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.
Jerry C has it right. If the owners of a business want to impose their personal beliefs on others, they need to make their business ownership personal, i.e., drop the corporate shell and the benefits it provides to them. Corporations have no religious liberty. Corporations have legal duties and responsibilities.
Aside from legality issues, Hobby Lobby's behaivior is disrespectful and unethical. Aside from not shopping there, we all can press the federal government to enforce the law and then perhaps sue Hobby Lobby for the cost of prosecution.
You can just type whichever name you want to use in the "Name: (required)" box.
last time I checked abortion is a legal medical procedure. Lets leave med procedures up to Doctors ok?
Its bad enough insurance companies help decide what procedures/medicine you should have or not.
LEAVE IT TO DOCTORS!
they will get away with it. I hope not. I hope HL pays big.
Really? Do you? You must be an obozo voter for sure. SO.....you want this company to be run out of business over something like this? Where will the people then find jobs to feed their families? Emperor obozo going to put them on his free lunch program?
Really? How long do you think that can go on? Emperor obozo is fiddling away our economy and you support that?
I hope you open your eyes soon and see the Bull that this entire Obamacare fiasco is.
Mandating the populace to carry insurance is very similar to the tax that caused this nation to be formed.
I have family that will be paying the annual tax to the IRS because they cannot afford insurance at the available prices.
She is young, works only part time and has 5 kids. Insurance would cost more than she makes.
Also, her job was cut from 32 to 25 hours a week just so the employer will not have to offer insurance to it's 25,000 part time employees. This is what you get when you push moronic laws, a Reality result. And this is but one of thousands of Independent franchise type companies that are cutting worker hours to escape the fines. Now all those people have less income, even if they get a second job, they now lose the travel time and the travel expense of going to two jobs each day.
@BG – Hmmm – a business owner who thinks he is above federal law because his version of an magical invisible sky daddy whispers in his head. Hell yes they should be put out of business. Liquidate the company, take all this nutters assets, and divided it up between the employees to tide them over.
Wow, BG, "obozo"....how edgy and hip.
Obozo? Nice insult. Does insulting the President and the people that voted for him make your point more valid?
Run out of business? They are doing it to themselves because they want to dictate their religious beliefs on their employees. Like I said earlier, if they were Jehovas Witnesses would they ban all their employees from getting a life saving blood transfusions because of their religious beliefs?
companies should take care of their employees by providing those who cannot have their own insurance with the insurance the company uses. that's the end of it companies cannot tell employees what they can or cannot do with the insurance and that's what hobby lobby is trying to fight and that's ridiculous. that's like buying a phone from apple and apple tells you you cannot use facebook or twitter on your phone
You nailed it. Also no male employee is going to request a morning after pill from their medical insurance. So they are additionally guilty of discriminating against women alone.
I will simply refer you to the reply to maybe above.
Reality Check Time.
So Hobby Lobby is now claiming that the are a recognized church or a house of worship ?
I don't remember seeing them holding any religious services at my local Hobby Lobby store.
Mr. Obama ... Up Your's!
"Your's?" Really? Actually, keep it up – you're revealing how stupid the followers of Hobby Lobby's point of view really are.
wow John, just wow.
Maybe go back to 3rd grade?
UP yours first.
If a company or an organization does not believe they should be providing help to murder defenseless children what right does the federal government have to extort money from a such a company or organization, especially if it does indeed have religious roots? Let me tell you why the Federal Government feels that it should control all, there are females that call themselves women spread their legs and get knocked up, then when they wake up in the morning and see they just did another worthless Richard, they want to commit the murder and have someone else pay for their willingness to spread their legs. How great a country is this when you a female can have Richard and have someone else pay for the forget them pill. If the choice was to spread without thought then, hey let's reward S T U P I D I T Y.
What right does a company have to force it's religious views on it's employees? I'm certain Hobby Lobby doesn't hire exclusively Christian employees. What if they hire a person who doesn't believe in the same things they do? Does a person have to comply with the company's religious beliefs as a condition of employment?
What if the company was like those idiots who don't believe in modern medicine, that whether you live or die it's God's will? Can they then stop offering health insurance?
