BREAKING: Obama Administration Petitions Supreme Court to Review PPACA Case

In a move some called inevitable, the Obama Administration petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to review the ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that found the individual mandate portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148)  was unconstitutional. In the majority opinion of that case, Chief Judge Joel F. Dubina wrote that Congress could not:

 “[M]andate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die….The federal government’s assertion of power, under the Commerce Clause, to issue an economic mandate for Americans to purchase insurance from a private company for the entire duration of their lives is unprecedented, lacks cognizable limits, and imperils our federalist structure.”

The administration’s filing came on the heels of two others Wednesday morning, one from a business trade group and two individuals asking the court to find the individual mandate unconstitutional and inseverable from the rest of the bill, thereby invalidating the entire act; and the second from a group of 26 states that questions the individual mandate as well as the validity of PPACA’s conditions on states’ access to federal Medicaid funds, arguing that this is coercion.

In the petition the Obama Administration argues that Congress was well within its powers to create the individual mandate penalty. They also ask the court to address whether the Anti-Injunction Act bars the pre-enforcement challenge to the individual mandate provision, but do not address the issue of severability. In regards to the individual mandate, the administration argued that it “directly addresses the consequences of economic conduct that distorts the interstate markets for health care and health insurance – namely the attempt by millions of Americans to self-insure or rely on the back-stop of free care, and the billions of dollars in cost-shifting that conduct produces each year when the uninsured do not pay for the care they inevitably need and receive.”

Later in the day the Obama Administration filed a brief asking the Supreme Court not to review the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Thomas More Law Center, et al.. v Obama which held that the individual mandate “falls within Congress’s power to regulate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce.”

The filing by the administration all but assures that the topic of health care reform will be in the spotlight during the upcoming election cycle, with a decision most likely in June, prior to the November elections.

 

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