March 24, 2016 2:23 pm -

The conservatives on the Supreme Court–all men–seem not to know how women receive health care, or how the system really works. In yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act, the challengers don’t even want to do the paperwork to allow women to get contraception, even if the challengers don’t have to provide it.

The case, Zubik v. Burwell, was not a challenge to the overall contraception mandate, but rather the accommodation provided by the Department of Health and Human Services to religious nonprofits who object to birth control on religious grounds. The challengers say even filling out the form declaring that they have an objection to covering birth control is a burden on their religious faith, because at that point the government steps in to work with their third party administrator to ensure their employees receive the coverage separate from the employers’ plan.

The challengers argue there other ways for female employees to receive the contraceptive care. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who was defending the accommodation, and some of the liberal justices countered that those alternatives ignored the original aims of the Affordable Care Act. But the conservatives on the court seemed to agree with the challengers and wondered, Why can’t all these female employees just go out and get a second insurance plan for their birth control?

“What type a burden does that impose? Is it because these exchanges are so unworkable, even with the help of a navigator, that a woman who wants to get free contraceptive coverage simply has to sign up for that on one of the exchanges?” Justice Samuel Alito asked, snarkily, about the Obamacare health insurance exchanges used by those without employer-based health care plans.

Verrilli pointed out that those sort of contraceptive-only policies don’t even exist on the exchanges, and in a hypothetical world where they did, that extra effort undercuts the reason Congress passed a mandate for preventive care in the first place.

“Her regular doctor has to say to her, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you.’ It’s not just that you don’t get the prescription paid for. It’s not just that he can’t write the prescription, he can’t counsel or educate the patient,” Verrilli said.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.