I swear this president should’ve been a reporter.
Least that’s the impression I get from the way he treats deadlines. And as frustrating as the administration’s latest flaunting of its own rules might be, it’s far from the only development this week.
(And while we’re at it, I can’t help but think bad tech support, less-than-stellar enrollment figures and midterm elections aren’t collectively at play here. Call me a cynic, but this is less about customer service and more about the administration trying to pad its own numbers…)
The courts are where most of the action’s been this week – and quite frankly, it’s where the bigger stories are as the clock runs out (for most) on this year’s enrollment season.
The Supreme Court finally heard oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby case, which of course, is the story that’s making the most headlines. The question of corporations being people has more or less been settled, but this case takes that question further by asking if those “people” also have religious freedom. And, if so, does that freedom supersede the self-same freedoms of its employees, or even shareholders. And speaking of which, who defines said corporation’s religious identity?
If, for example, Apple decided it was going to be a so-called religious person, would that be Tim Cook’s call? Jonathan Ive’s? Or would there need to be a shareholder vote whereby the majority decides that corporation’s denomination?
And, as Justice Elena Kagan pointed out during oral arguments, “So another employer comes in and that employer says, I have a religious objection to sex discrimination laws; and then another employer comes in, I have a religious objection to minimum wage laws; and then another, family leave; and then another, child labor laws. And all of that is subject to the exact same test which you say is this unbelievably high test, the compelling interest standard with the least restrictive alternative.”
As someone much smarter than I pointed out, Kagan’s referencing her colleague Scalia here when he ruled against a couple of Native American workers who took peyote, found themselves fired, then claimed religious expression back in 1990. The case was Employment Division v. Smith. You should check it out.
A couple of cases hit this week, too, but I’ll hit those tomorrow since I’ve run out of time.
But, getting back to enrollment, deadlines and penalties, despite having spent nearly $60 million in marketing over the last three months, a fresh Kaiser survey finds than more than half of those still uninsured have no idea time runs out for them next. At this point, would it make more sense to just have a yearlong, rolling open enrollment? It would certainly make the administration looks less squeamish about the whole thing, and might actually save a few bucks.
Especially since the next thing we’ll probably hear about is a first-year grace period or amnesty on the penalties. There’s no way the IRS is ready for next year’s tax season…