Donald Trump has been trying to run the country as a totalitarian dictator. He resents House oversight and turned Attorney General William Barr into his very own Roy Cohn. Now, he has just tried to exempt some employers with “religious or moral objections” from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, according to Bloomberglaw.com.
Trump’s intent was to implement a moral exemption to the contraceptive rule through the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), Labor Department, and the Treasury. It would have given employers to opt out of an Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) stipulation. In essence, it would impose employers’ religious beliefs upon their employees. These groups also tend to oppose abortion, so women’s choices become even narrower.
Obamacare required employers to provide birth control coverage in employee health plans. The Ninth Circuit ruled that Trump’s modification was not enforceable. A coallition of states led by California. argued that these three departments:
‘[L]acked the authority to issue rules exempting certain employers from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, the appeals court said. The rules likely are arbitrary and capricious.’
The court ruled that this accommodation process did not:
‘[S]ubstantially burden the employers’ religious exercise in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the court said. And the states would be irreparably harmed if the exemptions were allowed to take effect.’
The court rules that the White House cannot enforce its rules in the following states:
‘California, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Washington, Minnesota, Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.’
Earlier, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit agreed with a lower court’s decision blocking the rule nationwide. Even so, the Ninth Circuit ruled “that decision didn’t prevent it from considering the same issue.”
Various religious groups plus the federal government have now asked the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to review that Third Circuit Court’s decision. The contraceptive mandate was the most-frequently litigated aspect of the Affordable Care Act:
‘[E]mployers with strong religious convictions or ties to religious organizations have maintained they can’t comply with it or with the accommodation without violating their beliefs.’
Although employers have taken their cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, there was no resolution. SCOTUS has returned a number of cases right back to the lower courts. They instructed the courts to come up with “a compromise” to balance the religious rights to practice the their religion:
‘[W]ithout substantial government interference against the government’s goal of ensuring all women have access to appropriate preventative care.’
Although Trump’s people adopted their controversial coverage mandate in 2017 and finalized it in 2018, it was never implemented.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed “an injunction against the interim rules, but narrowed it to cover only the plaintiff states…Judge J. Clifford Wallace wrote the opinion, which was joined by Judge Susan P. Graber. Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld dissented, saying the Third Circuit’s decision rendered this case moot.’
The case is California v. U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs., 9th Cir., No. 19-15072, 10/22/19.
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