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Corporations are a legal construction, they are NOT “people” and as such do NOT have the same rights as individual citizens. But, that doesn’t matter to corporate CEOs who are apparently practicers of far right religious zealotry. To them, it’s not sufficient to sequentially discriminate against individual citizens, they now want the right to discriminate against an entire class of citizens, women, based on the CEO’s religious zealotry. This has to stop!
If SCOTUS strikes the provision in ACA requiring employer policies to assure accessibility to contraception, is that the line they’ll draw? Or, what happens when the next religious zealot decides it’s against his religion to provide ANY healthcare whatsoever and that they should pray the sickness away instead. Will they rule in favor of that CEO’s views as well?
Republicans can use their revisionist history and scream as loud as they want, how this is a “christian” nation and how our founders intended to create a nation built upon those tenets, but that’s simply NOT the case. People migrated to the Americas to escape the religious discrimination and deadly purges present in Europe each time leadership shifted. At the time of our nation’s founding there were multiple religious groups who could have vied for the “official religion” yet that’s not what happened. Instead, our founding fathers created a “secular” nation with no official religion and no religious tests for its leadership. Instead they set into law, the tenet of religious freedom for all “men” (now interpreted for the last century to be a generic interpretation for both men and women).
Just as each individual President of the United States of America is denied the ability to put his religion above the law and impose his religious beliefs on the citizens of this nation, NO corporate CEO should be able to put his religion above the law and discriminate against U.S. citizens he’s hired to work in various roles within his U.S. incorporated business.
If the Supreme Court chooses to bestow religious rights on legal entities, corporations, it will set the stage for our next civil war — deciding which religious entity will be our nation’s official religion. So just like we’re seeing all that religious strife in the Middle East amongst the various religious Muslim sects, this could lead to religious strife across our nation.
Personally, I prefer a secular nation where people have constitutional rights and where corporations have rights to conduct business throughout out nation, but which are not afforded the exact same constitutional rights afforded the actual people of this nation.
NARAL Pro-Choice America on Supreme Court Decision to Hear Case on Contraception Coverage
Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in two cases related to the contraception benefit in the Affordable Care Act: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. NARAL Pro-Choice America released the following statement from President Ilyse Hogue:
“While most people agree this much ado about birth control is a waste of time that could be spent on more pressing issues in our country, we’re pleased that the Supreme Court will finally lay to rest the question of whether women’s bosses get to decide if we deserve contraceptive coverage. That this reflects an underlying obsession with controlling women’s lives seems obvious when you observe that the enemies of the new law are not pushing to deny men access to Viagra or any other number of similar medical requests covered by insurance.
“Obviously, we hope the court upholds existing rulings that – in a country where over 99 percent of women report using birth control at some point in our lives – bosses have no business imposing their own politics on their employees’ health and decisions. If we start with birth control, will bosses next get to decide whether or not we get our children vaccinated? Or whether we can use treatments from stem cell research for life-threatening diseases? Allowing this intrusion into personal decisions by their employers opens a door that won’t easily be shut.”
By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Today we released our most detailed report to date about the results of the first reporting period of open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace. The numbers show that interest in the Health Insurance Marketplace remains strong and the promise of quality, affordable coverage is becoming a reality for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Between October 1 and November 2, 2013, 106,185 individuals selected plans from the Marketplace and another 975,407 applied and received an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan. An additional 396,261 were determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In total, 502,446 Americans will be positioned to have health coverage starting in 2014.
As we’ve seen in Massachusetts’s efforts to expand coverage, I expect the number of newly insured to grow substantially throughout the open enrollment period. Our efforts to improve HealthCare.gov will be critical to driving new enrollments and meeting consumer demand.
As a further indication of high consumer interest, web traffic and call center volume also continues to be very heavy. During the first reporting period, there have been over 26 million unique visitors to Marketplace websites and over 3.1 million calls to the call centers.
While we know there is still a lot of work to do to make sure every American that wants access to affordable coverage can have it, there are many encouraging takeaways from today’s report.
For the full text of the report, “Health Insurance Marketplace: November Enrollment Report,” please visit: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/MarketPlaceEnrollment/rpt_enrollment.pdf
Nevada has a state supported exchange, meaning we don’t need to use the national website. We can go to our own exchange website. If you don’t have employer provided insurance and will need to enroll for insurance, VISIT THE NEVADA HEALTH LINK NOW TO APPLY today.
By Salim Zymet, Digital Advisor, Department of Health and Human Services
Enrolling just a day after the Health Insurance Marketplace opened, Daniel, a 22 year old from Orlando, Florida, is one of the millions of Americans eligible for affordable health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Daniel says he’s “thrilled” to get coverage at the price he got it, and is relieved to be covered:
“I already had health insurance, but I just wanted to see if I could do a little bit better on the marketplace, and I did. I was able to pick a much higher quality plan, and because of my income as a student, I’ll only pay about 70 bucks a month for health insurance.”
