ACA now faces contraception test

November 14, 2012 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, United States, News

ACA now faces contraception test

President Barack Obama’s health reform law has cleared its biggest obstacle to date – Obama’s reelection – but a wave of lawsuits means a new hurdle is quickly taking shape.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed challenging the law’s requirement that employers cover contraceptives in their health insurance policies, arguing that it’s a violation of their right to exercise their religion without government interference. In recent days, two developments have emerged that show the challenge could get significant attention from the courts.

Two District Court judges have granted preliminary injunctions to block the mandate from going into effect for private, nonreligious companies. (One judge has denied a preliminary injunction request.) And just last week, the Justice Department said it wouldn’t object to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals taking up a case against the requirement – along with other pieces of the law.

This legal challenge poses little threat to the law’s infrastructure, unlike the challenge to the individual mandate, which would have ripped out a significant piece of the law. And it’s too early to judge the ultimate success of this test. But if the Supreme Court case against the individual mandate demonstrated anything, it’s that even an ultimately unsuccessful legal challenge can pose quite a distraction.

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