KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

With Administration’s Support, Supreme Court Orders Review Of ‘Obamacare’ Challenge

The Wall Street Journal: Court Told To Consider Issues Unresolved by Health-Care Ruling 
The Supreme Court Monday told a lower court to consider several issues left unresolved by the justices’ June ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, in a move backed by the Obama administration. The order came in a case brought by Liberty University, an evangelical college founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, which was one of dozens of plaintiffs to file separate suits alleging that aspects of President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul are unconstitutional (Bravin, 11/26). 

The Associated Press: Court Orders New Look At Health Care Challenge
The court on Monday ordered the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., to consider the claim by Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., that Obama's health care law violates the school's religious freedoms. ... Liberty is challenging both the requirement that most individuals obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, and a separate provision requiring many employers to offer health insurance to their workers. ... Liberty's case joins dozens of other pending lawsuits over health reform (Sherman, 11/26).

The Washington Post: SCOTUS Opens Door To A New Obamacare Challenge
The Liberty University case also is unique in that it was the only one where the appeals court decided it couldn’t even make a ruling, given that the provisions it was supposed to rule on hadn’t come into effect. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Anti-Injunction Act precluded any rulings about the mandate’s constitutionality before the mandate actually took effect and individuals began paying penalties. The Supreme Court sided against that viewpoint. In its decision, the justices said that it was within the court’s power to rule on the health law now (Kliff, 11/26).

Politico: SCOTUS Orders Appeals Court To Hear Liberty University Health Care Lawsuit
The Fourth Circuit, which traditionally moves quickly, could hear oral arguments in the case next spring. The school's lawyers have told POLITICO that they hope to eventually bring the suit back before the Supreme Court. ... The Justice Department hasn’t responded to the Supreme Court order yet, but it told the court last month that it wouldn’t object to the 4th Circuit taking up the case. In that brief, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote that Liberty University’s arguments “lack merit” but that the Obama administration wouldn’t oppose a hearing because the issues weren’t fully aired the first time around (Haberkorn, 11/26).

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