After the Hobby Lobby decision came down on June 30, 2014, my office got to work figuring out the implications of the decision and how we could enact a fix in Ohio that would make women’s personal, private health care decisions Not Our Boss’s Business.
Here are some FAQs about the Hobby Lobby decision and the Not My Boss’s Business Act, which I will soon be introducing along with my Senate colleagues Senator Charleta Tavares and Senator Nina Turner.
1) What did the Hobby Lobby decision say? Which law did it invalidate and why?
Five men on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hobby Lobby that the HHS regulations requiring contraceptive coverage violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when (RFRA) applied to certain corporations. The Court said RFRA now protects for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby, a closely held corporation with roughly 13,000 employees.
2) What does the Not My Boss’s Business Act do, and how does it block the effects of Hobby Lobby in Ohio?
Our bill does two things: 1) It requires employers that provide prescription drug coverage in their employees’ health insurance plans to also cover all FDA-approved birth control methods for women with no co-pay. This is generally referred to as contraceptive equity. Churches and certain religiously affiliated non-profits would be exempt. 2) Our bill also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on employees’ reproductive health decisions, such as taking the birth control pill or using an IUD.
3) How much does contraception cost if women’s insurance doesn’t cover it?
Hormonal methods like the patch, ring, and birth control pill can cost over $60 per month. An IUD can cost about $1,300 up front. Women have already saved over $400 million on their birth control medicine and devices since the federal No Co-pay provision took effect.
4) What are real life examples of employment discrimination based on reproductive health decisions?
Christa Dias and Jennifer Maudlin are two Ohio women who were fired over their choices to become pregnant. With other cases still pending and companies opposing coverage of any form of birth control, we can imagine that women are fearful of their employers finding out about their birth control use and punishing them for it.
5) How many states require corporations to cover contraception prescriptions?
Twenty-eight states have contraceptive equity laws in place. Ohio is lagging behind in protecting women from discrimination in coverage and guaranteeing them access to complete basic healthcare coverage.
6) Doesn’t the Supreme Court’s decision overrule anything we would do at the state level?
No. The Hobby Lobby decision was about a federal statute, RFRA, conflicting with federal HHS regulations. While RFRA invalidated the HHS birth control regulations in this case, the Court held in 1997 that RFRA cannot invalidate state laws. So Ohio is free to put a fix in place. We actually cannot force Hobby Lobby the corporation to cover birth control because it self-insures, meaning its health plan coverage is controlled by federal law, not state law. However, we can require other corporations to cover birth control with this state law. Also,Hobby Lobby would have to abide by the anti-discrimination portion of the bill.
7) What about religious freedom?
The Hobby Lobby decision is not a victory for religious freedom. Rather the decision allows employers to impose their religious beliefs on their employees – including those who do not share those beliefs.
Please support the Ohio Not My Boss’s Business Act. Your medical choices are Not Your Boss’s Business.
State Representative Kathleen Clyde represents Ohio’s 75th District
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