Supreme Court plays deal maker on Obama health law

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In a rare move, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sidestepped a major decision on part of the Obama health law, and instead openly suggested a possible compromise, dealing with how the law handles religious organizations that object to paying for health insurance coverage that includes birth control.

Instead of a regular decision, the Justices released what is known as a unanimous “per curiam” opinion, in which the court both floated a compromise and sent the matter back to lower courts for further legal work.

The opinion noted that after oral arguments on this case, the court asked both the Obama Administration and mostly religious non-profits to weigh in on whether workers at those organizations could get birth control coverage for free – directly from their health insurance company.

“Both petitioners and the Government now confirm that such an option is feasible,” the Court wrote.

Under this plan, the religious groups would not play any role in whether their employees ask for contraceptive coverage.

“The Court finds the foregoing approach more suitable,” the Justices wrote, even while acknowledging that other differences remain in how the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Obama health law is dealt with by the courts.

“The Court expresses no view on the merits of the cases,” the Justices stated, making clear that no determination has been made on whether the feds or the religious groups had the better argument.


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