Maybe Bruce Braley did have a point after all. Yesterday, as the Supreme Court conducted a review of regulation promulgated under the auspices of a massively intrusive law passed by Congress creating the first-ever peacetime federal command economy in American history, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) found it “stunning” that “nine people are going to make the decision” on whether religious liberty will trump the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate to solve a non-issue. Apparently, the lawmaker has little familiarity with the legal process and the right to challenges laws and regulation. Of course, she’s never been to law school, so …
“I’ve worked hard to make sure that women have access to the right kinds of health care, and it’s their choice, not their employer’s choice,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday.
“Sitting in that court today, it was stunning to me to recognize that nine people are going to make that decision — and will decide for a long time to come — whether women have to question when they go to work every day what the shareholders of that company’s religious views could be.”
Well, that problem wouldn’t exist had Congress not given HHS the power to mandate that employers provide specific products and services to their employees in the first place. Prior to the passage of ObamaCare, most employers already provided some form of health insurance to their employees, and most of those already covered birth control, albeit with co-pays. Those employers who object to abortifacients found other health plans, but that doesn’t prevent men and women from acquiring birth control of their own volition — or finding other work based on competitive compensation packages, for that matter. This became an issue only when Democrats forced the creation and participation of a command economy in health insurance and gave bureaucrats the power to issue regulations such as the HHS contraception mandate, for no rational reason except as political demagoguery.
National Journal notes the same point in a different context:
Another reason companies will likely continue offering coverage? They historically have.
In 2010, 85 percent of companies with more than 200 employees were offering contraceptive coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits Survey. In 2002, the number of large employers covering contraception was 78 percent. (The amount employees had to contribute to contraception, such as the birth-control pill, in co-pays or other cost-sharing wasn’t measured by the survey, although the Affordable Care Act now makes the pill and other contraceptives available at no cost.)
In other words, there was no compelling state interest in the first place, especially since the CDC’s own data showed no indications that access to contraception was a problem at all for women attempting to prevent pregnancy.
By the way, it wasn’t just those nine justices looking at ObamaCare yesterday. The DC Circuit Court took up the origination clause challenge yesterday, and at least two of the justices were less than impressed with the law (via the Lonely Conservative):
One judge called the Obamacare rollout an “unmitigated disaster” and said the administration is stretching to try to cover up for how poorly the law was written.
“I know there’s an absurdity principle, but is there a stupidity principle?” said Judge A. Raymond Randolph. “If the law is just stupid, I don’t think it’s up to the court to save it.”
I’m sure Senator Murray finds Congressional absurdity and stupidity “stunning,” too. The rest of us … not so much.