Obamacare law prompting lawsuits

3/5/2014

Obamacare law prompting lawsuits

Obamacare law prompting lawsuits

By RYAN McCARTHY

KU Statehouse Wire Service

TOPEKA — In his update to the Public Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday, Kansas Deputy Attorney General Jeff Chanay said the Obamacare law has caused several lawsuits across the country.

"The ACA (Affordable Care Act) created a complex scheme of new government regulations, mandates subsidies and agencies in an effort to achieve universal health care coverage," Chanay said. "Immediately a majority of the states around the country and some business groups challenged various parts of the law, which included the individual mandate and Medicaid expansion."

Although Chanay laid out five separate types of cases weaving through the court system, only one part created questions for the committee.

For religious reasons, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga wood do not want to be forced to include the coverage of contraceptive products such as the morning-after pill. The Supreme Court is set to hear the oral arguments on the case on March 25.

President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010.

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, asked about Hobby Lobby's business practices and how that affected the Deputy General's research for this hearing.

"Did the issue that probably 90-95 percent of products sold in Hobby Lobby come from China which has a forced abortion rule?" Kelly said. "So you have a company that doesn't want to provide birth control to their employees, but had no trouble cutting deals with a country that forces abortion."

Chanay responded quickly that his update was not about the social standing of contraception mandate.

"We were engaging on the legal issue itself," Chanay said. "We weren't looking particularly at Hobby Lobby itself or how it does business. We were instead looking at the overall question of whether or not a for-profit corporation has right under the RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) to stop contraception. We've not dealt into the practices of any individual companies."

Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, the chair of the Public Health and Welfare Committee, dismissed Kelly's comment relating to China.

"I think it's a red herring," she said. "I'm not going to debate a particular company. What I think what's important is the principle at stake. We're talking about freedom of speech. We're talking about things that we've held very precious in our life."

Throughout this legislative session, Pilcher-Cook, has introduced legislation to the Senate dealing with the Affordable Care Act. She has been one of the more outspoken people against Obamacare.

"I think the most important thing is give the public the education about what's happening whether it's in the courts or legislatively," she said. "Especially with all the damage the federal health care law is doing right now to not only our health care, but our economy. We've got to stay focused on that."

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