Many are understandably disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the ACA. But while the overall merits of the act and its implementation continue to be discussed and analyzed, a lot of people remain concerned and confused about how, precisely, the decision relates to the HHS contraceptive mandate.

A lawyer-turned-friar, explaining “the new context for the contraceptive mandate,” points out:

Most importantly, keep in mind that the Supreme Court has  not  ruled on the legality of the HHS contraceptive mandate. There are two mandates receiving much attention in the news nowadays. While there is a relationship between the two, each is distinct from the other.

The first is the individual mandate, which will compel those without health insurance to purchase insurance via government-sponsored exchanges. The second is a separate contraceptive mandate that will require employers not otherwise exempt from the law to purchase insurance that includes contraception and sterilization coverage. The distinction is necessary to appreciate what the Court did and did not say in last week’s decision. The Court’s ruling last week only addresses directly the individual mandate, which it upheld in a 5-4 vote on the basis of the federal government’s taxing power. The Court did not pass upon the ultimate legality of the contraceptive mandate.

What is the relationship then between Obamacare and the contraceptive mandate? The authority for the Department of Health and Human Services to issue the contraceptive mandate stems from the broader Obamacare legislation. Accordingly, the challenge to the individual mandate could have had implications for the survival of the contraceptive mandate, had the Court decided differently last week. A brief explanation follows.


Read the article  here .

Articles by Sebastian White O.P.

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