At the National Law Journal (sub. req.), Marcia Coyle discusses the lawsuits still proceeding against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which she describes as falling into four categories:
- Contraceptive Services -- Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius challenge the federal regulations that require most group health plans to cover contraceptive services, claiming the regulations violate free speech, free exercise and establishment clauses, as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. The plaintiffs have a "safe harbor" until January 2014 while DHS works out a possible compromise, and the cases have been dismissed at the trial court level for lack of ripeness and standing, but the plaintiffs argue that the rule is final and impacts their planning and budgeting now. The cases will be argued in the D.C. circuit on December 14.
- Suffering Harm -- In October, the Thomas More Law Center in Legatus v. Sebelius won a preliminary injunction in the eastern district of Michigan against enforcement of the contraceptive mandate on behalf of a business owner who claims that his religious beliefs prohibit him from complying with the mandate. On November 19, an Oklahoma federal district judge denied another business owner's request for an injunction, in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius.
- A Taxing Issue -- Oklahoma is one of several states that has resisted creating a state health insurance exchange. State of Oklahoma v. Sebelius says that a recent Internal Revenue Service rule extending tax credits and subsidies to the purchase of health insurance in federally operated health insurance exchanges created in states that have refused to establish their own exchanges is unconstitutional because it violates state sovereignty.
- The Wrong House? -- Sissel v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, litigated by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of small-business owner Matt Sissel, says Obamacare violates the Constitution's origination clause.
One thing appears to be settled, however. It's now okay to refer to the act as "Obamacare," as both the opponents and proponents of the act now use the term.