The Supreme Court granted cert in two of the specious legal challenges to the ACA’s contraceptive mandate, and I’m not particularly optimistic.
One point I want to emphasize is that contraceptive coverage is earned, not “free”:
One argument that has been made again and again by supporters of the legal challenges is that the religious consciences of employers are being burdened so that employees can get “free” contraception. But this is an erroneous argument that misapprehends the basic concept of employer-provided health insurance. Contraception provided by health insurance isn’t “free,” it’s earned. Companies get substantial taxpayer subsidies for partly paying employees in health insurance instead of cash. In exchange, this insurance has to be comprehensive enough to provide value to the employee. Women getting basic health-care needs covered by insurance they’re receiving as compensation are not receiving any kind of free ride.
This point underscores just how weak the legal challenge to the mandate is. The employers in question are claiming that there’s a major religious freedom issue at stake depending on whether employees obtain contraception through direct wages or through the insurance employers get tax benefits for paying employees with instead. But there isn’t. The “burden” imposed by the mandate is utterly trivial, and the argument that it violates RFRA should be rejected by the Supreme Court.