On March 26-28, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Court scheduled six hours of arguments—more than any case since 1966—and is expected to issue its decision in June.
On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan indicated that in her view, Christian Scientists might have a basis to challenge the individual mandate (which requires nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty):
“…of course, the theory behind, not just the government’s case, but the theory behind this law is that people are in this market right now, and they are in this market because people do get sick, and because when people get sick, we provide them with care without making them pay. And it…would be different, you know, if you were up here saying, I represent a class of Christian Scientists. Then you might be able to say, look, you know, why are they bothering me. But absent that, you’re in this market. You’re an economic actor.”
Justice Kagan’s comments give a boost to the Federal Office’s multiple efforts to resolve the inequity facing Christian Scientists under the health care reform law. Along with requesting that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) include coverage of Christian Science practitioner and nursing services in the benefits that will be offered by health insurance companies under the new law, we continue to seek a Congressional solution that would allow anyone with a “sincerely held religious belief” against purchasing the required health insurance to be exempted from that mandate. Learn more….