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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)


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 »