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Preparing for the Demise of Roe v. Wade and the Criminalization of Abortion in Some US States: Practical Considerations for a Post-Roe World

Sometime in the next several weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will issue its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (Dobbs). Based on the draft majority opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito that was leaked to Politico in early May, there is a significant chance that the Court will overrule Roe v. Wade (Roe) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (Casey) by holding that there is no federal constitutional right to obtain an abortion and leaving individual states free to substantially restrict abortion or prohibit abortion altogether.

The effect of this likely decision on US companies would be substantial. Every US healthcare provider whose services include any aspect of family planning should give serious thought to how this likely new post-Roe reality will affect its offerings and operations. This includes not only those that provide pregnancy termination services (via surgical or pharmaceutical means, whether brick-and-mortar or telehealth/virtual), but also potentially those providing in vitro fertilization services, and conceivably even some contraceptive providers at some point down the line.

Read more here.




ERIC Petitions US Supreme Court on Seattle Healthcare Case

McDermott Will & Emery’s Michael B. Kimberly, Sarah P. Hogarth and Andrew C. Liazos, are co-counsel on a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC). The petition calls for review of ERIC’s legal challenge to the City of Seattle’s hotel healthcare “play or pay” ordinance. The ordinance mandates hospitality employers make specified monthly healthcare expenditures for their covered local employees if their healthcare plans do not meet certain requirements. The petition demonstrates that Seattle’s ordinance is a clear attempt to control the benefits provided under medical plans in violation of the preemption provision under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA). This case is of significant national importance. Several other cities have proposed making similar changes, and complying with these types of ordinances will substantially constrain the ability of employers to control the terms of their medical plans on a uniform basis. ERIC’s petition is joined by several trade associations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Benefits Council and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

Read ERIC’s petition for writ of certiorari here.

Read ERIC’s statement here.




OSHA Reaffirms Arrival of Permanent Healthcare Industry COVID-19 Standard

On March 22, 2022, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a limited reopening of the rulemaking record for the COVID-19 emergency temporary standard for the healthcare industry, originally published on June 21, 2021 (the Healthcare ETS). OSHA will hold an informal public hearing to gather additional information from healthcare industry stakeholders. With the announcement, OSHA reaffirmed its plans to publish a permanent COVID-19 safety standard (i.e., regulation) for the healthcare industry later this year.

Read more here.




US Supreme Court to Review Whether PAGA Claim Can Be Arbitrated

California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) has so far evaded arbitration agreements. Now, the Supreme Court of the United States will take up Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana to determine whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) “requires enforcement of a bilateral arbitration agreement providing that an employee cannot raise representative claims, including under PAGA.”

Read more here.




Supreme Court OKs CMS Vaccine Mandate but Blocks OSHA Rule

On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States released two emergency opinions that change the landscape of the three federal vaccine rules. In summary:

  • A 5-4 Court majority let the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) enforce its vaccine mandate nationwide, impacting specified healthcare facilities.
  • A 6-3 majority blocked the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing its vax-or-test Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) applicable to large employers.
  • The third federal vaccine rule—the federal contractor vaccine mandate—remains subject to multiple legal challenges and, at this time, the government is blocked from enforcing the mandate nationwide. The Court has not yet weighed in on this mandate.

Read more here.




The Biggest Benefits Rulings of 2020: Midyear Report

The US Supreme Court took up several Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) cases this term, handing down both a major loss and a substantial win to employees looking to sue their employers over retirement plan mismanagement. In a recent Law360 article, McDermott Partner Chris Nemeth discusses these decisions.

“It’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out,” said Nemeth.

Access the article.




Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal to a Michigan Tax on Health Insurance Plans

The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to hear the Self-Insurance Institute of America Inc.’s ERISA preemption challenge to a Michigan tax on health insurance plans.

As we previously reported last year, the Sixth Circuit, had decided, on remand from the Supreme Court, that the Michigan Health Insurance Claims Assessment Act (Act) was not preempted by ERISA. The Act imposes a 1 percent tax on all paid claims by insurers or third-party administrators (TPAs) for health services rendered in Michigan to Michigan residents. The case was brought by the Self-Insurance Institute of America (SIIA), a trade association representing the sponsors of self-insured health plans and their TPAs, alleging the Act was preempted by ERISA. The trial court dismissed the case, concluding that the law was not preempted by ERISA. The Sixth Circuit also held that the Act was not preempted. After granting certiorari, the Supreme Court vacated this judgment and remanded the case to the Sixth Circuit for further consideration in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gobeille v. Liberty Mut. Life Ins. Co., which invalidated a Vermont statute that required an ERISA plan to report health care information to an all-payer claims database, since the Vermont law interfered with nationally uniform plan administration. On remand, the Sixth Circuit reaffirmed its original decision, finding that nothing in Gobeille warranted overturning its decision. SIIA’s attempt to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court was declined on January 9, 2017.




IRS Guidance on Employee Benefits Implications of Supreme Court Obergefell Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued Notice 2015-86, which provides some additional clarification, in the form of questions and answers, on the treatment of same-sex spouses under tax-qualified retirement plans and health and welfare plans, including cafeteria plans, as a result of the June 26, 2015, decision from the Supreme Court of the United States in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Read the full article.




Will You Marry Me? The Future of Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses and Partners

The United States Supreme Court’s recent landmark rulings on same-sex marriage have significantly changed employers’ options and obligations with respect to benefit coverage for employees’ same-sex spouses and partners. Until recently, some employers voluntarily extended benefits to same-sex partners in recognition of the fact that same-sex couples had limited ability to marry. However, now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states and recognized under federal law, employers must extend certain spousal benefits to same-sex spouses and can do so without additional administrative complexity. In addition, some employers are phasing out unmarried partner benefits by requiring partners to marry in order to be eligible for spousal benefit coverage.

Click to read the full article from Pension & Benefits Daily.

(c)2015 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., reprinted with permission.




WEBCAST: The Future of Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses and Partners

Thursday, July 30, 2015
12:00 – 1:00 pm EDT

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that it is unconstitutional for a state to ban same-sex couples from exercising the fundamental right to marry. All states are now required to permit same-sex couples to marry and to recognize same-sex marriages validly entered into in other jurisdictions.

McDermott Will & Emery invites you to a live webcast to discuss the impact of this landmark decision on employee benefit plan sponsors and to address key considerations for employer-provided plans, including:

  • An up-to-date description of federal and state taxation of health and welfare benefits
  • A summary of steps employers must take in light of the Supreme Court’s decision
  • The future of employee benefits for unmarried same-sex and opposite-sex partners

Click here to view the event listing.

 




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