion on everybody else too..we are fed up with your kind.
Of course you don't. Big shock.
Watch out, Earl. If you blow a gasket while arguing on a religious forum, you won't be covered.
What about all the atheists who support Hobby Lobby?
You say of course I don't like it's obvious. Please enlighten me.
Nope. Figure it out.
I thought we had gotten over these hostilities. I'm genuinely asking what OSHA's relevance is to this.
No, you're not.
." But in keeping with the great American tax tradition, they may have found a loophole." ...
"Loopholes" are no accident. They are the result of corporate lobbying. Duh! This country has the best government that money can buy.
Hobby Lobby is NOT a religious organization. They are for PROFIT corporation, designed solely for the purpose of making it's owners money. They sell goods to the general public and employ non-Christian people. The drugs at issue, contrary to some slanted reports, do not abort a fertilized egg. They are legal forms of birth control that halt the process of fertilization. The owners of Hobby Lobby, not being church deacons, but simple everyday employers, have no right to restrict their employees from any kind of legal birth control. If you want to tell folks what to do, establish a CHURCH. If you want to sell to and profit from the general public, while employing members of the general public, you are required to follow the rules of a corporation, NOT a church. The last thing I want is my employer dictating to me what medical options they think are appropriate for my family based on their moral beliefs. Heaven forbid I get a job with a company owned by a Christian Scientist, who decides that vaccinations and antibiotics for my children are morally objectionable. Seriously, think about it. If we allow this where does the line get drawn? Employers everywhere will suddenly find "religious" objections to all kinds of expensive treatments.
It is not about abortion, it is all about racism. If this was called "Mccaincare" they would be all for it.
Your name alone shows that you are a clueless moron.
You are an idiot.
I am so sick and tired of religious people thinking they are above the law. WE ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION!!!!! And if they're not shirking their duties to the AMERICAN people, they are complaining that people are taking the christ out of christmas because non-christians choose to say Happy Holidays. You can't have it both ways!
You can claim all of the religion that you want, that doesn't mean you get to use said religion for business excuses. What a ridiculous notion.
Well I do have a small business small enough to be exempt under the healthcare law. According to a lot of posters I have a right to run this business as I see fit and if my employee's dont like it they can go elsewhere. My first choice would be to choose whom to employ. First off absolutely no smokers I dont believe in it. Absolutely no one that drinks alcohol even on their own time my religion forbids it. Do you gamble? You might steal from me to to pay for your habit. Not a chance. A big one, do you own any firearms? Well sorry, I am totally against any type of gun ownership, youll never be employed here. By the way my religion only says gays have the right to work here. Some of these I actually do have a right to whether you like it or not. I have a religious belief against all war. So when I pay my taxes I'll just deduct the share of taxes paid to the military. I bet that would fly with the government. I dont believe i should be responsible for workmens comp insurance on my employees because they are careless. I also am not responsible for their retirement so I 'm not going to pay what the government feels that I need to contribute to their Social Security. After all, it is my business and I can do anything I want. It doesn't work that way, I can assure you. The big hand of the law can win every time. I get a fire inspector every so often, I get a visit from code enforcement now and then. I didn't invite them dont know why i can't tell them to go away. Well actually I can but I end up with their padlock on my door. And the IRS has come to look at my books, I guess I could refuse them, after all they are MY books, But somehow I have a feeling that I just might pay dearly. If the government passed a law for me to pay health care I couldn't afford it. Thats why there is an exception for certain small businesses . How ever If I were to choose to just ignore the laws I would face the consequences of my actions. I do have a right to challenge these actions in court and to appeal. However if I lose I will not only pay fines or back taxes I will most likely pay interest on what I owe and in the case of taxes penalties and interest. What gives Hobby Lobby the right to selectively ignore the law any more than I can. Because they have a large number of employees and I only have one other than myself? Because their religion is better than mine? In my book breaking the law is breaking the law no matter who you are, and you should be accountable for your actions. Let them challenge the law, it is absolutely their right. IF they lose, fine them, and make them pay interest on the money owed until every penny is paid. They also have the same right as any business owner to close their business or move out of the country. I have that right as well. But when I went into business I made a conscious decision that I would have to comply with all laws whether I liked them or not.
And that's all your choice, although all the tax cutting savings must be reflected in your employees wage packets.
Ah, but corporations follow the Golden Rule – he who has the most gold makes the rules. And that's why corporations have the vast majority of lobbyists and they spend the most on influencing campaigns (indeed, they now basically own the process).
America is not a democratic republic anymore. We are a plutocratic neo-feudalism. The rich are in charge, the government is the overlord, thecorporations are the lords, and you are the serf. The difference is that you now are the serf to many lords, working for the oil lord and the insurance lord, and so on.
