Everyone’s Missing the Point in the Hobby Lobby Lawsuit


One of the many hilarious tweets about the Hobby Lobby case. Too bad it also misses the point.

The wonderful website Wonkette dissected former Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-Penn.) defense of a case the U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear, but they only rebutted the most obvious aspect.

The decor and craft merchandiser Hobby Lobby, which employs and targets mostly women, doesn’t think it should have to provide contraceptive healthcare coverage because it is a Christian-owned company. As Wonkette explained:

We are sure that Mr. Santorum would also support an exception where for-profit companies owned by Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t have to buy insurance that covers blood transfusions, and for-profit companies owned by Christian Scientists won’t have to cover anything but a trip to a Reading Room.

Wonkette is right about the arbitrariness that would ensue if employers were allowed to apply their individual values to every dealing with employees. That, after all, is why we have most labor laws.

But Hobby Lobby’s case also shows why healthcare shouldn’t be linked to employment to begin with. What one has to do with the other has never been clear. Self-employed people, unemployed people, unemployable people (like children), in fact, ALL people need healthcare at some point but they don’t all need, or have, employers.

Those of us on the left know that our country must, and someday will, move to a single-payer healthcare system. We’re beginning to think that all the challenges to the Affordable Care Act, like Hobby Lobby’s, will eventually help us get there.

But no matter how many flaws are revealed in the ACA, one fact will not change. People, employed or not, will still need healthcare. All we have to do is resolve to provide it.

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