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The 'Hobby Lobby Ruling' and What It Means for U.S. Health Care
Date:7/28/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on contraception coverage -- as mandated under the Affordable Care Act -- could lead to a legal quagmire that might allow companies to deny insurance coverage for any medical practice that violates their religious principles, some health care experts say.

But other experts counter that such predictions are unlikely to come true.

The justices ruled 5-4 last month that Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. did not have to provide contraceptive coverage that violated their religious beliefs. Prior to the ruling, U.S. companies were required to provide such coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the controversial 2010 health-reform law often referred to as Obamacare.

Some health care experts say they're now bracing for follow-up lawsuits from companies that might have religious objections to a range of medical services, such as vaccinations or blood transfusions.

"The court's decision clearly opens the door for other for-profit 'closely held' companies to challenge the [Affordable Care Act's] coverage requirement on the basis that they conflict with their owners' religious beliefs," Bob Doherty, the American College of Physicians' senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy, said in his ACP Advocate Blog.

Other pending lawsuits are expected to further challenge the Affordable Care Act's requirements for contraception coverage, some observers predict.

Federal judges, including the Supreme Court itself, have already issued several injunctions that allow religious nonprofits to refuse participation in contraception coverage in what's called a "workaround." Under this arrangement, insurance companies step in to provide th
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