Republicans and Democrats alike trumped up the meaning of Monday's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling "closely held companies cannot be compelled to offer their employees birth control as part of the law if they object to the provisions on religious grounds".
Republicans acted as if this was a major repudiation of Obamacare. It wasn't. Rather, the Supreme Court made a reasonable ruling on religious beliefs.
Yet, step back a moment and note the hypocrisy of Hobby Lobby, one of the companies that took Obamacare to court over the mandate.
My friend Dave puts it this way:
"Hobby Lobby is obviously hypocritical as they do business in China, a country with contraception, abortion, and even forced late term abortion accomplished sometimes by brutal means -- and where infanticide, although illegal, is also widely practiced. If they are true to their beliefs, they should pull out of China. Moreover, the whole Republican attack on contraceptives -- not abortion, but contraceptives -- is completely bewildering to me."
Exactly. Religion and hypocrisy frequently go hand-in-hand, as do politics and hypocrisy.
Obama's Over the Top Response
While Republicans gleefully overplayed the significance of the ruling in one direction, Obama and the Democrats chose to outdo them with political hyperbole in the opposite direction.
"If the Supreme Court will not protect women's access to health care, then Democrats will," said Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.
The White House stated the "Ruling Jeopardizes the Health of Women".
CNBC quoted the White House as follows: "The executive branch will also consider whether the president can act on his own to mitigate the effect of the Supreme Court ruling."
And that statement played straight into Republican hands, rightfully fearful of more Obama-Mandates in lieu of real legislation.
How Obama Should Have Responded
Obama should have mentioned disappointment over the ruling.
Next, he should have made a statement that he would work with Congress to "improve" the bill instead of making threats to "act on his own".
Finally, the president could have and should have pointed out that birth control pills are available at Planned Parenthood for perhaps as little as $15 a month and that an emergency morning after pill is available for $35.
Questions of the Day
- Is there much of anything to "mitigate"?
- Is anyone's health really in "jeopardy" over the ruling?
- Was Obama unwise to require companies pay for birth control if they did not want to?
- Is this the end of Obamacare?
In order, the answers are no (very few people are likely to be affected), no (contraception is widely available for low cost to the few who are affected), yes (Obama knew this challenge was coming), and no.
The reaction from both sides is much ado about nothing, and everything to do with politics accompanied by extreme hype, as usual.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock