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Hobby Lobby finds way around $1.3-million-a-day Obamacare hit - for now

Posted by on Jan. 13, 2013 at 10:57 AM
  • 119 Replies

January 11th, 2013
03:40 PM ET

Hobby Lobby finds way around $1.3-million-a-day Obamacare hit - for now

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."

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.

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.

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.

by on Jan. 13, 2013 at 10:57 AM
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Replies (1-10):
AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:06 AM
13 moms liked this
Too bad. I hope the fines make them reconsider. They are a for profit business and must follow the rules laid down for all such businesses. If they don't want to follow the laws for such an establishment, they should become a non profit and then could dictate their employees health coverage. While they are still making a dime, love of Jesus doesn't equal not having to follow the rules.


Ask the mormons who thought plural marriage was more important than statehood and refused to change, they are hiding in compounds now like religious terrorists so they aren't the ones to emulate in any matter.
sorry for that rant ahem







I don't know why it is so hard to understand. If you make a profit, you have to follow business laws no matter what your Bible says. If you give all of your money away, then you might get a chance to impose your religious beliefs on your employees and not a moment sooner.
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talia-mom
by Gold Member on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:11 AM
1 mom liked this

When they have to pay 60% of the insurance costs, they should be able to determine what they provide.

cherylam
by on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:17 AM
5 moms liked this

I'm dumbfounded... I understand and respect their belief system, but not all employees belong to their religion, and it's not like there's a stack of jobs waiting to be taken by disgruntled employes.  They are also contesting the 'morning after pill', which does not cause abortions.  Does not.  It will not cause an abortion if you are pregnant.  All the 'morning after' pill does is bring on your period early, making sure the lining of the uterus is not favorable to impantation of a developing embryo.  I swear, every person in this country has forgotten how it feels to be fifteen and stupid.  These girls and women are taking responsibility for their lives, and although I don't always approve of abortion, waiting until you're 12-14 weeks to destroy a fetus is beyond ridiculous.  If it's going to happen, better before the pregnancy advances.  And if this cmpany is allowed to do this, other companies will follow.  Then, let the crying begin over babies born at home and killed by their mothers, either out of fear of discovery of the pregnancy, or just not wanting a child.

talia-mom
by Gold Member on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:19 AM

So they should have to pay the majority of the cost of insurance that goes against their religious beliefs?  How is that right?  They are forced to pay by law for the majority of the cost.

Quoting cherylam:

I'm dumbfounded... I understand and respect their belief system, but not all employees belong to their religion, and it's not like there's a stack of jobs waiting to be taken by disgruntled employes.  They are also contesting the 'morning after pill', which does not cause abortions.  Does not.  It will not cause an abortion if you are pregnant.  All the 'morning after' pill does is bring on your period early, making sure the lining of the uterus is not favorable to impantation of a developing embryo.  I swear, every person in this country has forgotten how it feels to be fifteen and stupid.  These girls and women are taking responsibility for their lives, and although I don't always approve of abortion, waiting until you're 12-14 weeks to destroy a fetus is beyond ridiculous.  If it's going to happen, better before the pregnancy advances.  And if this cmpany is allowed to do this, other companies will follow.  Then, let the crying begin over babies born at home and killed by their mothers, either out of fear of discovery of the pregnancy, or just not wanting a child.


cherylam
by on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:26 AM
5 moms liked this


Quoting talia-mom:

So they should have to pay the majority of the cost of insurance that goes against their religious beliefs?  How is that right?  They are forced to pay by law for the majority of the cost.

Quoting cherylam:

I'm dumbfounded... I understand and respect their belief system, but not all employees belong to their religion, and it's not like there's a stack of jobs waiting to be taken by disgruntled employes.  They are also contesting the 'morning after pill', which does not cause abortions.  Does not.  It will not cause an abortion if you are pregnant.  All the 'morning after' pill does is bring on your period early, making sure the lining of the uterus is not favorable to impantation of a developing embryo.  I swear, every person in this country has forgotten how it feels to be fifteen and stupid.  These girls and women are taking responsibility for their lives, and although I don't always approve of abortion, waiting until you're 12-14 weeks to destroy a fetus is beyond ridiculous.  If it's going to happen, better before the pregnancy advances.  And if this cmpany is allowed to do this, other companies will follow.  Then, let the crying begin over babies born at home and killed by their mothers, either out of fear of discovery of the pregnancy, or just not wanting a child.


the actual cost of providing these drugs on the required plan is minimal, and the company has said many times via press release, the cost isn't the issue.  Their issue is it is against their beliefs to provide any 'abortion-causing drugs'.

talia-mom
by Gold Member on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM

They are forced by law to pay for something that goes against their beliefs.  How does anyone think that is fair?


Quoting cherylam:


Quoting talia-mom:

So they should have to pay the majority of the cost of insurance that goes against their religious beliefs?  How is that right?  They are forced to pay by law for the majority of the cost.

Quoting cherylam:

I'm dumbfounded... I understand and respect their belief system, but not all employees belong to their religion, and it's not like there's a stack of jobs waiting to be taken by disgruntled employes.  They are also contesting the 'morning after pill', which does not cause abortions.  Does not.  It will not cause an abortion if you are pregnant.  All the 'morning after' pill does is bring on your period early, making sure the lining of the uterus is not favorable to impantation of a developing embryo.  I swear, every person in this country has forgotten how it feels to be fifteen and stupid.  These girls and women are taking responsibility for their lives, and although I don't always approve of abortion, waiting until you're 12-14 weeks to destroy a fetus is beyond ridiculous.  If it's going to happen, better before the pregnancy advances.  And if this cmpany is allowed to do this, other companies will follow.  Then, let the crying begin over babies born at home and killed by their mothers, either out of fear of discovery of the pregnancy, or just not wanting a child.


the actual cost of providing these drugs on the required plan is minimal, and the company has said many times via press release, the cost isn't the issue.  Their issue is it is against their beliefs to provide any 'abortion-causing drugs'.


cherylam
by on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:41 AM


Quoting talia-mom:

They are forced by law to pay for something that goes against their beliefs.  How does anyone think that is fair?


Quoting cherylam:


Quoting talia-mom:

So they should have to pay the majority of the cost of insurance that goes against their religious beliefs?  How is that right?  They are forced to pay by law for the majority of the cost.

Quoting cherylam:

I'm dumbfounded... I understand and respect their belief system, but not all employees belong to their religion, and it's not like there's a stack of jobs waiting to be taken by disgruntled employes.  They are also contesting the 'morning after pill', which does not cause abortions.  Does not.  It will not cause an abortion if you are pregnant.  All the 'morning after' pill does is bring on your period early, making sure the lining of the uterus is not favorable to impantation of a developing embryo.  I swear, every person in this country has forgotten how it feels to be fifteen and stupid.  These girls and women are taking responsibility for their lives, and although I don't always approve of abortion, waiting until you're 12-14 weeks to destroy a fetus is beyond ridiculous.  If it's going to happen, better before the pregnancy advances.  And if this cmpany is allowed to do this, other companies will follow.  Then, let the crying begin over babies born at home and killed by their mothers, either out of fear of discovery of the pregnancy, or just not wanting a child.


the actual cost of providing these drugs on the required plan is minimal, and the company has said many times via press release, the cost isn't the issue.  Their issue is it is against their beliefs to provide any 'abortion-causing drugs'.


because it's the law.  No one likes every part of this new health care law, no one.  But in all fairness, I will say this... providing the morning after pill is one thing, providing the RU-286 is another.  The morning after is to make sure you DON"T get pregnant, the other is to destroy an early developing embryo.  As I've said, I can't abide aborting after the first few weeks of a pregnancy.  They have the home testing kits at Dollar General for Petes sake, you know you're pregnant before you skip a period.  Having been fifteen and stupid (and incredibly lucky, I never got pregnant), I remember those days of fear...abortion was illegal, my parents would have killed me.  There was no pregnancy tests, you just held your breath and hoped.  I didn't let my daughters live in that kind of fear.  What the company is doing, is trying to force the women who work for them and accidently become pregnant, pay for their sins if they aren't married or didn't want a child.  Either pay for these drugs yourself or have a baby you don't want.  I call foul at that point...my beliefs are just that, mine.  I'd rather lead by example than by force...conversion at gunpoint mever works.  By refusing a ten cent inclusion in their insurance policy, the company is forcing a point.  Again, I've been 15 and stupid... not everyone has, granted, but a lot have been.  I wish all the employees the best, I do.  I like Hobby Lobby and shop there often, and will continue to do so.  The company stands just reminds me of the old Puritan church... stand in front of the congregation and get called out on your sins.

talia-mom
by Gold Member on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:44 AM
1 mom liked this

As long as someone else's religious beliefs are vioalted, it's fine is what you are saying.  You would be pissed if you had to violate your religious beliefs or lack of them.


People just amaze me with their selfishness in making others pay for them.  What is so wrong with paying for your pills yourself?  Adults do things like that.  If you are too poor to pay for them, then maybe you shouldn't have sex when fertile, use condoms and pull out, swallow only, or make extra money to find a way.

