Citing lack of money, Justice Department asks for stay in Geneva College challenge to Affordable Care Act

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The U.S. Department of Justice today asked for a stay in a contentious legal battle over the Affordable Care Act, saying that the failure of Congress to extend appropriations has limited its ability to defend the law.

The motion to stay comes in a case filed last year by Geneva College. The Beaver County school, joined later by several private plaintiffs, sued to stop parts of the health care law known colloquially as Obamacare that could require that they offer insurance plans that cover morning after drugs and other pregnancy stopping treatments.

"The [Justice] Department does not know when funding will be restored by Congress," federal attorneys wrote in the motion to stay.

During the shutdown, its attorneys "are prohibited from working, even on a voluntary basis, except in very limited circumstances, including 'emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.'"

The federal attorneys pledged to inform the court when funding is restored so the case can be revived.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs opposed the stay, according to the motion.

The decision on whether to stay the case is up to U.S. District Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti.

Geneva College won an initial round in June when Judge Conti allowed it to offer students a health-insurance plan that does not cover intrauterine devices or morning-after and week-after anti-pregnancy medications while the court fight continues.

education - breaking - region - health

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.


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