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Appeals court upholds healthcare law mandates

July 11, 2013 at 5:37 PM

RICHMOND, Va., July 11 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court in Virginia Thursday affirmed a lower court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act's individual and employer mandates.

In the suit filed by Liberty University, the school objects that though it offers healthcare coverage to its 3,900 employees, depending on how the federal government defines "minimum" coverage, its plan could be found insufficient, making it liable for penalties.

In addition, two individuals -- Michele G. Wadell and Joanne V. Merrill -- say they don't want or need health insurance and their views on abortion make the law repugnant because it would force them to buy coverage that would subsidize the procedure for others.

"We find the employer mandate is no monster; rather, it is simply another example of Congress' longstanding authority to regulate employee compensation offered and paid for by employers in interstate commerce," the court found.

"We conclude that Congress had a rational basis for finding that employers' provision of health insurance coverage substantially affects interstate commerce ... and Congress' regulation of this activity ... [and] the employer mandate is a valid exercise of Congress' authority," the court said.

The court said the U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld the individual mandate in an earlier case as a "constitutional tax" and said it found "no circumstance justifying" the challenge to abortion coverage rules.

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