This is what Libertarians seem to miss, that if you took away the Government, you still have government under a different name. Insurance companies limit your life as much as th egovernment does, probably more. I can see the Libertarian dislike of government, but the are the only thing left with the power to oppose the informal governments, who would run amok as they have many times in the past if there was no government holding them accountable.
Do you think the Christians will generate the net increase of $1,300,000 a day to pay the fines?
I'm thinking that when this loophole ends and it is time to choose between Jesus and money, the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby are going to show us their real lord.
By getting their attorneys to find a loophole, they already have. If they really believed in the virtue of their convictions, they would have paid the fine and trusted in their god to deliver them from "evil."
That they couldn't tells you everything about their real character and beliefs.
YOU are living in La-La Land if you don't realize that Obama, Buffet, and all the rest of RICH America don't use every Tax Advantage they can. Why do you think they all have a Bunch of Big Time LAWYERS ? These so-called "Tax Loopholes" are perfectly legal. Why do you think Congress Created them?
And you are a Fool, Tom-Tom if you don't use them also !!
Oh, goodness. My word, I'm sure you know ALL about it. The fact that you can't figure out how to use capitals and write a sentence is certainly not an indication that you're a complete moron whose word wouldn't pass for sh!t in any normal conversation.
Isn't it great when the religious beliefs of people in this country allow denying healthcare to citizens?
Atheists, the new moral leaders of the United States.
Please elaborate on how anybody in this situation is being denied healthcare.
Please tell us all how they are not.
They are not physically restraining their employees to stop them from receiving healthcare. They're just saying that they don't want to pay for it and if you don't like it then get the fudge out. Nobody is taking away their right to healthcare or their ability to get the fudge out.
The law says otherwise. Go try and convince the SCOTUS, RL. Good luck.
The law is an ass. This is the same law that put's religious messages on our money and makes children perform fascist pledges to inanimate objects.
There's a rogue apostraphe in there.
And apostrophe is spelled incorrectly. I have the flu so play nice.
I have always hated the loyalty oath thing too. There is nothing so unAmerican as a loyalty oath, and that's what the pledge is. They now tell kids it is optional, but if they don't say it, the other kids will taunt them.
The Government can buy all the Birth Control it wants for these folks!!
Leave Churches and other Employers out of this completely.
How do you arrive at the conclusion that because owners of the company believe that abortion is a sin and you do not, the company should be forced under penalty of law to abandon their own religious values and accept YOURS? In what possible way is not paying for abortion pills "denying healthcare?" Healthcare is not the issue, religious freedom is.
Companies do not have religious belief. Any belief help by owners does not transfer to the corporate personage. And the First Amendment does not extend to violating the law. For example, you don't get to sacrifice people, or burn witches, or torture heretics, and all those other parts of Christian heritage.
And you don't get to violate labor laws.
Don't care. Get a clue.
Okay Hobby Lobby, you are discriminating against women's health, and avoiding paying fines due. I shall have to avoid you in future. Plenty of other craft stores, and online purchases. If you don't like birth control and other reproductive issues, don't use it or do it. Don't force your views on everyone else and discriminate against your female workers. When men are forced to support all mothers and their children, then we an talk again!!
It's your right not to shop there, just as it should be their right to cover a healthcare plan of their choosing.
And Unions should be able to refuse people who do not wish to pay dues?
Why are we arguing with a Communist goverment,When the goverment tells us we must kill our future children and we don't have a thing to say about it. If your a company and provide jobs we will just bankrupt you if you stand up for your rights. We are getting to close to China one child or death take your pick. Call me what you like the revolution is closer than anyone once to admitt.,
As much as I dislike Obama and the current government, calling him or his regime communists is ridiculous. He's a social democrat at worst.
You guys couldn't even muster the enthusiasm to win an election so I doubt you'll start a revolution.
You know rational, I don't agree with some of your free market notions, but I do have to appreciate a conservative who can see the stupidity of calling liberalism "communist" and "socialist".
I wouldn't really call myself a conservative. Not anymore anyway. There's far too much of a religious connotation to that word.
Like I stated earlier, "The practices of drug induced abortions is individually wanted, doctor-assisted, governmentally controlled, democide."
Will the New World Order use black helicopters to fulfill their nefarious scheme, LaLa?
Armchair pilots flying UAV's with point-N-click bombs overhead their public targets are more likely the upcoming issues than black helicopters,,,,
You are crazier than I ever imagined, LaLa.
..."recent evidence strongly suggests that Plan B One-Step and Next Choice do not inhibit implantation." Mayo Clinic
The idea that Plan B emergency contraception is an abortifacient is not true, even if you go to the extreme and comsider inhibiting implantation to be abortion. Studies have shown that it inhibits or delays ovulation which is contraception by definition. HL can claim that plan B causes abortion but there is no medical or scientific evidence to support that position.
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.