Supreme Court blocks decision to uphold PPACA contraception waiver: 3 things to know

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued an order April 15 temporarily blocking a Third Circuit ruling regarding a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contraception waiver, raising questions about accommodations for those who have religious objections to the health reform's law contraception mandate, according to a Law 360 article.

The Third Circuit decision that the high court blocked would have upheld a new opt-out process for the PPACA's contraception mandate. Highlighted below are three things to know about the case and the Supreme Court order.

1. The order was signed by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. In it, the Obama administration is asked to file a reply by Monday, April 20, giving its position on staying the Third Circuit's ruling, a request that was made by David A. Zubik, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, and various other Catholic entities. No explanation was provided by Justice Alito for imposing the stay.

2. Staying the ruling is in line with previous high court actions. In last year's Hobby Lobby decision, the Supreme Court allowed religious for-profit organizations the alternative of offering contraceptives to employees through a third party. The decision did not, however, clarify how employers can notify the government of their objections.

3. The issue at hand is whether religious nonprofits that object to complying with the PPACA's contraception mandate should have to fill out an exemption form. The Third Circuit decision in the Zubik et al. v. Burwell et. al. case — which is being brought under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — found no substantial burden stemming from having to file an exemption form.



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