Hobby Lobby Finds Way to Delay Contraception Fine of $1.3 Million Per Day
Update (April 2): Late last week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an en banc hearing to Christian-owned retail-craft chain Hobby Lobby in its case against the Affordable Care Act's employer contraceptive mandate. The "unusual" ruling means that Hobby Lobby will argue its case before the full, nine-judge court, rather than before a three-judge panel.
After a flurry of headlines noted how Hobby Lobby was willing to face fines of potentially $1.3 million per day for refusing to heed the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, the evangelical-owned craft chain has "discovered a way" to postpone when it will begin facing such massive penalties.
"Following Justice Sonia Sotomayor's decision on December 26th denying Hobby Lobby temporary relief from the HHS mandate to provide abortion-causing drugs as part of its healthcare plan, the company faced exposure to penalties beginning January 1. Subsequently, Hobby Lobby discovered a way to shift the plan year for its employee health insurance, thus postponing the effective date of the mandate for several months. Hobby Lobby does not provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs in its healthcare plan. Hobby Lobby will continue to vigorously defend its religious liberty and oppose the mandate and any penalties." — Peter M. Dobelbower, General Counsel – Vice President, Legal, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
CT recently rounded up the wave of contradictory court rulings released as fines over the contraceptive mandate were scheduled to begin. (Of note: For-profits seeking injunctions against HHS have 10-3 winning record.) Hobby Lobby, among the many surprising Christian organizations suing the government, recently lost its bid for an injunction before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as its subsequent request for a temporary restraining order before the United States Supreme Court.