The Not So Narrow Impacts of the Hobby Lobby Decision

Consumer, community, women’s and health organizations expressed disappointment in the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case.

It’s very disappointing that the Supreme Court is allowing corporations to determine the health options of their workers, however narrowly tailored the decision. If a corporation provides coverage, it shouldn’t impose the beliefs of its owners onto the health care of its workers. This decision puts an asterisk on how we define health coverage, and thus how we regulate it.

Most Californians will continue to get all the benefits of the Affordable Care Act; the contraception benefit is not struck down, nor any other part of Obamacare: most will continue to get the newly-won right to get birth control without a co-payment. Specific California law also limits the impact of this law, and there’s a bill pending SB1053(Mitchell) in the California legislature that would further reduce its reach.

That said, what is concerning is the health options for those specific workers directly impacted, and the precedent that corporations can assert religious beliefs to avoid implementing key worker and consumer protections, or other health benefits.

Justice Ginsburg was right to ask how a future court might allow a corporation might use an religious reason to not provide coverage for blood transfusions, vaccinations, anti-depressants, or other medical treatments. That’s a precedent that should concern everybody.