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8th Circuit enjoins Obamacare contraceptive mandate for company which voluntarily provided health insurance to employees

8th Circuit enjoins Obamacare contraceptive mandate for company which voluntarily provided health insurance to employees

On Friday, February 1, 2013, a panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a preliminary injunction pending appeal of enforcement of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, in the case of Annex Medical, Inc. et al. v. Sebelius.

The decision has not yet received much attention.

A press release by ACT Right Legal Foundation, which represented the plaintiffs, reads as follows:

A Minnesota-based manufacturer of medical devices and a Minnesota entrepreneur challenged the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s mandate that any business that offers a group health insurance plan must provide cost-free coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs.

The plaintiffs allege that this mandate violates their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as the Administrative Procedures Act.

Plaintiffs hope to vindicate their own rights as well as to create precedent for other religiously-motivated business owners who wish to freely exercise their religious beliefs.

On February 1, 2013, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Annex Medical’s motion for a preliminary injunction pending appeal.

You can read the preliminary injunction motion here, and the government’s opposition here.

The interesting twist in this case is that because it had fewer than 50 employees, Annex Medical was not required to provide health insurance (unlike a prior litigant, O’Brien).  But Annex alleged that if felt morally obligated to provide health insurance, and once it did so, the Obamacare provisions as to what type of insurance kicked in.  As summarized in a concluding footnote by the Court:

3. The appellants here and the appellants in O’Brien both say a requirement that they purchase group health insurance with objectionable coverage provisions constitutes a substantial burden on their exercise of religion. The nature of the “requirement,” however, is different in the two cases. The O’Brien appellants were required by statute to purchase health insurance for employees on pain of substantial financial penalties; Lind and Annex Medical (as a smaller employer) are not required by statute to purchase insurance, but Lind alleges that his religion compels him to purchase health insurance for Annex Medical’s employees. In the limited briefing on the motion for injunction pending appeal, the appellees do not urge that this distinction is material, and we conclude that further exploration of that point is best reserved for plenary review after full briefing and argument.

Here is the Court’s Order:

Annex Medical v Sebelius – 8th Cir Grant of Preliminary Injunction 2-1-2013

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Comments

The headline you won’t read: “Obamacare limits size of companies to 49 employees.”

Magnificent. It is wonderful to witness these seemingly random acts of freedom. Nevertheless, John Roberts has not yet spoken.

Sorry for asking this question, but I don’t understand legal stuff at all, does this mean that the forcing of companies to provide contraception, against their conscience, is now on hold and not to be enforced, for now at least?

    m87 in reply to alex. | February 5, 2013 at 5:45 am

    alex: A preliminary injunction is an order by the court that prohibits a party to a lawsuit from doing something pending further proceedings. In this case, it means that the government can’t enforce its rules regarding provision of insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients against the company involved; however, the injunction is only preliminary, which means that it will only last until the court comes to a final decision, after it hears arguments from both sides.

“…8th Circuit enjoins Obamacare contraceptive mandate…;”

“…granted a preliminary injunction pending appeal of enforcement…;”

“…further exploration of that point is best reserved for plenary review…;”

Dear Perfessor,

I can decipher this legal eagle-eze with some ease, but the lack of comments on this important subject may be the result of an ‘intimidation factor’ from the clinical language used in such a exposition.

We’re naught but ‘umble blog readers…

That being said, I cheer the granted preliminary injunction, and hopefully this Obamacare monster will die from a thousand paper cuts.

BannedbytheGuardian | February 4, 2013 at 11:23 pm

It is what it is – but how did it get to this?

That one’s health insurance (private) is the province of an employer? I am guessing this came to be with health insurance being a benefit of an untaxed employment package.

To bring it back to the personhood & not the corporate – simply tax it as a fringe benefit like one would an employer offering private school fees.

It is even more illogical that an employer ought be responsible for spouses & >26 year old offspring.

The end result looks to be that individuals cannot compete with corporations purchase .

If all this insurance were up to the individual person / family then they could choose .Just get a quote on the Internet & select best fit.

And no I did not understand Hillary’s plan either.

Locomotive – the legalese is not the problem but the logic is slipping away.

Years ago I was denied employment because I smoked cigarettes therefore I would unduly burden the company’s insurance. Following this logic, could a large employer choose to only hire single males due to the burden this would impose on the employer? Women and heads of household would bring additional costs to the employer with the contraceptive mandate while heads of household would add the additional costs of coverage for minors up to age twenty six.

We will go from “morally obligated” to federally mandated and then to morally and financially bankrupt in no time – thanks to the Obamacrats.

I wonder what happens when religion is removed. Suppose a staunch non-aggretion libertarian, who belives that life begins at conception and therefor is protected by the constituion, wants nothing to do with a health insurance mandate that deals in abortion drugs. Would they be able to advance a case against Obamacare under similiar circumstances as stated above?

Banned Dugashvili made that so for Ulyanov. Now will Comrade Obama do the same to us?

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