High Court to hear religious freedom challenge to contraceptive mandate

Published on March 21, 2014 at 12:19 AM · No Comments

The health law returns to the Supreme Court next week when justices consider a challenge by two companies seeking relief from the contraceptive coverage requirement.

USA Today: Religious Challenge To Health Care Law Hits High Court
President Obama's health care law gets a return engagement at the Supreme Court next week in a case full of hot-button issues: religious freedom, corporate rights, federal regulation, abortion and contraception. Put another way, it's a case about God, money, power, sex -; and Obamacare (Wolf, 3/19).

Bloomberg: God Meets Profit In Obama Contraceptive Rule Court Case
Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.'s 600 U.S. craft shops close each Sunday, posting a notice that employees are spending the day with their families and at worship. It's a visible sign that the company is as focused on honoring God as it is on making money. That dual mission is at the core of an ideological showdown over President Barack Obama's health-care law, set for argument before the U.S. Supreme Court next week. Hobby Lobby, a family-owned business that says it looks to the Bible for guidance, is seeking a religious exemption from the requirement that employers cover birth control as part of worker-insurance plans (Stohr, 3/20).

Kaiser Health News: Justices To Weigh Contraceptive Mandate Against Religious Freedom Claims
The Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court partially upheld in 2012 when it issued one of the most important decisions in decades, has spawned more litigation -- topped by two consolidated cases that could become the justices' biggest ruling on religious liberty in years (Taylor Jr., 3/20).

A new poll explores public opinion on the question -

NBC News: Poll: Majority Opposes Employers Opting Out Of Contraception Mandate
Ahead of next week's oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, a majority of Americans oppose allowing employers to opt out from the health-care law's contraception requirement, according to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Fifty-three percent say employers should not be exempt from the requirement that their health plans offer birth control and other contraceptives even if they have religious objections, while 41 percent say they should be exempt. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case -- Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores -- to decide if for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby can refuse to offer mandated contraception coverage to its employees due to the owner's religious beliefs (Murray, 3/19).

Meanwhile,  Republicans say the administration overstepped its authority on another health law provision -

The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Challenge Administration's Authority
Republicans are pointing to statements by a top Treasury Department official as evidence that the Obama administration overstepped its authority in delaying the health-care law's requirement that employers offer coverage or pay a penalty. Mark Mazur, assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, said in a January interview with staff from the GOP-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that he wasn't aware of any examination of the legal basis for the administration's authority to delay the employer mandate (Radnofsky, 3/19).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

 

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