Quoting cherylam:


Quoting talia-mom:

They are forced by law to pay for something that goes against their beliefs.  How does anyone think that is fair?


Quoting cherylam:


Quoting talia-mom:

So they should have to pay the majority of the cost of insurance that goes against their religious beliefs?  How is that right?  They are forced to pay by law for the majority of the cost.

Quoting cherylam:

I'm dumbfounded... I understand and respect their belief system, but not all employees belong to their religion, and it's not like there's a stack of jobs waiting to be taken by disgruntled employes.  They are also contesting the 'morning after pill', which does not cause abortions.  Does not.  It will not cause an abortion if you are pregnant.  All the 'morning after' pill does is bring on your period early, making sure the lining of the uterus is not favorable to impantation of a developing embryo.  I swear, every person in this country has forgotten how it feels to be fifteen and stupid.  These girls and women are taking responsibility for their lives, and although I don't always approve of abortion, waiting until you're 12-14 weeks to destroy a fetus is beyond ridiculous.  If it's going to happen, better before the pregnancy advances.  And if this cmpany is allowed to do this, other companies will follow.  Then, let the crying begin over babies born at home and killed by their mothers, either out of fear of discovery of the pregnancy, or just not wanting a child.


the actual cost of providing these drugs on the required plan is minimal, and the company has said many times via press release, the cost isn't the issue.  Their issue is it is against their beliefs to provide any 'abortion-causing drugs'.


because it's the law.  No one likes every part of this new health care law, no one.  But in all fairness, I will say this... providing the morning after pill is one thing, providing the RU-286 is another.  The morning after is to make sure you DON"T get pregnant, the other is to destroy an early developing embryo.  As I've said, I can't abide aborting after the first few weeks of a pregnancy.  They have the home testing kits at Dollar General for Petes sake, you know you're pregnant before you skip a period.  Having been fifteen and stupid (and incredibly lucky, I never got pregnant), I remember those days of fear...abortion was illegal, my parents would have killed me.  There was no pregnancy tests, you just held your breath and hoped.  I didn't let my daughters live in that kind of fear.  What the company is doing, is trying to force the women who work for them and accidently become pregnant, pay for their sins if they aren't married or didn't want a child.  Either pay for these drugs yourself or have a baby you don't want.  I call foul at that point...my beliefs are just that, mine.  I'd rather lead by example than by force...conversion at gunpoint mever works.  By refusing a ten cent inclusion in their insurance policy, the company is forcing a point.  Again, I've been 15 and stupid... not everyone has, granted, but a lot have been.  I wish all the employees the best, I do.  I like Hobby Lobby and shop there often, and will continue to do so.  The company stands just reminds me of the old Puritan church... stand in front of the congregation and get called out on your sins.


romalove
by Roma on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM
2 moms liked this


Quoting talia-mom:

They are forced by law to pay for something that goes against their beliefs.  How does anyone think that is fair?


Quoting cherylam:


Quoting talia-mom:

So they should have to pay the majority of the cost of insurance that goes against their religious beliefs?  How is that right?  They are forced to pay by law for the majority of the cost.

Quoting cherylam:

I'm dumbfounded... I understand and respect their belief system, but not all employees belong to their religion, and it's not like there's a stack of jobs waiting to be taken by disgruntled employes.  They are also contesting the 'morning after pill', which does not cause abortions.  Does not.  It will not cause an abortion if you are pregnant.  All the 'morning after' pill does is bring on your period early, making sure the lining of the uterus is not favorable to impantation of a developing embryo.  I swear, every person in this country has forgotten how it feels to be fifteen and stupid.  These girls and women are taking responsibility for their lives, and although I don't always approve of abortion, waiting until you're 12-14 weeks to destroy a fetus is beyond ridiculous.  If it's going to happen, better before the pregnancy advances.  And if this cmpany is allowed to do this, other companies will follow.  Then, let the crying begin over babies born at home and killed by their mothers, either out of fear of discovery of the pregnancy, or just not wanting a child.


the actual cost of providing these drugs on the required plan is minimal, and the company has said many times via press release, the cost isn't the issue.  Their issue is it is against their beliefs to provide any 'abortion-causing drugs'.


No they are not.

Provide them or don't the insurance premiums are the same.  The government and the insurance companies came to an agreement whereby the insurance companies will pick up the cost of contraception for those employees that request it and go directly to the insurer.  

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 13, 2013 at 11:50 AM

I'm not even sure what to say, outside of I am not surprised.

Hobby Lobby has lost a lot of business in our area. 

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