KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Supreme Court To Hear Health Law Contraceptive Case Tuesday

At issue is whether for-profit companies, such as Hobby Lobby, are entitled to the same religious protections as individuals or religious organizations.

The Wall Street Journal: Are Firms Entitled To Religious Protections? 
Tuesday's Supreme Court hearing will be the second time the health law will be scrutinized by the justices. At issue is whether for-profit companies such as Hobby Lobby are entitled to the same religious protections as people or churches. Hobby Lobby covers most forms of contraception in its health plan, including the pill and sterilization. It objects to a requirement that it include certain emergency contraceptives and intrauterine devices, which Hobby Lobby's owners consider a form of abortion. The case is distinct in a couple of ways from legal challenges to the law brought by some Catholic schools and charities, now winding their way through lower courts (Adamy, 3/21).

The Washington Post: High Court With Vocally Devout Justices Set To Hear Religious Objections To Health-Care Law 
There’s something that makes the current Supreme Court different from some of its recent predecessors. The justices got religion. Or at least they seem more open about their faith, appearing before devout audiences and talking more about how religion shaped their lives or guides them now. As the court this week weighs religious conviction vs. legal obligation in the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act, those who study the court say the change is hard to quantify but easy to notice (Barnes, 3/23).

The Associated Press: Health Law Birth Control Coverage Before Justices
The Obama administration and its opponents are renewing the Supreme Court battle over President Barack Obama's health care law in a case that pits the religious rights of employers against the rights of women to the birth control of their choice. Two years after the entire law survived the justices' review by a single vote, the court is hearing arguments Tuesday in a religion-based challenge from family-owned companies that object to covering certain contraceptives in their health plans as part of the law's preventive care requirement (Sherman, 3/24).

NBC News: Supreme Court Takes Up Dispute Over Obamacare And Religion
The Supreme Court on Tuesday takes up the most closely watched issue of its term: Does the Obamacare law violate the religious freedom of private employers by requiring them to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives? To answer that question, the justices must first decide whether the companies challenging the law, three for-profit corporations, even have religious views in the first place. The Obama administration says they do not, arguing that freedom of religion is an individual right, not a corporate one. At issue is a provision of the healthcare law that requires companies with more than 50 employees to cover preventive care services, which include such contraceptives as morning-after pills, diaphragms, and IUDs (Williams, 3/21).

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