Top 5 Obamacare Court Rulings
Obamacare is the law of the land, and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2012 affirmed its constitutionality. But the High Court isn't the only court where the new health care law has been (and is being) challenged.
Obamacare has been in the federal courts ever since President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. How have these cases turned out?
Here's a look back at the Top 5 court battles involving Obamacare:
1. Obamacare Held Constitutional: NFIB v. Sebelius
The U.S. Supreme Court validated Obamacare as a constitutional exercise of Congressional power in June 2012. The Court's 5-4 decision upheld most of the law, including the controversial individual mandate which requires individuals to purchase health insurance or face a penalty.
However, the Obamacare mandate for states to expand Medicaid or face the loss of all funding was struck down, leaving Obamacare's Medicaid expansion to be voluntary for all states.
2. Corporations Are People?: Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius
Nationwide craft outlet Hobby Lobby has sued (and has won) in federal court to refuse to comply with Obamacare's mandate to provide employee health coverage that includes contraceptive care.
Hobby Lobby is one of many corporations that have sued to refuse this mandate, but the 10th Circuit's ruling in June is the only federal circuit decision that has declared corporations to have First Amendment freedom of religion rights. Whether it's in a speech by Mitt Romney or Citizens United, corporations sound closer to becoming full legal people every day.
3. University Refuses Mandate: Liberty University v. Lew
Liberty University is a private religious college in Virginia that sued the federal government over the Obamacare contraception mandate, claiming that it forced the college to fund abortions.
The case has been kicked around from the U.S. Supreme Court back to the 4th Circuit, but many anticipate that this case will be up before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014.
4. Mennonites Fight Morning-After Pill: Conestoga v. Sec. of U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
Another corporation, the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, sued in federal court to prevent Obamacare's contraception mandate from forcing the company to offer the morning-after pill in the employer's health plan.
Unlike with Hobby Lobby, the Conestoga court decided that corporations did not have the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, and rejected the idea that "persons" protected by that constitutional right included corporations -- even ones owned by Mennonite families.
5. Catholic Car Company Against Mandate: Autocam v. Sebelius
This case is yet another federal suit by a corporation claiming protection from the Obamacare mandate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, one that the 6th Circuit flatly denied. Joining the courts in Conestoga and Liberty University, the Autocam decision does not accept that corporations are people for the purpose of asserting religious freedom.
The unresolved issues of First Amendment protections and the Obamacare contraception mandate will eventually be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Legal How-To: 'Signing Up' for Obamacare (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- 'Obamacare' Health Care Law Constitutional, 6th Cir. Rules (FindLaw's Decided)
- 'Obamacare' Unconstitutional? Judge Slaps Down Healthcare Law (FindLaw's Decided)
- Hobby Lobby's Newest Hobby: Affordable Care Act Appeals (FindLaw's U.S. Tenth Circuit Blog)
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