On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan denied a motion made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which argued that the lawsuit against the healthcare law brought by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York was premature.
Cogan denied the motion by the Department of Health and Human Services on the ground that the archdiocese was at the brink of incurring millions of dollars in expenses over the healthcare law requirement it was challenging.
The instant lawsuit is among several dozen brought by Catholic institutions across the country challenging the contraceptives mandate in the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The concerned provision requires private employers that offer group health plans to cover contraceptive and other services, though excluding some religious employers.
The Health Department had announced in February that it would stop enforcement of the contraceptives requirement until August 2013, providing temporary relief for concerned organizations, meanwhile using the time to develop regulations to accommodate religious objections.
However, the rule received numerous legal challenges, including the instant challenge filed in the Brooklyn federal court by the New York archdiocese and others. The New York archdiocese employs more than 10,000 people, and about 9,000 of them, including both catholic and non-catholic employees are covered by its healthcare plan.
Though the Health Department argued that it was premature for Catholic groups to bring legal challenges while the Health Department was still engaged in mulling over final regulations, Cogan wrote in his opinion, “There is no “Trust us, changes are coming” clause in the Constitution.”
The case is Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York et al v. Sebelius, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, no. 12-2542.