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Federal judge reject states' challenge to 'Obamacare' contraceptive coverage

Even with the Supreme Court ruling last month to uphold the most controversial components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many other legal challenges are still pending. A federal judge threw out a lawsuit by Florida and six other states that contested the requirement that insurance plans offered to employees includes coverage for contraceptives, the News Service of Florida reported today.

Religious organization, including group representing Catholic bishops, vocally opposed the mandates and their charge was taken up by the seven states who filed suit in February. The Obama administration defended the contraception coverage requirement, saying the rule assures that women have access to free contraception regardless of where she works or whom she works for.

The court ruling is another loss for Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and other state officials who are vehemently opposed to the health care law.

From the News Service of Florida:

A federal judge Tuesday tossed out a challenge by Florida and six other states to part of the federal health overhaul that requires coverage for contraceptives in insurance plans. The lawsuit, filed in Nebraska, centered on religious organizations' objections to the requirement in the Affordable Care Act.

The states contended, at least in part, that Medicaid enrollment would grow if the coverage requirement leads organizations to stop providing insurance to their employees. But Senior U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom found that the states didn't have legal standing to sue, saying their theory "is based on layers of conjecture."

Urbom wrote that the state's complaint "merely offers guesses about how independent actors will respond to the rule and speculation that these responses could cause people to qualify for, and obtain, state benefits that they would not otherwise seek, which will then strain the state's budgets. This is not sufficient to establish standing."

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning has spearheaded the lawsuit. Along with Florida, the other states that signed onto the case were South Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma and Michigan.

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