Monday, April 22, 2013

Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Barring Enforcement of Contraceptive Coverage Mandate Against Small Business

A Pennsylvania federal district court last week issued a preliminary injunction baring the federal government from enforcing the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate against Seneca Hardware Lumber Co., Inc. and its Catholic owners. In Geneva College v. Sebelius, (WD PA, April 19, 2013), the court held that under RFRA the mandate imposes a substantial burden on the business owners who are being forced to choose between violating their deeply held religious beliefs and causing their closely held corporation to terminate their health insurance coverage. It also concluded that the government had not shown a compelling interest in refusing to exempt this company from the mandate:
In light of the myriad exemptions to the mandate’s requirements already granted and conceding that the requirement does not include small employers similarly situated to SHLC, the requirement is “woefully underinclusive” and therefore does not serve a compelling government interest.
(See prior related posting.)