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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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    Karensky | February 5, 2013 at 5:11 am

    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?

    Karensky | February 6, 2013 at 6:41 am

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

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