Update on HHS Lawsuit
Dear Biola Community,
I want to update you on the lawsuit Biola University filed against the Department of Health and Human Services on August 23, 2012. The Department of Justice filed its response to our lawsuit on November 9. As expected, the Department of Justice brought a motion to dismiss our complaint — as it has in all of the other cases filed by non-profit religious institutions like ours — on the basis that our suit is premature (i.e., not yet “ripe” for the court to hear) because Biola has not yet suffered damage by the HHS contraceptive mandate.
We disagree with this position and will file our response to the motion to dismiss our complaint on or before December 7. The American Center for Law and Justice has notified us that it is filing an amicus, “friend of the court,” brief on behalf of itself and Regent University in support of our case.
As we look toward the full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the impact it will have on Biola University’s healthcare offerings, we have a variety of options to consider — each with its own unique set of challenges. The following is the best information we have at this time, but keep in mind that the healthcare industry continues to change.
If it is not invalidated or amended by HHS, the PPACA contraceptive mandate will apply to Biola’s employee health insurance plans beginning April 1, 2014. At that time, insurance companies will be required to provide healthcare deemed to be abortifacients, specifically the “week after” pill, known as ella. If the mandate stands and we decide to move forward with a plan that does not include this coverage, we could be liable for a substantial excise tax. The financial implications of this are significant and require very careful planning and investigation of all options available to us. We will keep you apprised as we discover our options.
Again, let me reiterate that Biola University entered into this lawsuit with the federal government to defend our religious liberty as protected under the U.S. Constitution. Please continue to pray for Biola University and for our legal representatives who are working diligently behind the scenes on this case. I will continue to update and inform you on this important issue.
Barry H. Corey
December 4, 2012