Sunday, March 30, 2014

How the Obama Administration Completely Contradicted Themselves in the Hobby Lobby Case

This afternoon, I listened to the last half of the oral arguments on C-SPAN from the Hobby Lobby case where the owners of Hobby Lobby are trying to be exempted from having to pay for abortion-inducing contraceptives (are we really at this point in America?)

Apologies to my siblings for stopping on the channel and watching it for a half hour, but there are two other TV's in the house.  

I wanted to share an observation about how the Obama Administration completely contradicted itself in a major way.  

In granting a false compromise a year or so ago, the Obama Administration said:

"We'll make the insurance companies buy the contraception so that companies who have objections won't feel bad." (paraphrasing)

Everyone who has taken Econ 101 knows that Obama's plan is the same thing as the employer paying for the contraceptive, but the Obama administration said, and this is really important: 

"By providing contraception, the insurance company will save money in the long run by reducing costs (presumably they are referring to their fantasy of "less unintended pregnancies - completely debunked by science) in the long haul and balancing out, so there would be no costs to the original employer." (paraphrasing) this week's Supreme Court case.  Follow it closely:

JUSTICE BREYER: Then [Hobby Lobby’s lawyer] says there is a less restrictive way, and the less restrictive way is the government pays for [the contraception].  Says it wouldn't cost much...I want to hear your precise answer to that kind of argument.

(Obama lawyer) VERELLI: you're talking about a very open­ended increase in the cost to the government.  Now, we don't know how much that cost would be... I can't tell you what that ­­ what that increased cost is going to be, but it could be quite considerable.

JUSTICE ALITO: I was taken by your answer.  I thought it was the government's position that providing coverage for the full range of contraceptives and other devices and drugs that are covered here is actually financially neutral for an insurance company, that that reduces other costs that they would incur.  (can I get a boo-yah!)

Justice Breyer saves the day and changes the conversation, thus preventing Mr. Verelli from having to answer the question 

This is hugely important because it undermines one of the Obama Administration's largest contentions in the exemption debate.  When the Obama Admin is talking about insurance companies, paying for contraception supposedly saves that company money.  When it is the government who is paying for contraception, the government (who is in the insurance business) will lose a ton of money???

Putting aside the fact that of course it would be wrong for the government to provide contraception, the Obama administration still completely contradicted themselves in this case.