Yesterday, Oklahoma’s attorney general Scott Pruitt filed suit challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The challenge focuses on the penalties that large employers would pay if they do not offer affordable health care coverage for employees, as mandated under the ACA. Oklahoma had previously joined 25 other states in arguing that ACA was unconstitutional due to the minimum coverage provision. However, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate in its landmark June 28th decision.
The new complaint focuses on the ACA’s premium tax credits for low-income Americans to purchase health insurance coverage in the exchanges. Under the ACA, consumers will be able to apply for federal subsidies to purchase coverage in state-run health insurance exchanges. The ACA penalizes large employers that do not offer affordable coverage and whose employers thus receive a federal subsidy to purchase coverage in the exchanges.
Many states have reported that they do not plan on creating their own exchanges. By default under the ACA, the federal government will establish exchanges in these states. Some opponents of the ACA have interpreted the law to say that only state-run exchanges may offer premium subsidies to consumers. These opponents argue that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not have jurisdiction to issue a regulation in May indicating that federally-run exchanges will also offer such subsidies.
Oklahoma is challenging this IRS rule in its suit. Pruitt argues in the brief that Congress intended only for state-based exchanges to provide subsidies. The IRS rule, he argues, will cause employers to face unnecessary penalties for not providing comprehensive and affordable coverage.
November 1, 2012
The Department of Justice (DOJ) told
the Supreme Court yesterday that they would not attempt to block requests to reopen a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Such a lawsuit could potentially place the ACA in front of the Supreme Court again as early as next year.
In 2010, Liberty University sued over the minimum coverage provision and other aspects of the ACA, but the case was set aside when the 26 states and NFIB case went before the Supreme Court. Because the court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate in its June 28th decision, it essentially tossed out Liberty's lawsuit. Liberty now wants the Supreme Court to review its other challenges to the ACA.
Specifically, Liberty claims that the law's employer coverage requirements are unconstitutional, as the mandate's contraception coverage requirement violates the right to freely exercise religion. Over 30 such claims have been filed against the Obama administration. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli's letter to the court states that although the DOJ believes that the Liberty claims "lack merit," the DOJ does not oppose the courts reviewing the suit.
May 21, 2012
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established American Health Benefit Exchanges (the Exchange or Exchanges), a marketplace where consumers can choose a private health insurance plan to fit their health needs. The Exchanges will provide Americans with access to the same health insurance choices as members of Congress. Today, the Treasury Department issued final regulations implementing the premium tax credit that will give middle-class Americans unprecedented tax benefits to make the purchase of health insurance affordable.
Premium tax credits will, first and foremost, make...
October 25, 2012
One of a number of lawsuits filed in opposition to the ACA was Liberty University, Inc., et al. v. Geithner et al. Under this lawsuit in 2010, a private Christian university and a number of individual petitioners sued the government to block enforcement of the ACA’s employer requirement to provide health insurance coverage to employees, as well as the individual requirement to maintain health insurance coverage. The district court in the Western District of Virginia rejected all the plaintiffs’ claims, which included challenges based on the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, the Tenth Amendment, the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). On appeal, the Fourth Circuit held that the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) barred federal courts...
June 28, 2012
The Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited ruling in the case of National Federation of Independent Businesses et al. v. Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al., upholding the individual requirement to maintain insurance coverage as a reasonable exercise of Congress’s taxing and spending authority and also upholding the constitutionality of the Medicaid coverage expansion. In a surprise coalition, Chief Justice Roberts was joined in his majority opinion by Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The summary below describes the majority opinion, the concurring opinion (authored by Justice Ginsburg), and the dissenting opinion (written by Justice Scalia). Because the Court upheld the individual mandate, it never reached...