skip navigation
search
Mar 122012
 

Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida (11-398)

Oral argument: March 27, 2012

Appealed from: The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Aug. 12, 2011)

HEALTH CARE, PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, MINIMUM COVERAGE PROVISION

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (“Health Care Act”) minimum coverage provision requires that all eligible individuals purchase health care coverage. Beginning in 2014, any failure to purchase coverage will result in a fine. Respondents, two individual citizens, twenty-six states, and the National Federation of Independent Business, claim that the Health Care Act’s minimum coverage provision is unconstitutional as it deprives individuals of the freedom to purchase what they choose, going beyond Congress’s authority under the taxing powers and the Commerce Clause. Petitioner, the United States government, maintains that the minimum coverage provision is a valid way to regulate the rising health care costs that limit many individual’s access to necessary health care services. Continue reading »

Mar 122012
 

Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida (11-398)

Oral argument: March 26, 2012

Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Aug. 12, 2011)

HEALTH CARE, ANTI-INJUNCTION ACT, PPACA, JURISDICTION, TAX LAW

One issue that the Supreme Court will resolve regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Health Care Act”) is the Tax Anti-Injunction Act’s (“AIA”) applicability to the challenge against the minimum coverage provision. The Tax Anti-Injunction Act (“AIA”) bars suits seeking to restrain the assessment or collection of any tax. Though not a specific argument from any party, the Court has shown interest due to the impact that AIA applicability may have on challenges to the health care law, as well as the effect of any decision on the AIA’s scope. While the parties agree that the AIA only applies to taxes, and the minimum coverage provision provides for a penalty, the parties disagree on the scope of the AIA’s application. Court-appointed amicus Robert Long argues that the minimum coverage provision falls within the ordinary meaning of a “tax.” The government believes the AIA applies to states and private parties’ claims because it is jurisdictional and is implicated by the mandate’s potential tax collection consequences. Private parties, several states, and National Federation of Independent Business rejoin by noting that the AIA is not jurisdictional and their claims only run to the constitutionality of the minimum coverage provision, not its penalty. Continue reading »

Mar 122012
 

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (11-393) and Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services (11-400)

Oral argument: Wed., Mar. 28, 2012

Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Aug. 12, 2011)

SEVERABILITY, HEALTH CARE, PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, STANDING, CONGRESSIONAL INTENT

In 2010, Congress enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Health Care Act”) and restructured the health insurance market. The Health Care Act contains a provision requiring individuals to carry a minimum amount of health insurance (“minimum coverage provision”).  The Supreme Court must decide whether the minimum coverage provision is constitutional. If the Court finds the minimum coverage provision unconstitutional, it must then determine whether it can be severed from the Health Care Act or whether the entire Health Care Act must be struck down. Petitioners, Florida, the National Federation of Independent Business, and various individuals contend that the minimum coverage cannot be severed from the Health Care Act because the intended outcome of the entire Health Care Act hinges on the economic effect of the minimum coverage provision. Respondents, the Department of Health and Human Services and Kathleen Sebelius, argue that the minimum coverage provision is severable, and the Health Care Act can function without it. A holding for the Petitioners would strike down the entire Health Care Act, whereas a holding for the Respondents would preserve the constitutional and functional sections. Continue reading »

Mar 122012
 

Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services (11-400)

Oral argument: Mar. 28, 2012

Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Aug. 12, 2011)

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, MEDICAID, SPENDING POWER, FEDERALISM

Congress established Medicaid in 1965 as way to provide health care to needy individuals in the United States. The program set forth several categories into which potential enrollees could fall. The categories took into account income level, existing medical conditions, and various other factors. The federal government imposes certain conditions on individual state-run Medicaid programs in exchange for federal funding for those programs. In 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will expand Medicaid to cover all persons below 133% of the poverty line, regardless of other factors. Florida and several other states filed a lawsuit arguing that this expansion represented an unconstitutional act beyond the scope of Congress’s spending power. Florida argued that the size of the program and lack of a specific alternative to participation effectively coerces states into complying with federal government’s conditions to funding. The Department of Health and Human Services argues that each state has the legal right to abstain from the program, and that the size of the program and the amount of funding involved should not determine whether the conditions are coercive. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will affect access to health care for needy individuals, the expansiveness of state sovereignty, and the financial burden imposed on the states. Continue reading »