How about we get people like you the psychiatric drugs they need. Wack-job!
By your logic, we should ban ALL guns.
What a disrespectful way to express your opinion.
If I started my own business, and based my business principles upon my values and morales and my business was still privately owned by me and my family and you came to work for me, I would assume you understood that. Hobby Lobby has every right to do what it is doing. I commend the owners for sticking to their beliefs and not bending to the majority. "Never confuse the will of the majority with the will of God". Stand strong Hobby Lobby, don't bend.
So in your fantasy world, the rule of law doesn't apply if you don't happen to like the law. And in your fantasy world, elections won by the majority can be ignored if you don't happen to like the results. And in your fantasy world, all employers are benevelont and kind and treat all of their employees with respect and care. Hobby Lobby could not be more wrong in this issue. Do they check the religious beliefs of all their customers to make sure that they are not making a profit from someone who beleives in a woman's right to choose? No. They will gladly take money from all sorts of sinners, just like Chik-fil-A and other so coalled "faith-based" businesses, and then get all self-righteous when asked to provide legal health services to their employee. Hypocrites all and you are clueless.
So if a business cites religious beliefs by not covering blood transfusions, they shouldn't have to provide insurance coverage for transfusions employees who are NOT Jehovah's Witnesses? And would you still be cheering for Ohhy Lobby if it was a Muslim-owned business? You have some thinking to do.
Hav you ever heard of the law? You know "THE LAW". Like minimum wage, underaged workers, and other employer mandated laws. You don't get to make your own. Follow the law and keep all the stupid things you hear from some nimrod screaming from the church pulpit out of the work place genius.
Flawed logic. Say I start a business but don't believe in the American tax system. My business does not pay taxes. How quickly would my business last before Uncle Sam comes knocking?
It's a law. You may not like it but you have to abide by it. You do not get to pick and choose which laws you will follow and which you will not.
I never understood why healthcare got so linked to employment....why cant we all just get our own health insurance. Companies would be paying us same "total compensation" due to laws of supply and demand of labor, meaning higher pay that we could then spend on healthcare. I pay my own health insur. in Florida, Blue Cross, for very reasonable rate. All these mandates and complications, and burden on businesses would be gone.
That's great that you can get affordable (for you) health insurance, Paul. You know BC premiums automatically increase every year, right? (I was on BC until their premiums got too pricey.) Retired couples I know who have to provide their own insurance until Medicare kicks in tell me they pay about $1400/month for health insurance, and that's with a huge deductible.. Group plans are ALWAYS cheaper than individual plans.
Not easy to get insurance, especially with pre-existing conditions. We should have single payer health insurance and get rid of for-profit insurance companies. Their primary interest is in making money, not providing all necessary healthcare for it's customers.
Because it keeps it at a rate for everyone within the company. I'm healthy, in my late 20s, my personal insurance rate would probably be lower than it is with my company because I'm being thrown into a pool that includes people that are much older and have pre-existing health issues. But all together, the company as a whole gets a reasonable rate. Whereas some workers here would probably pay 250-500 per month individually.
It's a way of obtaining indentured servants. Many people cannot get insurance on their own due to strict requirements. If a company can offer insurance to anyone, then they can grab up these people who have no other choice in obtaining it.
Paul, I'm not sure how you get "very reasonable rates" when purchasing your own health care insurance. When we looked into doing so several years ago, the cost was quite high.
The reason that employers offer it is because the law says they must and because good health insurance coverage at a reasonable group rate makes them attractive to prospective employees.
Condoms are available over the counter and cost less than 50 cents/ea. Make the Pill (type dependent on doctor’s evaluation) available over the counter and there will be no more debate. Planned Parenthood can offer deep discounts for those who say they cannot afford said protection.
Or better yet, put a pack of condoms and a box of Pills in cereal boxes. Unfortunately, that would not ensure the condoms and/or Pills would be used. Based on Guttmacher Insti-tute data, said condoms and/or Pills are currently not being used as they should. (one million abortions/yr and 19 million cases of S-TDs/yr because either the daily Pill was not taken or a condom stayed in the pocket.)
Maybe selling Pill-enriched sodas??? Hmmm?
