Revived Case Against National Healthcare
On Monday November 26th the Supreme Court ordered a lower court in Virginia to hear a case brought by Liberty University against national healthcare reform. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals will examine the constitutionality of the coverage of contraceptives and the employer mandate. The provision to cover contraceptives with no copay went into effect for plans renewing on or after August 1, 2012. The employer mandate requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide health care coverage starting in 2014.
The University is arguing that the healthcare reform law is unconstitutional because it violates citizens’ rights to religious freedom under the First Amendment. The basis for the argument is that the legislation requires individual taxpayers and employers to subsidize abortions and contraception. There are dozens of other cases against the law, primarily regarding the coverage of abortions and contraception, which are currently making their way through the federal court systems.
The argument on the employer mandate may be an even tougher issue. With a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate requiring all citizens to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty was constitutional. Some experts believe that the precedent created by this ruling in June makes it unlikely that the employer mandate will be stricken from the law.
The employer mandate is a critical part of the health reform legislation. If the 4th Circuit Court rules against Liberty University, the school will be able to appeal to the Supreme Court. However, there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court would hear the case. The dean of law at Liberty University is optimistic and believes that the order requiring the lower court to hear their argument “breathes new life into the challenge of Obamacare.”
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals could hear the case brought by Liberty University as early as this spring.