27 Responses

  1. Gary
    Gary July 8, 2014 at 4:15 am | | Reply

    “Or even devices like glucose meters, insulin pumps, and insulin, for that matter?”

    I think that’s a broad leap to make, based on this ruling.

    I find much more worrying is the desire for a “single-payer” system, like Canada’s, which has age restrictions on coverage for pumps.

    And how much the excise tax in the ACA on medical devices will affect the costs of pumps and CGMs

    1. Dave
      Dave July 8, 2014 at 6:49 pm | | Reply

      “I think that’s a broad leap to make, based on this ruling.”

      Evel Knievel wouldn’t even try that jump!!!

  2. vickie
    vickie July 8, 2014 at 7:20 am | | Reply

    I think if employers are so worried about what their insurance covers have employees pay a small part of the coverage and quit playing God. People need good coverage or what’s point of having

    1. Kristin W
      Kristin W July 8, 2014 at 7:37 am | | Reply

      Most companies already have their employees contribute to their health coverage, and the percentage of employee contribution is increasing.

      Agree that employers should stay out of medical diagnosis and treatment decisions. Wish we could get health coverage out of employers’ hands (as they probably do, too), so people with certain conditions (like PWDs) could make employment decisions without regard to healthcare, and/or not go broke if they don’t qualify for group coverage through an employer, or suffer physical ruin due to not being able to pay for what keeps them healthy. Damn shame that in 2014 in this country, this still happens.

  3. Mary Dexter
    Mary Dexter July 8, 2014 at 7:27 am | | Reply

    I worry about companies not covering birth control pills. Many women with PCOS take them to help regulate their hormones and to guard against developing cardiac problems, diabetes and certain cancers.

    However, if Hobby Lobby, and other corporations wish to be thought of as individuals, than we should be able to sue them into personal bankruptcy as individuals. The purpose of forming a limited partnership or corporation is to limit one’s personal liability if things go wrong and someone’s looking for someone to blame. They shouldn’t be able to play it both ways. So let them hang themselves.

  4. Kelly Parr
    Kelly Parr July 8, 2014 at 7:58 am | | Reply

    I can tell from this article which side of the debate the author is passionate about. Last time I checked, iud’s and morning after pills weren’t being used as life support as is the case with insulin for type 1 diabetics. All this article is trying to do is incite panic.

    1. Teresa
      Teresa July 10, 2014 at 9:41 am | | Reply

      I use an IUD to address serious bleeding that caused me to have severe anemia. I literally bled every day for over a year.

  5. Denise
    Denise July 8, 2014 at 8:00 am | | Reply

    I get that if you (an employer) are paying for health care then you want a say in what you’re buying. But if you’re offering healthcare as part of an employee benefits package then you should only be able to say how much you’re willing to pay, and stay out of treatment options. Because the real question is: who gets to decide on medical treatment options? So yes this goes far beyond birth control (which I don’t think is a moral issue, but a medical issue, imo), and extends to whether PWD need pumps or should they use pens, do they need cgm or can they just use meters, should they test 4 times a day or 10. etc.

    You can’t say that PWDs should be in charge of their own treament but women shouldn’t decide on their own contraception/medical care/drug treatments. I don’t want anyone telling my daughter with D that maybe she doesn’t really need a high risk OB just bc she has D. Or maybe if she decides she wants kids then her boss shouldn’t have to cover her since that’s her choice and a pregnancy with D gets very expensive. These big decisions will definitely trickle down into the D community.

  6. andy
    andy July 8, 2014 at 8:49 am | | Reply

    Last I knew freedom of religion was a rite health care isn’t and shouldn’t be. I choose whom I work for if they provide benefits or not that’s my choice.

  7. Terry
    Terry July 8, 2014 at 9:02 am | | Reply

    I admire your willingness to raise the issue of diabetes health insurance coverage in light of the Hobby Lobby case. Your raising of the slippery slope argument, from my perspective, is rational.

    History is littered with disastrous outcomes for the common people when religion and state matters are intertwined. Jefferson’s sentiment of building a wall of separation between church and state is a wise value. The United States, with good reason, chose to found it’s republic with that value in mind.

    What I do know is that corporations are amoral profit-seeking enterprises. I don’t think that corporations are inherently evil. But what’s to stop this ethic from using the Hobby Lobby precedent to eliminate some forms of expensive health care, like diabetes, while hiding behind a religious fig leaf?

    The concern you raise is legitimate and while not likely in the short-run, the significant legal pivot that the Hobby Lobby case represents could come back to haunt us PWDs.

    1. Mary Dexter
      Mary Dexter July 8, 2014 at 9:51 am | | Reply

      And what happens if some religious fanatic believes the myths perpetrated by the media that Diabetes is the result of the sins Gluttony and Sloth, and if we’d just stop eating….? Not overeating, eating any food at all.

      Dr. Frederick Allen’s Starvation Diet (pre-Banting era) meant those with diabetes often died of starvation instead of going into a diabetic coma. Do we really want to return to this?

      How many times have people said something never could happen, and it has?

  8. Scott E
    Scott E July 8, 2014 at 10:03 am | | Reply

    Mike, you read the entire ruling, and I hadn’t, so perhaps you’ll be able to elaborate on this issue: I vaguely recall reading an article citing the ruling, where Justice Alito stated that this ruling is narrow; it does not, and can not, be used to restrict medical care. He did not regard birth control as maintaining health or addressing any medical condition, and I actually recall reading it being compared to “recreational drugs” (whether the article’s author or Justice Alito made that comparison, I’m not sure).

    I won’t interject my own opinions here, but to make a long story short, it was explicitly stated that if someone needed treatment for a medical condition, this ruling could not be used to deny coverage based on a religious clause.

    1. MommaKat
      MommaKat July 8, 2014 at 10:18 am | | Reply

      Scott, you are correct that there is a (very small) paragraph that specifically states that and mentions blood transfusion as an example. However, another ruling sent down the following day in another (apparently lesser case) granted a company’s right to exclude all 20 (not just the four OTC in the Hobby Lobby / Conestoga case) oral contraceptives, and also made that particular paragraph moot.

  9. Jessica
    Jessica July 8, 2014 at 10:14 am | | Reply

    I’m totally frustrated with this article. I feel like you absolutely know better. The very short list of drugs that Hobby Lobby has been allowed to not provide are NOT birth control. In America, we have freedom of religion. YOU have the freedom to go work elsewhere should you disagree with your employer. Saying that companies are not people is ridiculous. Try running one without people – you have nothing. If your company decided to start believing in faith healing, how long would you work there? You don’t have to abide by their beliefs. Find another job.

  10. MommaKat
    MommaKat July 8, 2014 at 10:16 am | | Reply

    I appreciate your post on this matter, and the potential applications of the Hobby Lobby case ruling that you raised are based on rational thought. It’s sad that so few realize the term Oral Contraceptive is one we’re stuck with, regardless of the fact that those very medications do offer life saving treatment for many women suffering from a host of autoimmune conditions such as hemorrhagic PCOS. I find it more concerning that the emotions over rights and beliefs allows people a sense of freedom to ignore facts such as the one I just mentioned.

    It amazes me that the conversation has yet to turn to the guaranteed coverage determined by a panel of health care providers with respect to the ‘bottom line’ health care that Insurance companies must offer. The Hobby Lobby Ruling just invalidated a large part of the minimum coverage, which opens the door to further restrictions on the base level of care insurance companies must offer. If you’ve noticed a more stringent cap on the number of test strips allowed per month, on the brands of test strips allowed, the number of vials of insulin or type of insulin etc, then this issue should concern you. Those new restrictions are a result of insurance companies interpretation and application of that ‘minimum guaranteed base level of coverage’. New suits challenging just that as unconstitutional filed in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling number in the hundreds, and those are the ones that have been reported on.

    Whatever your political or religious leanings, the ruling does not bode well for coverage of any chronic condition. Only time will let us know just how dire the consequences.

    P.S. Healthcare and access to basic healthcare was recognized as a basic human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified and adopted by the UN in 1948 (Truman signed). Of the countries that agreed to abide by the declaration, we are one of the only that fail to acknowledge or respect article 25, which states, “Article 25.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”

    So, yes, access to healthcare IS a right.

  11. pegleggreg
    pegleggreg July 8, 2014 at 11:39 am | | Reply

    Hard to believe but there is a small but significant number of Christians in Southern Indiana that maintain disease is punishment from God and people get what they deserve. I am often reminded that my diabetes is caused by a second piece of pie. ( I rarely eat sweets, never did.) Also evil demons are lurking just waiting for you to let them into your body. This can happen from fornication. The solution is prayers. Medicine from the doctor will just make you sicker. An employer who pays for medicine is complicit in the loss of a person’s soul

  12. Denise
    Denise July 8, 2014 at 12:39 pm | | Reply

    get the sentiment of saying that if you don’t like what your employer is offering then get another job and empoloyers should have freedom of religion. But this doesn’t wash in the US. Idk about the rest of the world but we have certain employment standards here. If you don’t like your pay then get another job? NO we have minimum wage laws. If you don’t like your working conditions get anotehr job? No, we have certain levels of safty and health requirments. Don’t like your hours get another job? No we have work hours and overtime requirements. Don’t like being descriminated against get another job? No we have anti descrimination laws. Basically, even in offered health care, you can’t have “pre existing conditions” for things like pregnancy, etc. We have laws even in insurance to protect employees from abuses.

    Should I be descriminated against for not wanting 17 kids with my husband or should my own spouse and I be expected never to be intimate? Is pregnancy a medical condition that I have a right to want to avoid? Can I offer my family healthcare to my same sex partner or our out of wedlock children or does my employer have the right not to cover “illegitimite” kids because of his religious beliefs?

