Court challenge to contraception coverage mandate paused as administration writes rules

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals allows suit by religious school to continue but says it will hold the government to its deadlines for revising rules for religiously affiliated employers.

McClatchy: Religious Challenge To Health Care Law Can Continue
North Carolina's Belmont Abbey College can keep on challenging the Obama administration's signature health care law under an appellate court ruling that leaves the challenge on hold. In a decision closely watched by many other religious schools and institutions, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that the legal challenge by Belmont Abbey and Illinois' Wheaton College may remain "in abeyance" while the administration revises rules for a contraception coverage mandate. Pointedly, the court also set firm deadlines for administration officials to make the revisions protecting those with religious objections. The ruling is a compromise victory for the schools and a definite defeat for the administration, which wanted the religious liberty lawsuit dismissed outright (Doyle, 12/19).

CQ HealthBeat: Appeals Court Orders Obama Administration To Submit Reports On Progress Of Birth Control Rule
A federal appeals panel Tuesday ordered the Obama administration to update the court every 60 days on progress on a rule governing how religious colleges, hospitals and other entities are to provide birth control coverage in their workers' health insurance policies. The unsigned ruling by the three-court panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that during recent arguments before the court, government lawyers said the long-awaited proposed contraception rule will be published during the first quarter of 2013 and the final rule before August. "We take the government at its word and will hold it to it," the appeals court said (Norman, 12/19).

Earlier from KHN: The 'Contraceptive Mandate' Versus Religious Freedom

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from 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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