KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Justice Sotomayor Blocks Obamacare Contraceptive Rule

News outlets covered the 11th-hour decision.

CNN: Supreme Court Delays Contraception Mandate For Two Catholic Nonprofits
The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily exempted two Catholic Church-affiliated nonprofits from requirements to provide contraceptive coverage to its employees under the Affordable Care Act. Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a brief order late Tuesday, hours before the controversial Obama administration mandates were set to go into effect (Mears, 1/1).

Politico: Sonia Sotomayor Halts Contraceptive Rule For Denver Center
The requirement was due to go into effect on Jan. 1 for the non-profit company and other religious-affiliated institutions across the country. Several lower courts on Monday granted similar emergency petitions, but a request from the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged in Denver was denied, prompting its lawyers to go to the Supreme Court. In her order, Sotomayor blocked the government from enforcing the requirement on the Denver home until further notice from the Supreme Court. The government has until Friday at 10 a.m. to respond (Haberkorn, 1/1).

The Associated Press: Justice Sotomayor Blocks Section Of Obamacare From Taking Effect Wednesday
The Obama administration crafted a compromise, or accommodation, that attempted to create a buffer for religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and social service groups that oppose birth control. The law requires insurers or the health plan’s outside administrator to pay for birth control coverage and creates a way to reimburse them. But for that to work, the nuns would have to sign a form authorizing their insurance company to provide contraceptive coverage, ... Sotomayor's decision to delay the contraceptive portion of the law was joined by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which also issued an emergency stay for Catholic-affiliated groups challenging the contraceptive provision (Holland, 1/1).

The New York Times: Justice Blocks Contraception Mandate on Insurance in Suit by Nuns
The contraception requirement has been one of the most controversial aspects of the health law since the Obama administration first announced it in mid-2011, along with other requirements it characterized as preventive care. ... last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a pair of cases on whether corporations may refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraception (Kenny and Pear, 1/1).

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