Long-term care provider avoids contraception insurance mandate

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An Evangelical Christian who runs senior care facilities does not have to provide free contraception or sterilization for his female employees for the time being, a judge ruled Friday.

Under the Affordable Care Act, a “contraception mandate” says employer health plans should cover contraception, sterilization and emergency contraceptives. Stephen Briscoe, the owner of Continuum Health Partnerships, Inc., Continuum Health Management, LLC, and Mountain States Health Properties, LLC, said this requirement violated his First Amendment right to religious freedom. If he disregarded the mandate, he'd owe more than $5 million in fines, according to the lawsuit. Briscoe has 200 employees.

Judge Wiley Y. Daniel granted Briscoe an injunction after a federal judge in Oklahoma issued a similar injunction in the case Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. v. Sebelius. The appeals court had overturned a previous ruling by the judge denying an injunction and sent it back to him for review. Part of Daniel's ruling asked the federal government to immediately inform the court as to whether it plans to appeal the Hobby Lobby decision.

To read the ruling, click here.

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