BREAKING: Path Clears for PPACA to Supreme Court


In a sign of growing confidence, the Obama Administration will not appeal an August 12 ruling of the 11th Circuit that had struck down the individual mandate provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (P.L. 111-148). One of the many cases challenging the constitutionality of PPACA, the 11th Circuit held that the law exceeded Congress’ authority under both the Commerce Clause and the Taxing and Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

 The administration’s actions follow in the wake of a conflicting decision by the 6th Circuit  that had upheld the law, holding that the individual mandate “falls within Congress’s power to regulate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce,” as well as a 4th Circuit ruling declining to hear a PPACA challenge on jurisdictional grounds.

In declining to appeal to the full appellate panel, the administration can appeal directly to the Supreme Court and increases the expectation that the fate of healthcare reform will be issuing a ruling around the same time frame as the 2012 elections.  Under the Court’s normal procedures, it must accept a case by January in order to render a decision by the conclusion of the term at the end of June.