The Philadelphia Inquirer sent Professor Robert Field to the U.S. Supreme Court on March 25 to cover arguments in a case that will determine if employers can be exempted from the Affordable Care Act on religious grounds.
Justice Anthony Kennedy asked challenging questions on both sides of the case, in which Conestoga Wood Specialties of Lancaster County, Pa. and Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. of Oklahoma City, Okla. objected to a requirement in the ACA that employer health insurance plans must cover contraception, Field wrote.
“Corporations, they argue, should enjoy the same religious protections as their individual owners,” Field wrote in the Page One article that was published on March 26.
Kennedy “seemed most likely to cast the swing vote if a liberal conservative split occurred,” Field wrote, adding that “Justice John Roberts, who cast the swing vote in favor of the law in the court's 2012 ruling, may not play that role this time, if his questions were any guide. He repeatedly challenged the government's position that it could require for-profit corporations to provide contraceptive coverage while exempting nonprofit religious organizations.”
Field also covered the arguments that led the Supreme Court to uphold the controversial health reform law on behalf of the Inquirer in 2012. The author of “Mother of Invention: How the Government Created 'Free-Market' Health Care,” Field writes a blog for the Inquirer on health policy, entitled "The Field Clinic," which features 14 prominent Philadelphia health care leaders as regular contributors.