August 1 is the first day businesses will be mandated to provide insurance including contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. Regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the mandate presents a devastating choice for many business owners — to either violate their conscience by subsidizing behavior they find objectionable — or to face penalties that would cripple even the most well managed entities.
Kathryn Jean Lopez conducted an interesting interview on the topic with Matthew Bowman, a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom. I’m not going to rehash what she wrote — it’s well done, so go read it.
The subject business of the interview, Hercules Industries, is a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning business in Colorado. Here is what they face if they decide not to comply with the HHS mandate:
If businesses like the Newlands’ try to simply flout the Sebelius regulation and continue providing insurance to their workers that does not cover the sterilization-contraception-abortifacient benefits that the Obama administration demands, they will be hit with confiscatory financial penalties.
“PPACA also imposes monetary penalties if Hercules were to continue to offer its self-insured plan but continued omitting abortifacients, contraceptive and sterilizations,” said the Newlands’ complaint. “The exact magnitude of these penalties may vary according to the complicated provisions of PPACA, but the fine is approximately $100 per day per employee, with minimum amounts applying in different circumstances.
With 265 employees, a business like the Newlands’ would need to pay the government $26,500 per day if they decided not to comply with Sebelius’s regulation and insured their employees anyway. Over 365 days that would amount to $9,672,500.
That’s a business killer, all because the Obama administration feels businesses should be forced to operate as secular entities.
This is from the Justice Department’s filing:
[T]he Supreme Court has recognized that, “[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.”
Nor can the owners of a for-profit, secular company eliminate the legal separation provided by the corporate form to impose their personal religious beliefs on the corporate entity’s employees. To hold otherwise would permit for-profit, secular companies and their owners to become laws unto themselves, claiming countless exemptions from an untold number of general commercial laws designed to improve the health and well-being of individual employees based on an infinite variety of alleged religious beliefs. Such a system would not only be unworkable, it would also cripple the government’s ability to solve national problems through laws of general application.
There are nicer ways to put this, but the HHS is essentially saying this to business owners: “If you want to do business on our turf, you’ll do as we like.” It seems that Rahm Emanuel managed to teach his “Chicago Values” quite well.