Diocese of Pittsburgh appeals in challenge of federal health care mandates

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The Diocese of Pittsburgh has appealed a U.S. district court dismissal a lawsuit challenging federal mandates included in the Affordable Care Act.

The diocese, Bishop David A. Zubik, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Catholic Cemeteries Association of the Diocese of Pittsburgh asked the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to find that the plaintiffs have standing to bring the suit.

The Roman Catholic diocese challenged parts of the preventive health coverage because of concerns that Catholic agencies would be required to cover contraceptives, sterilizations and morning-after drugs.

U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry in November found that the diocese had not been harmed by the 2010 health insurance reform law, and that the federal departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury were taking "clear and concrete steps" to change the way the act's requirement of insurance coverage for contraception applies to religious institutions.

Judge McVerry dismissed the diocese's claims without prejudice, meaning the suit could be filed again.

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