“The Supreme Court struck a second blow against the health-care law Monday with its decision to narrow its contraception mandate, an aspect of the federal program that was not central to its existence but was deeply cherished among liberals and many women’s groups.
Two years ago, the court, while upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also gutted the law’s mandatory Medicaid expansion, severely limiting the law’s reach. By contrast, the effect of Monday’s decision is peripheral. The contraception provision was not part of the main law but was laid out in regulatory language issued by the Obama administration. Millions of women who receive birth control at no cost through their company health plans are likely to keep it.
Still, women who work for closely held, for-profit companies whose owners have religious objections to contraceptives may feel an impact. The ruling also is a symbolic setback for a law that has survived a series of legal and political challenges since its enactment four years ago but today stands not entirely whole.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision Monday saying that “closely held corporations” do not have to abide by the contraceptive coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act may not give those firms the ability to stop providing that coverage after all.
More than half the states have “contraceptive equity” laws on the books that require most employers whose health insurance covers prescription drugs to also cover FDA-approved contraceptives as part of that package. Unlike the ACA, those laws do not require that coverage to be available without deductibles or co-pays.”

“The Supreme Court decision upholding Hobby Lobby’s ability to refuse to cover certain contraceptive services based on its owners’ religious beliefs has set off a wave of analysis of what the decision means. That will not be resolved anytime soon. But we do know what women think of the policy issue at the core of the case.
Overall, by a margin of 59% to 35%, women oppose the idea of letting companies deny coverage of contraceptives based on their owners’ religious beliefs. But women’s views on this issue–studied in the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll last month–differ by party, ideology and their religion.
White evangelical protestants, conservatives and women who are Republican are more supportive of Hobby Lobby’s position. Women who are liberal, Democrats, and protestant and Catholic are much more likely to oppose the company’s position.”

“The general sense about the Hobby Lobby decision handed down yesterday, very much suggested by the majority opinion itself, is that the ruling is highly significant for the particular matter at hand (the fate of the HHS mandate) but of limited significance for larger and broader questions beyond. It seems to me, however, that roughly the opposite may be the case.
In fact, the majority decision breaks some important ground on the general question of the corporate form in our civil society and its standing as a medium for the practice of our rights. But it leaves rather open the fate of the HHS mandate, by raising (without answering, as it was not at issue in this case) the question of whether the “accommodation” the administration has pursued regarding religious non-profits may be adequate both in their case and in that of for-profit corporations.”

“Today’s Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case should be seen as a clear and important victory for religious liberty. The majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, makes it clear that owners of closely held corporations, based on their sincerely held religious convictions, have the right to opt out of the so-called HHS mandate – the regulatory requirement that employers must include free contraceptives, sterilization procedures, and abortifacient products in their health-insurance offerings to workers. The plaintiffs in this case should be commended for having the courage to fight for their rights in court and for seeing their case through to victory despite the many obstacles they faced along the way.
But even in victory, it is hard to avoid the sinking feeling that having to fight at all over this issue is something of a defeat.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision on contraceptives and employer health plans could affect companies and workers far beyond Hobby Lobby and the other plaintiffs.
But nobody seems to know how far.
The ruling applies to “closely held for-profit corporations,” a small subset of employers, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority. But in a dissenting opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggests the impact will be far broader.
“Although the court attempts to cabin its language to closely held corporations, its logic extends to corporations of any size, public or private,” she said.”

“The Supreme Court today rang a victory bell for religious freedom as it ruled 5-4 that “HHS’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion” of three closely held companies – Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties, and Mardel.
The companies objected to the Obama administration’s mandate that they must provide, at no cost to their employees, coverage for products that can terminate life in the womb, violating their religious beliefs.”

“By a vote of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court has ruled that family-owned, closely held corporations do not have to comply with the health law’s contraception coverage requirements if they violate the owner’s religious views. Legal analyst Stuart Taylor Jr. joins us now to discuss the decision. Thanks for being with us.
STUART TAYLOR: Nice to be with you.
MARY AGNES CAREY: Why did the court rule this way?
STUART TAYLOR: Well, the court held that under an act of Congress passed in 1993, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the right is conferred on all religious groups, including, the court said in this case for the first time, for-profit corporations as well as churches and, say, nonprofit religious groups — they all get broad protection of their religious freedoms.”

A sampling of news articles on the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision:

“Kaiser Health News: Supreme Court Limits Contraceptive Mandate For Certain Employers
A sharply divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that at least some for-profit corporations may not be required to provide contraceptives if doing so violates the owners’ religious beliefs.But the five-justice majority writing in Burwell v Hobby Lobby, et al., took pains to try to limit their ruling only to the contraceptive mandate in the health law and only to “closely held” corporations like the family-owned businesses represented by the plaintiffs in the case (Rovner, 6/30).

The Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court Makes Religious Exception To Health-Care Law
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday in a 5-4 split said “closely held” companies can on religious grounds opt out of a federal health-care law requirement that companies provide contraception coverage for employees, carving another piece from President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement”
(continued)

“The Supreme Court today rang a victory bell for religious freedom as it ruled 5-4 that “HHS’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion” of three closely held companies – Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties, and Mardel.
The companies objected to the Obama administration’s mandate that they must provide, at no cost to their employees, coverage for products that violate their religious beliefs by terminating life in the womb.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, noted that the companies have “sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point.” The administration had argued that the plaintiffs were for-profit corporations and therefore couldn’t have religious beliefs.”