Local professor explains Supreme Court decision on religious objections to Obamacare

Published: May. 16, 2016 at 3:52 PM CDT
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The U.S. Supreme Court avoided a major ruling Monday on Obamacare. Religious non-profits are challenging the contraceptive mandate, and the court ruled the lower courts will now help reach a compromise.

Following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court is split. That is playing into ties and possibly lead to today's decision.

"It looks to me this is going to be worked out," said Missouri State University Professor Kevin Pybas.

The court saying unanimously Monday it will not issue a ruling for a religious group opposed to the contraceptive mandate under Obamacare. The group known as Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious organizations object to the mandate. Their objection will now go back to the appellate court in hopes of finding a compromise.

"Little Sisters of the Poor and others see by themselves as complicit in a moral evil," Pybas, a constitutional law expert, said.

"The law doesn't require them to provide the contraception, but it requires them to notify the government that they object. They see it as government hijacking their insurance plans," he said.

The decision is encouraging for other religious non-profits including College of the Ozarks where the vice president of cultural affairs, Sue Head, said their fight is not over. Head said school leaders still want a ruling in their case and in their favor.

Pybas said the most likely scenario now: religious non-profits will not have to pay for contraceptives, but the insurance companies with whom they contract will.

"It's the insurance company's obligation under the law to go ahead and provide to those employees the care that's required by the law but which is not contracted for by the not-for profit," Pybas said.

Pybas said the future of the court is uncertain now, and he expects the next president to have a major impact on the direction of the court.