High court allows new health reform challenge

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WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has revived a Christian college's challenge to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, with the acquiescence of the Obama administration.

The court ordered the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., on Monday to consider the claim by Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., that Obama's health care law violates the school's religious freedoms.

The court's action at this point means only that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals must now pass judgment on issues on which it previously declined to rule.

A federal district judge rejected Liberty's claims, and a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit voted 2-1 that the lawsuit was premature and never dealt with the substance of the school's arguments.

The Supreme Court upheld the health care law in June. The justices used lawsuits filed by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business to uphold the health care law by a 5-4 vote, then rejected all other pending appeals, including Liberty's.

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The school made a new filing with the court over the summer to argue that its claims should be fully evaluated in light of the high court decision. The administration said it did not oppose Liberty's request.

Liberty is challenging both the requirement that most individuals obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, and a separate provision requiring many employers to offer health insurance to their workers.

Liberty's case joins dozens of other pending lawsuits, many over the requirement that employer insurance plans cover contraception. Those cases are working their way through the federal court system.

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