US Appeals Court Upholds Individual Mandate Healthcare Law
Yesterday, the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio decided with a 2-1 majority that the mandated minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires that a person purchase minimum health coverage or face a modest monetary penalty beginning in 2014, is constitutional under the Commerce Clause. The ruling is significant as it is the first decision by a federal appeals court on the Affordable Care Act.
Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a conservative judge and an appointee under President Bush, was included in the majority decision, making him the first Republican appointee on a federal bench to support the provision's constitutionality. Judge Boyce Martin, a Democrat, joined Jeffrey in the decision stating, "Congress had a rational basis for concluding that the minimum coverage provision is essential to the Affordable Care Act's larger reforms to the national markets in health care delivery and health insurance."
Obama's healthcare overhaul provision was challenged by a lawsuit from the conservative Thomas More Law Center. An attorney for the Thomas More Law Center suggested they are likely to appeal. State officials from Florida , Virginia , and 24 other states are also challenging the individual mandate in a case that was just heard in the 11th Circuit Court of appeals on Wednesday in Atlanta. This case in Atlanta is probably deemed the most important. Whatever the decision, the individual mandate in all probability will go to the US Supreme court for a final decision.
Currently under the ACA, daughters and sons under 26 years of age can receive insurance through their parents' coverage, the donut hole for seniors is closing, and certain preventive procedures, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and pap smears, no longer require a co-payment or other direct costs. President Obama signed the final version of the Affordable Care Act in March. The final law will eventually add coverage for 32 million people, increasing access to family planning and preventive care.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 6/29/11; USA Today 6/29/11; Associated Press 6/29/11; Feminist Newswire 5/111//; Feminist Newswire 2/1/11
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .