A good post by Jessica Pieklo at RH Reality Check:
What’s noteworthy about the decision in this case is not the outcome, but the detailed and well-reasoned dissent crafted by Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner. In examining the question of what it means for the Grotes to run a for-profit business to run according to the precepts of their faith, Rovner first points out that the business itself has “stated no religious goals as part of its mission, it does not elect its employees, vendors, or customers on the basis of their religious beliefs, and it does not require its employees to conform their behavior to any particular religious precepts.” Because, Circuit Judge Rovner reasons, there is simply nothing from the perspective of the company that demonstrates any religious beliefs, let alone sincerely-held ones that belong to the company, it is impossible to imagine the company, as distinct from its owners the Grotes, has any religious interests or rights to assert at all.
Breaking down the distinction between the owners and the company even more, Circuit Judge Rovner states what should be obvious: the owners do not provide the contraception coverage, the company does. Even in self-funded health plans like the ones offered by Grote Industries, those premium payments come out of the company’s bank account and not the owners. The Grotes are simply not at liberty to “treat the company’s bank accounts as their own” unless they are also comfortable waiving the personal liability protections afforded to them under corporate law as well. The Grotes, Circuit Judge Rovner points out, are not in any way personally compelled to engage in any activity they disapprove of, they do not have to approve or endorse contraceptive use, and can even actively discourage the use of contraception by others.
If we accept the Grotes’ argument then we must also consider whether their religious interests are burdened anytime an employee uses his or her Grotes Industries paycheck, or money from a health-care reimbursement account, to pay for contraception outright. That’s because the Grotes’ argument ignores completely that health insurance is an element of employee compensation. How an employee independently chooses to use that insurance is then arguably no different, from the law’s perspective, from the ways in which that employee decides to spend her take-home pay and that analysis does not change regardless if a health plan is self-funded or not.
Republicans believe that employers need protection from their slutty, filthy, non-Christian employees doing something the employers wouldn’t approve of with their compensation. In the real world, that’s not how it works. The 20 year old working in the stock room needs protection from her Christian bosses who are eager to use their power over her to shove their religion down her throat. The insurance she works for belongs to her, not to her bosses; and they have no right to tell her that she can only use her own insurance in ways that their religion approves of.
This is clearly going to be decided by the Supreme Court, and I suspect I won’t like the decision. But anything could happen (see the Obamacare decision).