Feds Say College's Obamacare Challenge Premature

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 09:28 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Justice Department is urging a federal judge to dismiss a small Western Pennsylvania college’s legal challenge to Obamacare, calling the school’s complaint premature because the healthcare reform law doesn’t take effect until 2014.
 
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Geneva College is seeking to have the healthcare provision requiring contraception coverage for employees thrown out because it may not qualify under the so-called “safe harbor” exemption being offered to religious institutions.
 
In a brief filed Monday, the Justice Department said the college won’t even have a case until 2014 when the law fully kicks in, and by that time changes will have likely been made to honor safe harbor exemptions on the basis of religious grounds.
 
But Gregory Baylor, an attorney for the Washington-based Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing Geneva, said the Obama administration is simply trying to buy time and the college can’t rely on promises of a permanent exemption.
 
“They don’t want courts to address this on the merits because I believe they are nervous about their prospects,” Baylor said. “It’s going to be difficult for them to convince the courts that this doesn’t violate the right of conscience.”
 

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