Condom-fitted briefs for men?? Hmmm?
Currently, a perfect contracptive/STD barrier system does not exist. Time to develop one! In the meantime, mono-ma-sturbation or mutual ma-sturbation are highly recommended for hete-rose-xuals who need a contraceptive. Abstinence is another best-solution but obviously the se-x drive typically vitiates this option although being biological would it not be able to develop a drug to temporarily eliminate said drive?
The door is open for other ideas!!!
I give up. What's the point of requiring a company to give their employees access to thinks like birth control pills (why they are not covered like Viagra for men like me in insurance plans I will never understand) if the ownership can moan about how it "violates their religious beliefs. I have had enough of the fact that we give special treatment to churches and such in this country. This is a secular government... says so and has been interpreted as such in the first clause of the Bill of Rights. Not only should they have to follow the same laws as everyone else, but churches and "religious" or "faith-based" businesses should not get special tax code considerations.
I agree. Charity services should be apportioned. Tax the church, exempt the shelter services (if it's a shared space, split the difference). Don't subsidize anyone who uses conversion for food methods.
Religious bigotry and hatred has caused more misery throughout the ages than even politics. Those who rant and whine about the "unborn" are really about money, power and control, the real agenda of organized religion, just as the one and only product of the NRA is fear. I'm guessing that the Almighty has just about had it with our various religions and probably the human race as well.
Anti-religious bigotry like yours is rapidly catching up, and in a fraction of the time!
Yes, Jack, unfortunately, that is the case.....
Typical leftist social governing. The liberals say to stay out of ones choice to abort an unborn child yet forces companies to pay for contraceptives to prevent it. So starts the loss of freedoms. America is losing the the core fundamental rights and before you know it, we will be under a tyrannical rule. The government is attacking the very rights it is to uphold. They are going after both the 1st and 2nd amendments and Obama is attempting to take out the 14th and 27th amendments. Apparently the liberal left failed history when it comes to a government that controls everything. Look at Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Kin Il Sun, Mousilini. The list goes on.
If you think those dictators you named were on the "left", you need to do a little more research. Those people were ultra-conservative, with a "my way or die" kind of governing. Pure right-wing extremists that make evangelicals seem liberal. There was nothing liberal about them.
No one is forcing anyone to use these products. it should be up to each idividual to decide that. Not some employer forcing thier beliefs on everyone that works for them.
This, coming from the Party of Va-ginal probes?
This is to JerryC
You put it very well – even this early in the morning. If anyone does not understand your explanation – well, that person is a big dope, or hypocrite!
Nodack/no brains... to think that not likeing the color red is the same as killing a life proves yourself.
I'll practice my secularism by not shopping at stores that engage in religious bigotry.
They won't miss ya !
They won't be in business long, anyway at the rate of over $1M per day in fines.
Our "great" POTUS is ok with wholesale killing of unborn children but acts upset when there is a shooting,,, effin hypocrite.
Newsflash – the politicians you support aren't much different.
So you are equating a bunch of cells with live, thinking, breathing children?
I personally have convictions about certain issues. But I would not impose those on my employee's or a mandate from a law.
Even though I may be against some of what that law states. I was surprised to learn that in 2008 their were 1.4 million abortions performed in the US. No matter what side of the issue you are on in terms of abortion. I think that the number of abortions being performed says a lot about what is wrong with society. Making it easier to get an abortion and being able to afford it does not take steps to prevent a woman from having to make that choice in the first place.
Abortions have noting to with the issue. What is at hand is what is required under labor law – nothing more. Birth Control (i.e. preventative medications) do not cause abortions no matter what the pope or church may say. You cannot have an abortion for something that was never concieved. I realize that fact and science take away from a good argument but they are the facts.
More to your point, if you want to prevent abortions then provide at no cost to anyone, male or female, free access to contraception and preventative treatments (birth control, condems, etc). Provide proper pre-natal care and make adoptions much simpler. You will just by those simple & relatively inexpensive acts reduce not only abortions but welfare, medicaid, AFDC and all the other social programs people scream about. Prevent the pregnancy & you save a lifetime of social costs.
The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from an agnostic guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-
Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...
The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:
: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.
