Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Preliminary Injunction Issued Against Latest Religious Non-Profit ACA Contraceptive Compromise

Yesterday a Florida federal district court handed down the first judicial decision on the Obama Administration's August 2014 Interim Final Rules that attempted to create a more acceptable compromise for religious non-profits subject to the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate.  In Ave Maria University v. Burwell, (MD FL, Oct. 28, 2014), the court granted a preliminary injunction against enforcing the new rules against a religiously affiliated university.  The court relied heavily on the 11th Circuit's decision in late June granting an injunction pending appeal to Eternal Word Television Network, a religious broadcasting network that was challenging the prior version of the regulations accommodating religious non-profits. (See prior posting.) Explaining this reliance, the district court yesterday said:
In Eternal Word, under the 2013 Final Rules, an eligible organization was required to submit the Form 700 to its insurance issuer in order to self-certify....  Here, pursuant to the Interim Final Rules, Ave Maria may, instead, send a notice containing certain information about its insurance issuer and plan directly to HHS in order to self-certify. It is the Court’s conclusion that this distinction is not so significant as to warrant departure from the Eleventh Circuit’s precedent in Eternal Word
The court then stayed further proceedings in the case until the 11th Circuit decides the pending appeal in Eternal Word. Naples Daily News reports on the decision.