Obamacare: What Happens if the Contraception Mandate Is Struck Down?

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The Affordable Care Act has brought the issue of religious freedom in modern-day America to the docket of the Supreme Court.

Almost immediately after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in March 2010, dozens of lawsuits were filed. Fourteen state attorneys general filed lawsuits against the requirement that compels most Americans to purchase health insurance on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate was an acceptable exercise of Congress’s taxing power.

Meanwhile, lawsuits of another variety began to pile up, and in November, the Supreme Court agreed to examine another challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. When the nine-judge panel begins to hear oral arguments Tuesday morning, at issue will be the Obamacare requirement that companies subject to the employer mandate provide workers with policies covering contraception.

One of the purposes of the healthcare reform was to improve the quality of health insurance policies. To guarantee that insurers no longer offer so-called bare bones plans, the Affordable Care Act mandates that the policies provide 10 essential benefits, including mental health care and contraceptives. While ostensibly a sweeping attempt to ensure all Americans have access to the services they need without having to pay an unaffordable premium, religious groups have seen the mandated insurance coverage of contraceptives as a threat to religious freedom.

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