So yesterday I took a gander at the oral arguments at the Supreme Court over 7 law suits filed against the governments inclusion of birth control in the Affordable Care Act. Here is my understanding of the case.
The government feels that as proper health care 1) everyone have health insurance, 2) all employers with 50 + employees are obligated to offer health insurance, 3) all women should have access to birth control seamlessly through their insurance coverage. In order to accomplish those three main objectives, they mandated that all people have health insurance or be fined. They forced all employers (with X number of employees) to offer health insurance or be fined. They also said that all health care contracts must include certain items including birth control in order to be sufficient coverage.
The organizations are suing because 1) they must offer health care coverage and 2) part of that coverage must include birth control.
The government looked at some religious non-profits and said "look we know that your religion says you can't cover birthcontrol, but we want it seemlessly. So fill out this form, telling us who your insurer is. We will have them contract with us as a separate policy within the overall plan provided coverage."
The Little Sisters et all said "Nope. Sorry not going to tell you who our insurer is. Not only isn't it your business, but you can't take over our plan. We set-up the plan. You have your own plans. Use them."
The government says "But it must be seemless."
LSOP et al "Then don't force us to provide health care coverage."
The government says "No, everyone must have coverage. And we want all health care to be seamless."
LSOP et all *head desk*
The Supreme Court looks at it and says "Okay. Your accommodation is to find out who their insurer is so that you can contract separate birth control coverage using their insurer."
The government "Yes, thank you. That's it. We just want to know who their insurer is."
Supreme Court "Why can't the employee tell you? Why does the employer have to?"
Supreme Court asks "You also said that there is an accommodation. And will this birth control plan be separate or will it be in their plan? Will they have a different card?"
Government "yes, of course it will be separate. We want to accommodate. We don't want to make them pay for anything. As we understand it, it won't be a part of their plan from their employer. It will be separate but through the same insurer."
Supreme Court asks "So it won't really be seamless. Why can't you just do that through the exchanges instead?
Government "But it is seamless only through their insurance."
SC: "But you just said it would be separate."
Government: "Yes, it will. But it will be seamless."
SC: "How can it be seamless if in order to accommodate it is separate?
And there in lies the lie the government is selling. If they want seamlessness, that's impossible to do with their so called accommodation. If they truly want seamlessness, exempt the LSOP from providing any insurance. Make what they do provide voluntary. Allow the employees to get seamless coverage through the exchanges.
But we'll see what the Court officially decides in June.
I'm imagining that what comes down the pipe next is individuals suing the government for forcing them to buy insurance with birth control coverage. This is because all the exchanges must include it and all secular employers.