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Health Care Law

Federal Health Care Exchanges Not Eligible for Subsidies: Halbig v. Burwell - Podcast

Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group Podcast
Jonathan H. Adler, Nicholas Bagley July 22, 2014

In a case decided on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the court ruled that subsidies can be granted only to those people who bought health insurance in exchanges run by an individual state or the District of Columbia, and not to people who purchased health insurance on the federally run exchange, HealthCare.gov. How did the court reach its conclusion, and is the court’s reasoning sound? Will the ruling make the Affordable Care Act financially unworkable? Is a final ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court inevitable?

  • Prof. Jonathan Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Prof. Nicholas Bagley, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 7-1-14 featuring Michael Moreland and Richard Garnett
Michael P. Moreland, Richard W. Garnett July 01, 2014

Michael MorelandRichard W. GarnettOn June 30, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell. Both cases involve a challenge by small, closely held corporations to a regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, often called the “contraceptives mandate,” under which companies are required to provide their employees with health insurance that covers a broad array of contraceptives, including some that may function as abortifacients. The corporations and their owners assert religious objections to this mandate, and the principal question before the Court is whether the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), which requires that the government not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Alito, the Court held that, as applied to closely held corporations, the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Per Justice Alito, RFRA protects closely held for-profit corporations like Conestoga, Hobby Lobby, and Mandel, and  HHS’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of their religion. Assuming for the sake of argument that the government has a compelling interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to health care, the mandate is not the least restrictive means for the government to achieve this goal. Chief Justice Roberts as well as Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Kennedy filed a concurring opinion. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion which Justices Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan joined. Justices Kagan and Breyer also filed a separate dissenting opinion. The decision of the Tenth Circuit (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores) was affirmed; The decision of the Third Circuit (Conestoga Wood Specialities Corp. v. Burwell), was reversed and remanded.

To discuss the case, we have Prof. Michael P. Moreland, Vice Dean & Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law as well as Prof. Richard W. Garnett, IV, Professor of Law & Concurrent Professor of Political Science, Founding Director, Program on Church, State & Society, University of Notre Dame Law School.

The Contraceptive Mandate - Event Audio/Video

Second Annual Executive Branch Review Conference
Kyle Duncan, John C. Eastman, Martin S. Lederman, Elizabeth Wydra, Robert Barnes May 14, 2014

The Contraceptive Mandate - Event Audio/VideoReligion has long had a special place in our society and in the Constitution. Has that place been evolving? If so, how? What does the Constitution say about the role of the federal government, and the Executive Branch in particular, in the realm of religious liberties? This panel will take up such issues as the HHS contraceptive mandate, the U.S. Solicitor General’s positions in religious freedom cases, and other statutory and regulatory matters that have come to the forefront in recent years.

A key element of the Practice Groups' Executive Branch Review project is our annual conference. This year's Executive Branch Review Conference took place on May 7th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The Contraceptive Mandate
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Senate Room

  • Mr. S. Kyle Duncan, Duncan PLLC
  • Dr. John C. Eastman, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service, Chapman University School of Law
  • Prof. Martin S. Lederman, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Ms. Elizabeth B. Wydra, Chief Counsel, Constitution Accountability Center
  • Moderator: Mr. Robert Barnes, Supreme Court Correspondent, The Washington Post

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Halbig v. Sebelius - The Next Threat to Obamacare? - Podcast

Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group Podcast
Jonathan H. Adler, Nicholas Bagley April 16, 2014

healthcare reform

The authors of the PPACA envisioned a system in which state governments would establish health insurance exchanges in which individuals could shop for health coverage and receive tax credits and subsidies for the purchase of qualifying health plans. After the law was passed, however, a majority of states refused to set up their own exchanges, leaving the task to the federal government. The IRS subsequently issued a rule purporting to authorize tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies in both state and federal exchanges. In Halbig v. Sebelius and three other cases pending in federal court, plaintiffs challenge the authority of the IRS to grant tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies in federal exchanges. These suits will help clarify the limits of agency authority to implement the PPACA and, if successful, these suits could have a significant impact on the implementation of the PPACA.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Jonathan Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Prof. Nicholas Bagley, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School

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