Another bombshell could soon drop on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange market, and it might come at a highly vulnerable moment for ObamaCare.
Rosemary Collyer, U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia, is expected to soon issue her ruling in U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell, a case in which House Republicans claim the Obama administration is illegally funding the ACA’s cost-sharing subsidies without a congressional appropriation.
If, as some legal observers believe is possible or even likely, the George W. Bush-nominated Collyer decides against the administration, it would further rattle insurers who are facing multiple difficulties in the exchange business. UnitedHealth Group announced last week that it was pulling out of most exchanges because of its financial losses. Such a ruling would be a shock, even though it surely would be appealed, and the case could ultimately reach the Supreme Court.
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The Affordable Care Act has created many problems and the American people are left with rising costs, and higher taxes, mountains of red tape, and arrogant bureaucratic attacks on personal and religious liberty.
The justices heard oral arguments in the case just last week. Now they are asking the parties to address how employees would obtain contraceptive coverage through their employer’s insurance companies without any involvement from the employer, including notifying the government, their insurer, or third-party administrator of their objection.
The parties have the opportunity to spell out for the Supreme Court how such a system could work without controlling the Little Sisters’ and other employers’ insurance plans.
President Obama and the Supreme Court have effectively replaced the ACA with something we now call “ObamaCare.”
Unfortunately, ObamaCare doesn’t work much better than the ACA. ObamaCare is still causing Americans to lose their health plans, still driving premiums higher, and still causing their coverage to erode.
When I first answered God’s call to join the Little Sisters of the Poor and vow myself to Him and to the care of the elderly, I never dreamed of the happiness I would experience in serving, living with and caring for the aging poor until God calls them to Himself. I also never thought one day, I would be walking up the white marble steps of the Supreme Court to attend a legal proceeding in which the high court will decide whether the government can force my order to help offer health care services that violate my Catholic faith and that are already available through existing government exchanges.
On Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, a landmark case challenging the Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate under the Affordable Care Act.
It is common knowledge that the Catholic Church has taught the immorality of abortion and contraceptive use for millennia. Yet the regulations in question force our institutions to pay for insurance that covers abortifacients like Ella and Plan B, plus prescription contraceptives and surgical sterilizations.
The United States was founded on the concept of religious freedom. The First Amendment says clearly that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The case considers Obamacare’s rule requiring nonprofit employers to provide contraception coverage as part of insurance plans. Rev. David Zubik, the Catholic bishop for Pittsburgh, is leading the charge in the case, which consolidated the complaints of objecting Christian universities and groups like Little Sisters of the Poor.
The Supreme Court on March 23 will weigh how far the government has to go to accommodate religiously affiliated employers that object to including contraception in workers’ insurance plans. The issues has been brewing since shortly after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010.
House v. Burwell is far from resolution, but this case’s path through the federal courts and the threat it could pose to the Affordable Care Act show continued vulnerabilities of the health-care law as well as the stakes of the 2016 election.
A Commonwealth Fund report published Thursday looks at a provision in the health-care law that is at issue in the case. To soften the impact of out-of-pocket costs under Obamacare, the law requires insurers to reduce certain payments for individuals whose incomes are up to 250% of the federal poverty level if they purchase a “silver” plan through one of the insurance marketplaces. The law also says that insurers are to be repaid for the discounts.
A four-year-old fight between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration reaches the Supreme Court on Wednesday, in a bishop’s challenge to the health-care law’s contraception requirements that could alter the boundaries of religious freedom.
Eight justices will weigh how far the government has to go to accommodate religiously affiliated employers that object to including contraception in workers’ insurance plans. The outcome could affect as many as a million Catholic nonprofit employees. The case comes after the court’s 2014 Hobby Lobby ruling that for-profit businesses could assert such objections.