• Do religious-based organizations, such as Catholic hospitals and universities, and businesses owned by devout religious believers including Catholics, Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims, have the right under Obamacare to negotiate an agreement with an insurance company so that the insurance policy the employer offers to its employees does not include contraception, abortion, sterilization, etc.?
• Does an entrepreneur under Obamacare have a right to create an insurance company that in fact meets the needs of such employers?
If the answer to each is “no,” then Obamacare violates a fundamental right. If “yes,” then the problem is solved and the debate is over. But since the HHS regulations allow a narrow exemption for some religious organizations–e.g., churches, synagogues, mosques–that means that the answer to the questions is probably “no.”
I would add third and fourth questions:
Under this mandate, does an individual, say a retired or self-employed person that has moral or religious qualms about birth control, abortion inducing drugs, etc., have the right to negotiate coverage for him/herself that excludes such coverage?
The answer would seem to be ‘no’ given that no insurance providers are allowed to refrain from offering such coverage, (as question/bullet two from the post makes clear). They must provide these coverages “free” i.e., “without cost sharing” if they want to be in the insurance business.
So, it would seem that a group of say, one-hundred such folks as mentioned in the question cannot pool their resources and either become an insurance provider themselves, nor can they negotiate with an existent insurance provider to manage their pooled resources for such ends. They cannot do so IF they insist on excluding said services as covered. The mandate forbids this.
So, it’s not merely an issue of religious rights, but more broadly a question of what right government has to regulate voluntary associations and contracts of this sort. To see that it strikes not only at those of religious conviction, consider this related hypothetical:
Suppose there is a group of twenty-something year olds that would like to create a health insurance pool, basically providing themselves with minimal coverage (catastrophic care only). Would they have a right to do this?
It all depends on what the mandate mandates vis-à-vis minimal coverage doesn’t it?
Is that fair? Is it too intrusive? Is it constitutional?