The issues that were involved in the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision are still chruning along. The original ACA law as passed provided some explicit exemptions to religious organizations per se for the mandate to provide contraceptive coverage. The Obama administration had made an agreement to extend that accommodation to religiously affiliated non-profit corporations by allowing them to request that the government use an alternative means of providing contraceptive coverage to their employees. What the Hobby Lobby decision did was to require the government to expand that accommodation to closely held for profit corporations.
Various corporations have attempted to claim that the accommodation still imposes an undue burden on their religious scruples. They claim that the act of signing a request form makes them complicit in the provision of contraception to their employees. What they really want is for their employees to be deprived of coverage for contraception. They have encountered a setback in a ruling from the DC Court of Appeals.
Challenge To Obamacare On Contraceptives Rejected
A federal appeals court on Friday rejected a challenge to Obamacare that would have enabled non-profit religious organizations to avoid government-approved contraception programs.
In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the challenged regulations do not impose a substantial burden on religious groups.
The religious groups say the notice to insurance companies in requesting the accommodation is a trigger that will result in the government hijacking their health plans and using them as conduits for providing contraceptive coverage to their employees and students.
The appeals court said that all the religious groups must do to opt out is “express what they believe and seek what they want” via a letter or two-page form.
“That bit of paperwork is more straight-forward and minimal than many that are staples of nonprofit organizations’ compliance with law in the modern administrative state,” wrote appeals judge Cornelia Pillard, an appointee of President Barack Obama.
For advocates of women's rights to reproductive health care this is good news up to a point. It is likely that this issue will find its way back to the supreme court and I wouldn't take any bets on how they would rule on it.