ObamaCare Returns to Court


When the Supreme Court ruled on a state-led challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare, over the summer, it settled many of the most prominent legal disputes about the law, at least as far as the court system is concerned. The law's individual insurance mandate was ruled constitutional, and several state requirements related to the law's Medicaid expansion were thrown out.

But the ruling didn't cover all of the provisions in the law that had been challenged in lower courts. Liberty University, a Christian college based in Lynchburg, Virginia, had launched challenges to both the law's employer mandate, which requires larger employers to provide health benefits to employees or pay fine, and its mandate for contraceptive coverage. The challenges didn't go anywhere, though, because the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it could not decide merits of the Liberty's case until the law was fully in effect. (Many of ObamaCare's major provisions, including its employer and individual mandates, don't kick in until 2014.)

This morning, however, the Supreme Court granted Liberty University's request to vacate the Fourth Circuit's original judgment and reopen the case. The school argued that the employer mandate and contraception issues weren't settled and hadn't been given a full hearing. And the High Court agreed. Via Politico, here's the gist of Liberty's argument:

Liberty University argues that the law's employer coverage provisions — which will require businesses with more than 50 full-time workers to provide health insurance for their workers or face fines — are unconstitutional because Congress overstepped its power by setting those rules.

It also says the individual and employer mandates violate the Constitution's right to a free exercise of religion. The employer mandate is unconstitutional because of the contraception coverage requirement, Liberty argues, claiming that the individual mandate would require individuals to pay for coverage of abortions.

It's possible that we could see arguments on the case as early as next spring, which means that it's at least conceivable that ObamaCare could be headed back to the Supreme Court by the end of 2013. 

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  1. Good ol' Liberty University.

  2. 2 issues:

    No alt-text.

    It's a tax!

  3. Is there any way Roberts would come down differently this time? I thought he made it very clear the last time that he rejected the Court's authority to check the Legislative Branch.

    1. Jesus, just kill this thing already.

      1. Are you talking about instant replay review in the NFL? Because I'm ready.

          1. Show us where the red flag touched you.

          2. It hurts us all, every day.

            what about 'INCONTROVERTIBLE EVIDENCE' is so hard of a standard to follow? If there is any doubt about the play, any at all, it goes to what was called on the field.

            I am sick of seeing toss-up calls that were called "A" get reversed and called "B". YOU'RE BREAKING YOUR OWN RULES FUCKSTICKS.

            1. That's a problem with the implementation, not the concept.

              1. I say have Obama decide. Every play.

                1. Keeping him too busy to drone people? nice.

    2. First Amendment. Freedom of Religion.

      1. Justice Roberts,

        You do know the Articles, as they currently stand, bear just as much weight as the succeeding Amendments?...You do know this, Roberts?

        1. By the way, I saw Lincoln this weekend.

          Amazing that a liberal like Spielberg would craft such love letter to wartime executive overreach. At least there was the requisite explanation about the need for the Thirteenth Amendment in order to legitimatize the Emancipation Proclamation, but little else was spoken about the strictures placed on speech and Habeas Corpus. And when it was, complaints were voiced by racist Confederate sympathizers.

          1. Amazing that a liberal like Spielberg would craft such love letter to wartime executive overreach.

            I think you meant to write "de rigeuer that a liberal..."

          2. "Amazing that a liberal like Spielberg would craft such love letter to wartime executive overreach."

            You mean liberals do not wax nostalgic about Wilson's and FDR's war socialism?

    3. That wasn't a bill of rights issue, it was an enumerated powers issue. Very different species of bird.

  4. Can we call Obamacare socialized medicine yet?

    *ducks incoming vegetables.

    1. Obamacare isn't socialized medicine. It's the weapon that will kill the meager remains of the free market in healthcare and bring forth socialized medicine.

      Obamacare is a tumor that will become an egg.

      1. I just love this scam where the government intervenes more and more, with increased problems and out-of-control pricing increases correlating directly with such intervention, then the government says that yet more intervention is necessary to correct the problems that the government has created or augmented.

        As scams go, it's a doozie.

      2. Pretty much this.

        No, it is not in any meaningful way Socialized Medicine, if it were then it would mean we already had a Socialized Medical system since government paid for 70% of all health care spending.

        That said there is no way that Obamacare can ever work, it basically took every single bad idea embedded in our mixed health care system and doubled down on it and the end result will predictibly be a disaster. So thorough of a disaster that a fully socialized system will not just appear better than life under Obamacare it actually will BE better and in the end we will clammor for Socialized Medicine to be imposed and when things get marginally better it will be hailed as proof of the superiority of Socialism over the Free Market.

      3. What's annoying about this part of it is that (and I know this goes without saying in general round these parts) this provision is going in exactly the opposite direction by binding insurance and employment together even more tightly.

  5. Well, sir, there's nothing on earth
    Like a genuine, bona fide
    Nationalized Obamacare bill
    What'd I say?

    What's it called?

    That's right! Obamacare


    I hear those things are awfully complex
    It reads as easy as a codex

    Is there a chance the tax could bend?

    Not on your life, my lawyer friend

    What about us brain-dead slobs?

    You'll be given cushy jobs

    Were you sent here by the Devil?

    No, good sir, I'm on the level

    My lymph nodes now are all infected
    Thank goodness he was re-elected

    I swear it's America's only choice

    Throw up your hands and raise your voice


    What's it called?


    Once again


    But our Constitution's all cracked and broken

    Sorry, Mom, the Court has spoken





    Obama, d'oh!

  6. which requires larger employers to provide health benefits to employees or pay fine

    In Soviet America, fine pays YOU.

    1. It's not a fine, it's a tax. --Roberts 2013.

  7. As I read this the Halo 3 theme music started playing in my head. It was awesome.

  8. Thanks to Obamacare, I got a refund check out of the clear blue from my insurance company of little over $300. The letter said because of Obamacare, if a certain percentage of my premiums do not go towards my care, they have to refund! Bravo! Additionally, in 2013 I will be able to get a healthcare plan with NO pre exisiting clause! Double bravo!


  9. 25 states not setting up their own exchanges is going to make implementing Obamacare impossible.

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