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Appeals court upholds Obamacare employer mandate

Liberty University argued that the law was unconstitutional and violated religious freedoms

A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, ruling that the measure is indeed constitutional.

Liberty University, a Christian university founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, attacked the mandate on two grounds: that it exceeds Congress’s constitutional authority to levy taxes and that it violates religious freedoms.

The 4th Circuit rejected both of those arguments, however. On the first count, the court ruled that the mandate is permitted by the Commerce Clause, since Congress has a “rational basis for finding that employers’ provision of health insurance coverage substantially affects interstate commerce.”

As for the religious freedom argument, the appeals court said that there was no “plausible claim that the act substantially burdens [Liberty’s] free exercise of religion,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Liberty had also challenged the mandate’s requirement that employers provide contraception coverage as part of their health insurance plans, but the 4th Circuit declined to rule on that claim on procedural grounds.

For more InsideCounsel coverage healthcare reform, see:

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Court denies contraception coverage injunction

Hobby Lobby loses appeal of contraception coverage

Cheat Sheet: What employers need to know about the Affordable Care Act

Hobby Lobby must cover morning-after pill, judge rules

Employers must choose to pay or play under the Affordable Care Act

Obamacare faces another lawsuit over contraception coverage

Your Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to-do list

Supreme Court allows ObamaCare to stand

Alanna Byrne

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