Skeptics Supper Central - The Hobby Lobby Decision

The third Wednesday meetup is a Central meetup at Square 1 Burgers in Sarasota on Tamiami Trail.

This month we'll take on a contentious subject that involves a lot of political and social implications: The Hobby Lobby decision.

Recently, the US Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 verdict that 'closely-held' corporations had the right to opt out of federal requirements within a narrowly-defined scope. In this case, it dealt with the right of Hobby Lobby to refuse contraception coverage as part of its offered health care for employees. 

The dissenting opinion was strongly concerned with slippery slope consequences. If conservative Christian corporations can refuse to cover contraception options, can other companies refuse blood transfusions, antidepressants, or vaccines?

Let's discuss the social implications for this verdict and whether the government has the obligation to enforce certain mandated coverages, whether employment and health care should be so closely tied together, and whether future cases like the Hobby Lobby decision will undermine the rights of employees.

This is going to be a strongly-political subject (something we usually stay away from in the group as a focus), so please come with an open mind and respect for differing opinions. Bring arguments backed up by sources if you can, and be willing to look again at your own biases and assumptions in regards to government mandates, corporate rights and responsibilities, and the eternal struggle between capital, labor, and oversight.

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  • John B.

    It seems to me that the taxes on US companies should not be raised if the result is to make them non-competitive with foreign suppliers. In some industries ( e.g. , housing, medical care, construction, personal service of all kinds, domestic transportation, etc.) there can be no effective foreign competition. But for industries that are head-to-head with foreign competitors (autos, appliances, parts, fruits and vegetable, wine, many manufactured goods, etc.) a minimum wage can be fatal.

    July 19

  • A former member
    A former member

    Look at http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Consolidation-is-reshaping-pharmaceutical-industry-5623890.php
    You can learn more about what is happening with multinational corporations leaving the USA. This is an old economic tale. Companies (and individuals) will move to lower tax environments, e.g., retirees to FL, Abbvie (with 25,000 employees) to Ireland. You may not like companies doing this, but unless the USA is willing to invade Ireland, this exodus will continue.

    The jobs in the USA may still exist and the company will not be run by Irish executives. These are truly multination companies with executives from many different cultures around the work

    BTW, "at 35 percent, the United States has the highest corporate income tax rate in the industrialized world, and it also taxes income that is earned in another country and then brought home."

    1 · July 18

    • John B.

      I am not sure of the context of your remarks about multinational US companies but I agree with them. Multinationalism is real and probably will not reverse soon; we need to adjust to it.

      July 18

    • A former member
      A former member

      John, I was just providing data. A number of people at the meeting expressed the desire to stop companies from doing a variety of things (beyond the Hobby Lobby issue). I pointed out that many people need companies for jobs and that the US is in competition with the rest of the world for these jobs.

      July 19

  • John B.

    This is not Hobby Lobby type info but may be of interest:

    www.thegreatcourses.com

    has a sale on. These are real college level courses that can be taken at leisure and at a very reasonable price. They have a huge science catalog. My experience has been very positive. They can be shared.

    July 18

  • Penny Taddio S.

    As a new member, it was not what I was hoping to engage in from the Skeptics group, but I understand the things deviated from the norm because of the nature of the topic. I am looking forward to the next one!

    1 · July 18

    • Gale

      Welcome! Takes a few times to get a feel of our group. Do have a wide range of subjects. :))

      July 18

  • Gale

    Lots of discussion, learned some history details, several important points brought up including one about a woman's perspective - which I totally could see! Food always good -as was the service!

    July 17

  • John B.

    Discussion was stimulating but we are in danger of all agreeing.

    1 · July 16

  • Dave N.

    Thanks for attending, everyone. Hopefully, we've got that out of our system :) Next month at Supper Central: GMOs

    1 · July 16

  • A. Colin F.

    5 or 6? When I go to save it to my Google calender, it says 5 PM, maybe my addressis wrong

    July 14

    • Dave N.

      6pm ET, where does Google think you are?

      1 · July 14

    • A. Colin F.

      it did have a little message to update time zone, just saw now

      July 16

  • A former member
    A former member

    BTW, if anyone wants to read the case, majority and minority decisions, see http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf

    These people are very wordy as it is almost 100 pages. After reading it, I had a very different opinion than when I started. I now wonder how much is the news media shouting murder, rape, fire in order to sell "papers" or "clicks."

    The first round of beers is on me.

    2 · July 16

  • John B.

    I am in favor of limiting tonight's discussion to the Hobby Lobby situation and its implications. I think that was what Dave was suggesting, but that remains to be seen.

    After all it may be more fun to let things go au naturale and see what happens. (We have Sarasota Memorial Hospital right across the street if needed.)

    1 · July 16

  • Larry

    Who is kind enough to offer a ride?

    July 16

  • A former member
    A former member

    Oh, and the last statement in my first post: " If you are obese and want a miracle cure, you are already in the USA." was an attempt at both humor and sarcasm.

    1 · July 16

  • A former member
    A former member

    My statements are based upon factual data at the level of individual medical treatments, which is the level of interest to patients.

    From a 2003 survey of hospital administrators: 50% of Canadian administrators versus 0% of their American counterparts said that it would take over 6 months for a 65-year-old to undergo a routine hip replacement surgery.
    [My assumption: shorter patient access is better]

    WHO data: survival rates for premature birth:
    birth week USA AUS
    22 Weeks 21% NA
    23 Weeks 37% 29%
    24 Weeks 60% 47%
    25 Weeks 77% 65%
    [My assumption: improved survival is better]

    When one looks at individual procedures, it is often the case that patients get what they pay for. For a pretty good discussion of USA and Canadian systems, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_the_health_care_systems_in_Canada_and_the_United_States

    1 · July 16

  • John B.

    I am in favor of controversial discussions, but one at a time. I have not made any statements re general US health care but have plenty to make when the time comes.

    1 · July 15

  • John B.

    Not my rules, these are general parliamentary rules. The chairman can determine if any discussion is relevant to the topic. :) :) :)

    July 15

  • John B.

    David has laid out the bounds of the discussion as the Hobby Lobby verdict and its implications. That should preclude general discussion of health care in the US.

    July 15

  • A. Colin F.

    dang out voted by guest, going to trivia instead!

    July 15

  • A former member
    A former member

    I try to avoid political discussions that do not lend themselves to rational argument, i.e., either factually based or capable of experimental test. A discussion about the Hobby Lobby decision might be fun over a few beers if it starts with the decision and then asks the implications/ramifications. Discussions that start with generalities about the duty of the government or US spending on health care relative to other countries might be entertaining but likely to generate heat not light, IMHO. The first of these is a belief and the second has so many caveats and nuances that it is not useful. Here are a few. If you need and can afford a hip replacement, you want to be in the USA or use the private care doctors in countries like CA & GB. If your baby is born before 28 weeks, you would really like to be in the USA for him/her to have a good chance at survival. If before 24 weeks, you damn well better be in the USA. If you are obese and want a miracle cure, you are already in the USA.

    July 15

  • Jeff S.

    As much as I would like to attend, I'm afraid I cannot. However, on this particular subject, I would to point out that health insurance is in no way connected to employment (non-working people deserve insurance, too) and should not be subject to the peculiar, religious, archaic views of one's boss. Providing free or low-cost health coverage for all should be the duty of the government.

    July 15

  • A. Colin F.

    no lobby for my hobby!

    1 · July 14

  • Larry

    Could I please get a ride from someone? I live a mile north.

    July 14

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

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