AN ACA CONTRACEPTION CASE
The plaintiffs in seven separate but similar cases have petitioned the Supreme Court to hear arguments about why they believe religious not-for-profits shouldn’t have to notify insurers or the government when they want to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers cover birth control for their employees.
The Supreme Court has not yet said whether it will hear any of the cases, but not all circuit courts agree on the issue, making a hearing likely.
Instead of directly providing coverage to employees, the Obama administration has said not-for-profit religious organizations may submit a form to their third-party administrators, or provide information to HHS, so the government can arrange contraception coverage. The religious not-for-profits, however, say submitting those forms or notifying HHS would make them complicit in providing birth control, a violation of their religious beliefs.
It’s not clear which of the seven cases the court might take. The most prominent of the cases so far has been Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius. But the Obama administration is urging the Supreme Court to a hear different case on the issue, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Burwell, saying it presents a fuller range of issues and health coverage arrangements that could be affected. Unlike King v. Burwell, none of the cases presents a threat to the future of the ACA overall. The cases do, however, speak to religious-freedom issues.
“It will tell us a lot about how hard the government has to work to accommodate religious beliefs, even religious beliefs that strike nonbelievers as sort of finicky,” the University of Michigan’s Bagley said.