The United States Supreme Court, on June 28, 2012, issued its ruling on the pair of cases challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Court’s ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius will undoubtedly have historical implications on the federal government’s use of power under the Commerce and Taxing and Spending Clauses of the United States Constitution.
With regard to the ACA, the Court held the individual mandate a permissible use of the federal government’s taxing authority. The ACA’s Medicaid expansion, however, was found to exceed the federal government’s constitutional spending authority because it was unduly coercive on the states. Here we offer our breakdown and analysis of the Court’s opinion.
Without further adieu — and just in time for the Supreme Court to rule on its constitutionality — we have published our Affordable Care Act (ACA) Timeline. Many available timelines regarding key provisions of the ACA are either hard to understand, lack important implementation dates, or lack references to source materials.
These shortcomings led to the development of our own ACA Timeline, which is an evolving piece of work. We are continuing to update it with additional key provisions and citations.
On April 26, 2012 the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) released a report detailing hospital readmission statistics from 2010 data. The report is particularly noteworthy because this month the first group of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) begin participating in the Medicare shared savings program. One of the quality measures on which health care providers participating in the ACO are evaluated is hospital readmissions. Later this year, all Medicare providers will also be subject to the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.
Even though I’m preparing for trial, this is a health law and policy blog and today — this week, really — is a big day for health and constitutional law. I’d therefore be remiss in at least not acknowledging that the United States Supreme Court today heard argument on the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act. Technically the case the Court was hearing was United States Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has recently upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal health reform legislation. Although other circuits have reached conflicting results, the D.C. Circuit’s ruling could portend the Supreme Court’s final ruling on this issue.
In a ruling issued yesterday in Goudy-Bachman v. United States, United States District Court judge Christopher Conner held that the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act — or “Obamacare” or “Obamneycare” depending on your political persuasion — is unconstitutional. Judge Conner’s ruling adds to the myriad cases percolating through various federal courts on the trial and appellate levels throughout the country.
The first full-blown appeal of the myriad challenges to the health reform law has landed on the United States Supreme Court’s docket (if you’re OCD, it’s No. 11-117). Although this is not really the first request that the Supreme Court address the law’s constitutionality, it is the first appeal of an appellate court ruling on the issue.
Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court declined a request to immediately review a federal judge’s ruling that the individual mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – or health reform legislation – is unconstitutional.
The case, Virginia v. Sebelius, arrived at the Supreme Court’s steps in an unusual way, so its refusal to review the case at this point is not surprising.
In the case, the Commonwealth of Virginia was successful in persuading the federal district court that the individual mandate provision of the health reform law is unconstitutional. Despite the favorable ruling, the Virginia Attorney General sought to immediately appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court, bypassing any review by the federal circuit court of appeals. The state AG’s decision to seek appeal from the highest court despite being initially successful was an attempt to definitively put the issue to rest.
The Obama administration, however, resisted immediate review and opposed the Commonwealth of Virginia’s request that the Supreme Court immediately review the case.
In an April 25, 2011 Order, the Supreme Court — without any written opinion or dissent — unanimously rejected the appeal. Its decision is not surprising and should not be interpreted how the Supreme Court views the substantive issues. Immediate appeal to the highest court is unusual and rarely accepted. The Supreme Court obviously wants to watch how this issue plays out in the various circuit courts of appeal before it weighs in as the final authority.
The state Attorney General in Virginia — the state with conflicting federal court opinions on the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the health care law — is planning to ask that the United States Supreme Court address the Constitutional issues on an expedited basis, bypassing intermediate appellate review by the Circuit Courts of Appeal. The Commonwealth of Virginia opposed the individual mandate and filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services, and won in Commonwealth v. Sebelius. Nonetheless, the state AG apparently wants definitive review to put the matter to rest. Republican lawmakers are urging the Obama Administration to join in the request but it has so far declined.
Obtaining expedited review before the Supreme Court is a long-shot. The Court will directly accept those cases of “imperative public importance” without intermediate appellate review, but rarely does. Perhaps the most notable expedited review case was Bush v. Gore, but that case obviously had a short fuse given the Constitutional timing requirements for the presidential terms.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock — or working doubles — you have no doubt heard that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson has ruled that the health reform law is unconstitutional. This is the second such blow to the law, the first coming from a Virginia District Court in December 2010. There are some important differences between these two rulings, however.