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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why Did A Federal Judge Throw Out a St. Louis Catholic's Challenge to "Obamacare"? FAQs

Posted By on Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 9:25 AM

St. Louis Catholic businessman Frank O'Brien does NOT like these things. - IMAGE VIA
  • Image via
  • St. Louis Catholic businessman Frank O'Brien does NOT like these things.
Got questions about a federal judge's dismissal of a local Catholic's lawsuit against "Obamacare"? Daily RFT's got answers!

Q: So, who sued who?

Frank O'Brien and his company, O'Brien Industrial Holdings (near South Kingshighway and I-44) sued our federal government last March.

Q: Why?

Because O'Brien figured out that the Affordable Care Act (known to conservatives as "Obamacare") would require him to spend money on an employee health plan that his employees could use to get contraception. About 30 other parties across the nation did the same thing, too.

Q: So what was O'Brien's problem?

O'Brien is suuuuper Catholic. As in, the firm's main lobby has a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and its mission statement includes the desire "to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord...." The Catholic Church teaches that contraception is wrong. O'Brien didn't want any of his money to pay for it, even indirectly.
There's a statue like this in the main lobby of O'Brien Industrial Holdings - IMAGE VIA
  • Image via
  • There's a statue like this in the main lobby of O'Brien Industrial Holdings

Q: But wait -- I thought President Obama gave in to pressure on this and granted religious people exemptions?

He did, but O'Brien's company doesn't qualify for the exemptions.

First, it's not a "religious employer" under the law (even though O'Brien is really Catholic), because the company is primarily a secular, for-profit business (it mines, processes and distributes refractory and ceramic materials, by the way).

Also, it has almost 90 employees. Only companies with fewer than 50 are exempt from the health care law.

Q: Well fine. Why doesn't O'Brien simply refuse to comply with the law?

Because if he provides a plan that doesn't meet the new health law requirements, he has to pay a "tax" of 100 bucks per employee, per day. If he provides no plan at all, he must pay a tax of $2000 per employee per year.

And that, O'Brien claims in his complaint, forces him into an unacceptable choice:

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