KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Administration Cites Hobby Lobby Ruling To Religious Nonprofits

The Obama administration cites the Supreme Court's opinion Wednesday to buttress its claim it has offered religious nonprofits an acceptable compromise to the health law's contraceptive coverage mandate. Meanwhile, House Democrats craft legislation that would bar for-profit companies from denying birth control coverage to their employees.

The Wall Street Journal: Administration Points To Hobby Lobby Ruling In Wheaton College Case
In the latest battle over the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration Wednesday cited the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling to buttress the claim it has offered religious nonprofits an acceptable compromise to opt out of contraceptive coverage in employee health plans. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli made the arguments in a Wednesday filing involving Wheaton College, a Christian institution in Illinois, that is seeking to avoid complying with the contraceptive-coverage alternative while litigation over its challenge continues in lower courts (Bravin, 7/2).

Kaiser Health News: Did The Supreme Court Tip Its Hand On Contraception Cases Yet To Come?
The Supreme Court’s opinion Monday holding that some for-profit firms do not have to provide women the contraceptive coverage required under the Affordable Care Act if they have religious objections addressed only half of the ongoing legal battle over the birth control mandate. But those on both sides of the issue think the court’s majority may have telegraphed which way it could rule when one of those other cases reaches the justices (Rovner, 7/2).

Associated Press: Health Care Law Still Facing Another Birth Control Challenge
Business owners who don’t want to pay for employees’ birth control are ending that coverage after the Supreme Court said they could choose on grounds of religious belief not to comply with part of the health-care law. Some owners are already in touch with their brokers in the wake of Monday’s ruling. Triune Health Group wants to know how soon it can change its coverage to stop paying for all contraceptives, said Mary Anne Yep, co-owner of the Oak Brook, Ill., company that provides medical-management services (Rosenberg, 7/2).

The Hill:  House Dems Drafting Legislation To Reverse Birth Control Decision
House Democrats are crafting legislation that would prevent privately held companies from denying birth control coverage to their employees. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said the Supreme Court made a mistake on Monday when it ruled that that some private companies can opt out of the birth control mandate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Al-Faruque, 7/2).  

Politico: Hobby Lobby Decision: 5 Takeaways
The Supreme Court waited until the very end to deliver its most hotly anticipated decision of the term: declaring in a 5-4 ruling that for-profit companies can use religious objections to avoid paying for contraception coverage required under Obamacare. The sharply divided result in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby immediately touched off a wave of analysis and speculation about how large a hole the court put in the side of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law — just two years after Chief Justice John Roberts sided with liberals to save the measure’s individual mandate from legal oblivion (Gerstein and Nather, 7/1).

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