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Federal appeals court upholds employer health care mandate

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] on Thursday upheld [official website] Congress' authority to require larger employers to provide adequate health insurance for their employees or pay a fine. In a challenge by Liberty University, the Fourth Circuit found that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted. The ruling comes just over a week after the US Department of Treasury (DOT) [official website] announced that it will delay enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [text; JURIST backgrounder] employer mandate for businesses with 50 or more full-time employees until 2015. The employer mandate was expected to take effect in 2014.

The US Supreme Court [official website] remanded [JURIST report] the case of Liberty University v. Geithner [docket; JURIST report] to the Fourth Circuit in November. The court ordered the lower court to re-consider the case in light of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius [JURIST report], in which the court upheld the individual mandate of PPACA. The Fourth Circuit previously dismissed [JURIST report] the suit as untimely.

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