KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Other Challenges To Contraceptive Mandate Still Awaiting Review

Those cases generally involve nonprofit and religious organizations. Meanwhile, some employers who say their religious beliefs prevented them from complying with the contraceptive mandate say they plan to halt coverage of some methods following the Supreme Court decision, reports The Wall Street Journal, Meanwhile, attention moves to the administration as it attempts to draft new rules.

The New York Times: More Cases On Religion Await, With Eye On Opinion By Alito
Battles over health care and religious rights are sure to continue, even after the Supreme Court ruled Monday that family-owned for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby are not required to provide insurance coverage of contraceptives to their employees if the companies object on religious grounds. About 50 cases involving nonprofit organizations and a similar number involving for-profit companies are pending in federal courts around the country, and many of those plaintiffs intend to push forward with the argument that they should be able to opt out of providing or authorizing coverage that conflicts with their religious beliefs (Pear, 6/30). 

The Wall Street Journal: Obama, Congress Likely Face Tough Decision On Contraceptive Coverage
The Obama administration could face another thorny decision on contraception-coverage rules in the wake of Monday's Supreme Court ruling in favor of religious owners of for-profit companies. ... Dozens of universities and charities are challenging the accommodation in a wave of separate lawsuits. ... Now all eyes will be on the administration to see what rules it crafts to exempt employers with objections and allow workers affected by the ruling to obtain contraception by another means (Radnofsky, 6/30).

The Wall Street Journal: Some Companies To Halt Contraception Coverage After High-Court Ruling
Some employers that had argued their religious beliefs prevented them from complying with federal health-law regulations said they are planning to stop covering certain contraceptives following Monday's Supreme Court decision (Feintzeig, 6/30). 

The Washington Post: Contraception Ruling Is A Symbolic Blow To The Health-Care Law
Two years ago, the court, while upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, also gutted the law’s mandatory Medicaid expansion, severely limiting the law’s reach. By contrast, the effect of Monday’s decision is peripheral. The contraception provision was not part of the main law but was laid out in regulatory language issued by the Obama administration. Millions of women who receive birth control at no cost through their company health plans are likely to keep it (Somashekhar, 6/30). 

Politico: Practical And Legal Hurdles Remain In Contraception Fight
The Obama administration and Senate Democrats promised to fight the Supreme Court rebuke of Obamacare's contraception coverage requirement on Monday, even as a second round of legal fights over birth control head to the court. ... The court devoted several pages of its opinion Monday explaining that the government could choose to provide birth control to women directly, without involving employers (Haberkorn, 6/30). 

Kaiser Health News: Hobby Lobby Decision May Not Be The Last Word On Birth Control Coverage
The Supreme Court’s decision Monday saying that "closely held corporations" do not have to abide by the contraceptive coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act may not give those firms the ability to stop providing that coverage after all. More than half the states have "contraceptive equity" laws on the books that require most employers whose health insurance covers prescription drugs to also cover FDA-approved contraceptives as part of that package. Unlike the ACA, those laws do not require that coverage to be available without deductibles or co-pays (Rovner, 6/30). 

The Fiscal Times: After SCOTUS: The Hunt for Cheap Birth Control
The Supreme Court ruled that some corporations have the right to be exempted from paying for specific types of contraceptives for their employees, reigniting the hunt for cheap birth control methods. Obamacare required that employers provide four birth control methods that some consider forms of abortion as part of their health insurance plans; the Supreme Court found that specific provision violates the religious liberties of some businesses. The four birth control methods are two morning-after pills (Plan B One-Step, which is available over the counter, and Ella, for which you need a prescription) and two intrauterine devices (Paragard and Mirena) (Cole, 6/30).

The Star Tribune: Health Ruling Sets Stage For Minnesota
Businessman Greg Hall felt torn between his Catholic teachings and a piece of the federal health law that required him to pay the full cost of his employees’ birth control. On Monday, he was part of a cadre of Minnesota business owners cheering the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow certain firms to skirt the rule by citing religious objections. "I’m grateful and gratified," said Hall, whose company in St. Joseph, Minn., manufactures drilling pumps and parts. "It seemed the only option was to violate my moral beliefs by offering the services or by stripping our employees of medical insurance" (Crosby, 6/30).

Denver Post:  Colorado Companies Affected By High Court's Hobby Lobby Decision 
Three Colorado companies are among the for-profit plaintiffs suing over the federal contraception mandate limited by the Supreme Court ruling on religious freedom Monday. "The decision should mean they will all prevail in their cases," said Greg Baylor with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the three Colorado plaintiffs. "Whether the government will concede all its cases are lost, or whether it will argue other cases have distinguishing features, I don't know. But we don't think (it) can win." The 5-4 ruling by the court is the first to recognize the religious rights of corporations — at least those closely owned by religious families (Draper, 6/30). 

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.