Hobby Lobby, Religious Freedom, Obamacare and a $100 a Day Penalty
The United States Supreme Court earlier today handed down its decision in Hobby Lobby and two companion cases, each of which involved a question of religious freedom for closely held corporations and the Obamacare mandate that group health plans offer 20 different kinds of birth control. Here the Court specifically held that, very briefly, religious freedom trumped the Obamacare mandate on birth control for these closely held corporations. But, equally important in many respects, Hobby Lobby puts a laser beam on the heretofore little-publicized penalty for failing to comply with any of the Obamacare mandates. The penalty is $100 a day per "affected individual" penalty, which would have come to $475 million a year for Hobby Lobby for failing to offer four of the 20 mandated kinds of birth control. The $475 million is a staggering figure, particularly in relation to the $2,000 a year per employee Obamacare penalty for a large employer for failing to provide any coverage under a group health plan. For Hobby Lobby the penalty for failing to provide any coverage would only have been $26 million. Note that the government's lawyers apparently agreed with these penalty figures. Here is a link to the Hobby Lobby decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf Please contact Jan Marsh (678.336.7135) if you would like to discuss Hobby Lobby and the $100 a day penalty.
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