Editors Blog


Will Religion Exempt HVAC Companies from Obama’s Health Care Plan?

August 3, 2012
Should a small business run by devout Catholics be required to offer insurance that includes birth control measures? That is the question recently posed by Hercules Industries Inc., a Denver-based family-owned HVAC manufacturing and distribution business.

Under the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, small businesses of 50 or more employees are required to offer group health insurance, or pay a hefty fine. This new health care package, through an addition commonly referred to as “the contraceptive mandate,” requires that employers offer preventative parenthood options including the day-after and week-after pills, and a list of other intrauterine devices (IUDs).

The Newlands are reverent Catholics. The religion vehemently prohibits the use of birth control and, in some cases, has labeled such acts as forms of abortion.

This places the Newland family in a precarious position. Do they pay the fine, which for a company of 265 employees could total as much as $470,000, or do they turn their backs on their religion in the name of the federal government?

The family received a bit of temporarily relief as Colorado District Judge John Kane recently granted the company a preliminary injunction, which exempts the company from enacting the insurance, or paying the fine, until the case is settled.

Judge Kane insisted the preliminary injunction was issued solely to the Newland family, which offered insurance that prohibited the use of contraceptives prior to the passage of the President’s health care plan. However, if federal court judges side with Hercules Industries, a precedent could be set that would allow all small business owners a health insurance exemption option in the name of religion. Stay tuned.

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