To compare plans in your area, weigh your options, and get enrolled for coverage beginning January 1st, apply on HealthCare.gov by December 15th.
There are 4 basic ways consumers can apply for and enroll in Marketplace coverage:
- Online at HealthCare.gov;
- Over the phone by calling the 24/7 customer service center (1-800-318-2596, TTY 1-855-889-4325);
- Working with a trained person in your local community (Find Local Help); or by
- Submitting a paper application through the call center or downloading a copy at marketplace.cms.gov.
Healthline.com recently finished a video titled “Health Insurance Exchanges 101: The Affordable Care Act Explained” that serves as an easy-to-understand resource for consumers. I’ve added it here for easy viewing:
They also have other resources and articles on their healthline.com webpage that might interest you.
— BY IGOR VOLSKY ON OCTOBER 6, 2013
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said the nation would default on its debt later this month if President Obama does not agree to GOP’s demands to cut spending and change parts of the Affordable Care Act.
Appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Boehner agreed that the risks of defaulting would be “catastrophic,” leading credit markets to freeze, the dollar to lose its value, and interest rates to skyrocket, precipitating another financial crisis. But, he insisted that “the president is putting the nation at risk by his refusal to have a conversation”:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): Let me press that. There have been some reports that you have told your own members that you would be willing to put a debt limit on the floor that would pass with democratic votes, even if it didn’t get a majority of the republican caucus. Is that no longer true?
BOEHNER: My goal here is not to have the United States default on its debt. My goal is to have a serious conversation about those things that are driving the deficit and the debt up and the president’s refusal to sit down and have a conversation about this is putting our nation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He continues to refuse to negotiate, the country is going to default?
BOEHNER: That’s the path we’re on. The president canceled his trip to Asia. I assume — he wants to have a conversation. I decided to stay here in washington this weekend. He knows what my phone number is. All he has to do is call.
Since walking away from two so-called grand bargains in 2011 — which would have reduced the deficit by increasing revenue and lowering spending on certain entitlement programs — Boehner and other Congressional leaders met with Obama to discuss the standoff on Wednesday, though no deal was reached.
As Obama continues to insist that he will only negotiate with Republicans after they re-open the federal government by passing a clean continuing resolution and raise the debt ceiling, GOP lawmakers in battleground states are seeing their poll numbers drop and veteran Republican donors are becoming “increasingly alarmed by the defiant stance of hard-line conservatives.”
This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.
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Conservative Court Says Religious Employers Can Deny Their Workers Birth Control
— by Ian Millhiser on Jun 28, 2013 at 9:58 am
An eight-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit struck a major blow against Obama Administration rules ensuring that most workers’ health plans will cover birth control. Although Thursday’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius leaves a few procedural stones unturned before courts can begin carving holes in the birth control rules, it leaves little doubt that a majority of the court’s judges will allow employers with religious objections to birth control to withhold birth control from their employees.
The Supreme Court established more than three decades ago that a company may not “impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.” As the Court explained in United States v. Lee, “[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.” So there should be little doubt that the employer in this case, a national chain of crafting retailers, must comply with a law requiring them to include birth control coverage in their health plans. Religious objections cannot be imposed upon an employer’s workers.
The Tenth Circuit’s majority, however, brushes past this aspect of the Lee opinion, although it somehow manages to rely on Lee for the proposition that religious employers’ right to immunize themselves from the law is much more robust than many other courts have held. Simply put, the opinion is a disaster for workers whose bosses cite religious justifications for ignoring their employees’ legal rights.
The majority opinion does not simply conclude that a for profit corporation may assert a religious objection to a law — itself a questionable proposition — it even opens the door to “a large publicly traded corporation tr[ying] to assert religious rights” (although the court does admit that it would be difficult for Walmart to prove that its alleged religious beliefs are sincere). It defines an important limit on religious liberty cases, the requirement that the plaintiff show that a law “substantially burdens” their exercise of religion, so narrowly as to render this limit a nullity in many cases. And it even includes some language suggesting that religious employers could successfully object to laws ensuring “gender equality.”
The last part of the court’s reasoning is significant because it portends the next strike religious conservatives are likely to launch if they win their case against the birth control rules — empowering people with conservative religious beliefs to ignore anti-discrimination laws. As social conservative writer Ross Douthat argued shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the march towards marriage equality may be inevitable, but conservatives can still undermine this march by “build[ing] in as many protections for religious liberty as possible along the way.” Similarly, laws forbidding discrimination against gay workers will be drastically reduced in effectiveness if employers who bear religiously motivated animus against gay people can simply ignore those laws. Today, religious conservatives have their sights set on women who use birth control. If they win, gay people are next.