Embattled Health Care Law Before Supreme Court Again

health care
Many are concerned about some of the provisions in the health care laws.

The continuous intense debate over different aspects of the embattled health care reform law will find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in the near future due to a disagreement involving mandatory provision of contraceptives, which some say is in conflict with “religious liberty.”

The justices came to an agreement on Tuesday to consider and examine provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring business owners with a particular number of employees to provide insurance coverage for birth control and other reproductive health care services and not require a co-pay.

Many claim that private companies should have the right to refuse to follow this provision on the basis that it goes against their religious beliefs. Oral arguments will likely begin in March with a possible decision by late June.

There have been nearly 50 lawsuits filed from various companies that challenge the birth control provision in the Affordable Health Care law (more commonly known as “Obamacare”). From its introduction, this law has met much criticism.

Last year, the Supreme Court voted to keep in place the key funding aspect of this embattled health care law. Although it was a narrow decision, it was a pivotal ruling because of the affirmation that most United States citizens would be mandated to either buy health insurance or pay a financial penalty. The constitutional battle now moves to a discussion as to whether or not employers are having their First Amendment rights violated.

So far, five courts have reviewed the rule on contraception coverage. Three of them have ruled against it while the remaining two have upheld it. This type of split makes it more probable for a Supreme Court review.

The Supreme Court has agreed to review two suits involving for-profit corporations. One of those is Hobby Lobby, Inc.,  a nationwide chain of about 500 arts and crafts stores.

The owners, David Green and family, claim their Christian principles are in direct conflict with portions of the law and its requirements for comprehensive coverage. One of the medications that would be provided, according to the Greens, prevents human embryos from being placed in a womb. To the Greens, this is on the same level as abortion.

The Green family makes it clear that they do not have a problem with the provision of other forms of birth control, including condoms or diaphragms, for their close to 13,000 employees. The Greens also say that those employees represent many faiths and not just Christians.

Kyle Duncan is a lawyer for Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and also lead counsel for Hobby Lobby. Duncan calls the Supreme Court decision to review this a significant step for the Green family and Hobby Lobby and an important move in the “fight for American’s religious liberty.”

The White House issued a statement on Tuesday that, in their mind, the contraceptive provision is “lawful and essential to women’s health” and added that they were “confident the Supreme Court will agree.”

Recently, the Supreme Court was asked to review this particular issue by a private Christian university located in Virginia. However, the court decided not to hear that appeal and did not give an explanation for the denial.

Supporters of the health care law say it does not require owners of individual companies to provide coverage that they might find objectionable. Rather, the law places that requirement on businesses that operate on the corporate level.

It is expected by many pundits that when the embattled health care law goes before the Supreme Court again, it will be a very close vote regardless of which direction it takes.

By Rick Hope



NBC News

Washington Post

2 Responses to "Embattled Health Care Law Before Supreme Court Again"

  1. llcrockett   November 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    First issue: Private companies that are for-profit should not be allowed to opt out of the Affordable Health Care Act. They are private companies. Period. If they would like to change that status and become a religious non-profit they might have an argument for opting out. If the Supreme Court allows this what happens next? Does it open the door to letting other companies opt out of laws they don’t support? Could a company owned by a different religious group opt out of paying women fair wages because they believe women should not be held in as high regard as men or male workers? Laws are laws. Religious organizations that are legal non-profit and tax exempt are the only ones that should be allowed to argue for opting out of laws. Second issue: Some of the objections to providing birth control for women is the possibility of providing abortions. What some people don’t understand is that several forms of birth control do not prevent an egg from being fertilized, it only prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus and leading to a viable pregnancy. This includes birth control pills and IUD. No one and no corporation should be able to dictate what form of birth control a woman uses. That is a decision that a woman, her husband and her health care provider should make.

  2. Mike Minder   November 27, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Why is no one talking about the rights of the employees? The owner of a business should not be allowed to dictate his beliefs to his employees.This is a free country where everyone is free to make their own decisions.


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