What We're Reading: SCOTUS Sends ACA Contraception Case Back to Lower Court

What we're reading, May 16, 2016: The Supreme Court has sent the Obamacare contraception case back to the lower courts; in some rural markets customers will have 1 option on the Affordable Care Act exchanges; and the first US case of locally transmitted Zika-related microcephaly has been reported.

Instead of ruling on Zubik v. Burwell, the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate, the 8-member Supreme Court has sent the case back to lower courts. After hearing oral arguments, the Court brought forward the idea that the plaintiffs and the defendants might be able to work out a compromise and has now decided to take no position, reported Vox. The case before the Supreme Court had been a combination of 7 cases, all of which had been ruled in the Obama administration’s favor in the lower courts.

In some rural markets, customers will have just 1 insurance option on the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s exchange in 2017. The Wall Street Journal reported that as some companies exit the markets due to losses, options will dwindle for consumers. Alaska and Alabama are expected to have just 1 insurer on the ACA exchange while parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arizona, and Oklahoma will face the same experience.

The first US case of microcephaly related to the Zika virus has been reported in Puerto Rico. According to CNN, this is the first US case of microcephaly from locally transmitted Zika as a baby was born in January with severe microcephaly in Hawaii to a woman who contracted the virus while living in Brazil. Meanwhile, in Brazil, the number of confirmed and suspected cases of Zika-associated microcephaly is down from 5200 to 4759, reported Reuters. There are more than 1300 confirmed cases with 3433 more still being investigated, but some of the suspected cases turned out not to be microcephaly.