May 23rd, 2013
The first few days of the week of May 20, 2013 were quiet on the regulatory front, with no new Affordable Care Act regulations or guidance (at least that I could find). HHS released power point slides from an earlier webinar that usefully describe the different kinds of assisters who will be available in the marketplaces (navigators, in-person assisters, certified application counselors, and agents and brokers). It also has apparently updated its navigator and assister frequently-asked-questions paper, although most of these FAQs were released earlier.
In other news, however, the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals has released the recording of the May 17, 2013, oral argument in the case of Liberty University v. Jacob Lew. The Liberty University case aroused quite a stir in November of 2012, when the Supreme Court reversed its earlier decision to deny certiorari in the case, granted certiorari, vacated the earlier decision of the Fourth Circuit rejecting the plaintiff’s case, and remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit for further proceedings.
In the case’s first incarnation, Liberty University challenged the authority of Congress under its constitutionally enumerated powers to adopt the Affordable Care Act’s individual and employer mandates. Liberty also claimed that the ACA violated the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, by granting privileges to certain religious groups but not to Liberty, and the Free Exercise Clause (and Religious Freedom Restoration Act), by requiring Liberty to purchase insurance that covered abortion. Liberty was joined by two individual plaintiffs in the case, who asserted similar rights for themselves.Read the rest of this entry »