    Or can we just boil it down to this: Who has the right to impose treatment options? Doctors? Patients? Health Insurance? Employers?

    1. Denise
      Denise July 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm | | Reply

      Just to be clear–there are lots of arguments and “sides” here, but if we are asking how this verdict affects the D community, I do think it comes down to who gets to decide on treatment options. Fighting with insurers over coverage for pumps, strips, cgm, etc., is a common theme in the DOC. I’d hate to have to argue with employers about this stuff too.

  13. Doug
    Doug July 8, 2014 at 12:56 pm | | Reply

    The reason that helath care costs are so high is due to single payer. The govt demands that coverage be given, and decides in a vaccum what the payment for a procedure or drug is. The Drs and hospitals that cant survive with those small payments are forced to over charge everyone else so that the average comes out in the black … So the reason for the $200 aspirin and the $75 bandaid is due to Medicare and Medicaid not paying enough to pay people and provide air-conditioning. To make up the difference the providers are forced to charge everyone with private insurance, or cash, more. As more and more are served by govt healthcare and we go further towards one payer .. then the only alternatives are to ration care… Since the dollars already dont go far enough

  14. Sam
    Sam July 8, 2014 at 7:01 pm | | Reply

    C’mon Mikey. You know better than this. You should be better informed than this. Don’t try to paint this as the old slippery slope. While a valid worry in many cases, not here. Get realistic.

    This is about the religious rights of the OWNERS of the company. Just because they own a company that they built and work hard to keep going, doesn’t mean they should have to pay for something that violates their beliefs anymore than the employees should have to pay for things that violate theirs.

    They do not say their employees CANT have those 4 types of contraceptives that actually stop a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. They just argued they should not have to pay for it, because they believe a fertilized egg is where life begins and they value that life. Everyone should respect that belief even if they don’t agree with it. The left have taken this out of context and are going nuts with it and you my friend have fallen into their trap and are furthering their cause and are taking this site where it really doesn’t need to go.

    Diabetes is NOT the same as preventing a fertilized egg from being implanted. Get real. You’re losing readers because of stuff like this.

    This is a First Amendment issue “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    I suppose you want to give the Federal Government even more control? They are doing such a good job running Obamacare, the VA, the IRS, protecting our borders, managing our budget, keeping us safe, let’s just give them total control over us.

    Nothing personal. I got carried away a little but when I log on to read about diabetes and see stuff like this I get a little frustrated. I think many could do without this type of article.

    1. Terry Keelan
      Terry Keelan July 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm | | Reply

      The owner’s religious rights aren’t infringed by requiring their corporation – not them – to provide the same health care benefits as every other corporation. The owners asked the state to recognize their business as a separate legal entity to shield them from individual and personal liability. “The business is different from us,” they said, in effect. Until now. Now they want it both ways so that corporation is separate from them if someone wants to hold them accountable, but an extension of them if they want to assert their morality on someone else. Absurd.

  15. Mary Dexter
    Mary Dexter July 8, 2014 at 7:57 pm | | Reply

    Thank you, Mike, for leading and moderating this discussion.

  16. Mike Anderson
    Mike Anderson July 9, 2014 at 8:40 am | | Reply

    Mike, I appreciate your background and knowledge on court rulings. That puts you way ahead of me. However, I will repeat one of your follow up comments:

    Hopefully, it doesn’t impact us. But no one, even the Court itself, has a grasp on the potential unintended consequences here.

    I’d prefer to focus on the real battles that directly and immediately affect Type 1 diabetes and not jump on either side of the Hobby Lobby emotional bandwagon. We need focus not spinning our wheels on Pro Choice, Pro Life debates.

  17. Gary
    Gary July 9, 2014 at 6:34 pm | | Reply

    I think this post belongs on a political blog. I think it’s a real stretch to infer that this ruling will somehow negatively affect PWDs.

    I don’t see it.

    PWDs have enough to worry about and adding to it with this type of prognostication seems a little irresponsible and overly political.

  18. Gary
    Gary July 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm | | Reply

    According to this, I would have had a tough time getting a pump in Canada.

    Single-payer may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

  19. Mark
    Mark July 9, 2014 at 11:16 pm | | Reply

    Nice article Mike. With all your experience from reading other court decisions what do you think of this? I see this ruling as “The Federal Government has just allowed an exemption for a specific religious belief (the use of some forms of birth control are unacceptable) for a specific religious sect (the Christian sect followed by HL owners)” . How is this not a violation of the 1st Amendment? Using the HL ruling, if another closely-owned company went to court with their specific religious exemption and were denied then they could easily claim the government is favoring HL owners religion over their religion.

    As many already know the HL case was a well-played cold and calculated attack on President Obama and the ACA by the Beckett Fund. It was never about only four forms of birth control.

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