Sunday, June 22, 2014

Christian College Wins Preliminary Injunction Against ACA Contraceptive Coverage Mandate

In Colorado Christian University v. Sebelius, (D CO, June 20, 2014), a Colorado federal district court granted a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement against a Christian liberal arts university of the Affordable Care Act contraception  coverage mandate compromise as it applies to coverage for drugs, devices, or procedures that may destroy a human embryo or fertilized egg.  The court concluded that completion of the exemption form that results in coverage directly by the health plan's third-party administrator imposes a substantial burden on the school's religious exercise.  The court said in part:
Any myopic focus on the brevity of the Exemption Form and its ease of completion misses the mark. It is the de facto forced facilitation of the objectionable coverage that is religiously repugnant. The resultant moral abhorrence is not effectively extenuated by a transfer of responsibility via the Exemption Form from CCU to the TPA or another entity. Such legal legerdemain does not expiate the morally unacceptable means or end. Such a compelled concession by an ostensibly innocuous legal prophylactic does not ameliorate the ignominy of the moral obliquity created by the participation in the process.
Further, it is of no moment that ultimately the decision by an employee to elect the objectionable coverage is optional. It is the offer that is morally offensive regardless of the extent of its acceptance.
Becket Fund issued a press release announcing the decision.