Added information before making your next move:
from the CDC-2006
"Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."
Consumer Reports, January, 2012
"Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-
Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.
"Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)
Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.
The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
– (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
– (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)
Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).
Hey Reality, you are talking about predominately teenagers and post-teenagers who can't even remember to do their homework, much less remember to use a condom or take a pill daily.
"WHO USES CON-TRACEPTIVES?
• Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had int-ercourse have used at least one con-traceptive method.(and men?)
• Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one. "
Guttmacher to my knowledge has not singled out forgetful teenagers as being more forgetful than non-teens.
Corporations are not people. They don't have a religious affiliation. They don't attend services. They don't go to hell if they are naughty. Nobody is making the owners of the company take contraceptives or abortion meds. What's really going on here is that the owners are forcing their religious beliefs on their employees.
The buisness does not belong to the United States, the employees and it does not belong to you. They must be free to exercise religious ethic as a buisness. Faith is not a personal matter....it is a lifestyle. A Christian buisness owner cannot be expected to practice buisness in a secular format.
Would you expect a Kosher deli to make pork-sandwhiches or demand that the Rabbi stop blessing the food because it makes the atheist employee uncomfortable?
Get over yourself. Go find an entry level job at Walmart if Hobby Lobby is so offensive.
To Marc and all the other posters who have been badly misinformed by the "Christians are under attack" lobby, let me once again explain reality. The government is not tell David Green and his family to pay for contraceptive coverage. The government is telling the corporation that operates a chain of hobby stores they have to obey the law. See, when someone legally incorporates a business, he gets some vital legal protections, primarily no matter how much money the business owes even if it goes bankrupt, the creditors cannot come after the founder's money. But along with legal rights the corporation has responsibility to follow regulations that all business have to obey.
What the family who in this case owns the corporation is saying this time is, they want all the protections of a legal corporation but don't want the cost of following federal regulations like everyone else. All David Green would have to do in this case is, unincorporate the business since his family owns it. But see, that would open his own bank accounts up to being sued if something goes wrong with the business. Funny how his convinctions don't extend to personal risk or hardship. He reserves that for the employees that make sure his personal fortune remains intact.
And yes, I see that I made several spelling and punctuation errors because it's early in the morning and the coffee hasn't kicked in. Please excuse the lack of proofreading.
This is my view exactly. An employer does not have the right to force their religious beliefs on their employees. And this goes a step further as it can impact the rest of a womans life. I'd like to see a lawsuit against Hobby Lobby for the support and care of any children resulting from their actions.
You're either uninformed or lying.
Insurance coverage isn't free, Coverage is paid for by premium payments-always.
HL pays the premium, thus they are paying for the contraception coverage.
So if Hobby Lobby's owners were Jehova's Winesses they would ban all their employees from getting blood transfusions and celebrating Birthdays.
I don't like the color red and its agaist my religion. If I own a company I am going to ban all my employees from wearing the color red.
Nodak, you could prevent your employees from wearing red without a religious impetus - this is legal. I think it is time of the intolerant to stop telling people how much tolerance is important to start living it. If I had an employer who was a devout X and his religion did not believe in giving children bubble gum, maybe it is time that I respect the views of my employer...or find a new one.
Nodack, you are confused. Hobby Lobby is not banning anything nor meddling in the affairs of their employees, rather they are being mandating by the government to impose a public policy on their employees that happens to being against their moral conviction. Their concern is quite reasonable.
So you're telling the world that if someone else doesn't pay for your stuff or procedures, the employees are banned from those things? That is patently ridonkulous.
What do they teach in school these days...
Hobby Lobby is trying to dictate what their health care coverage will cover and what it won't based on their religious beliefs with zero regard to what their employees beliefs are. They could just have insurance like everybody else and let their employees decide what their beliefs and health care needs are, but they chose to impose their beliefs on others and I don't agree with that. Call me as many names as you like if it make you feel better.
Personally I don't think employers should have to provide insurance for their employees. I think they are separate things. I am for Universal Health care though like every other industrialized nation on planet earth has except for the US. They all pay half what we pay and our health care system is ranked 37th. We can't do that though because we are a for profit based system unlike countries like the UK.
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.