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A family-owned company in Indiana has won a temporary injunction against the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate, Reuters reports.
In a split-panel decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals consolidated the case, Grote v. Sebelius, with its December decision in Korte v. Sebelius, and granted the Grote family's request to be exempted from the birth control mandate pending appeal.
The Grote Family owns Grote Industries, a privately held, family-run business headquartered in Madison, Indiana. Grote Industries manufactures vehicle safety systems. The company has 1,148 full-time employees working at various locations and provides a group health insurance plan for the benefit of its employees. The plan is self-insured and renews every year on January 1.
The members of the Grote Family are Catholic and operate their business in accordance with the precepts of their faith, including the Catholic Church's teachings regarding the moral wrongfulness of abortifacient drugs, contraception, and sterilization. Consistent with the Grote Family's religious commitments, before January 1, 2013, the Grote Industries health-insurance plan did not cover abortifacient drugs, contraception, or sterilization.
Until the courts issue a final ruling in this matter, the Grotes will not have to offer such drugs and procedures as part of the company's health plan.
The Seventh Circuit's ruling remains at odds with recent the latest Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rules on the birth control mandate. On February 1, HHS announced that it would take steps remove religiously-affiliated employers -- like Catholic universities and hospitals -- from the process of paying for their employees' contraception coverage, The Hill reports.
Instead, the federal government will offer a rebate to insurance companies that provide contraceptives to religiously-affiliated employees through their health plans. The rule effectively removes the employer from the payment process. The rebate will not be extended to insurers for private sector employers, like Grote Industries.
The Grote family made a strong enough case against the birth control mandate to win a temporary injunction; will they be able to prevail on the merits? Let us know what you think on Facebook.