Though the Shared Employment Responsibility provision (aka: employer mandate) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has been put on ice for an additional year, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld the provision as constitutional.

Often dubbed "play or pay," the Employer Shared Responsibility provision forces employers with 50 or more on their workforce either to provide health insurance or pay an assessment of $2,000 annually per employee above 30 on the payroll.

On July 2, saying it needed more time to figure things out, the Obama administration delayed implementation of the mandate from Jan. 1, 2014, to Jan. 1, 2015.

The Circuit Court ruled that the provision is constitutional under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, pitting its ruling against the 2012 Supreme Court ruling on the PPACA individual mandate that all Americans must have health insurance. In its 5-4 ruling, SCOTUS found the individual mandate legal as a tax but unconstitutional under the commerce clause.

Does this mean the Supreme Court will review the decision in Liberty University v. Lew? That remains to be seen, but it was SCOTUS that referred the case back to the 4th Circuit for further clarification when it was first appealed to the highest court.

Liberty University can now appeal to for an en banc hearing by the full 4th Circuit or appeal directly to the Supreme Court.