The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the United States Solicitor General to file a response within 30 days to Liberty University’s request for a re-hearing in federal appellate court of its claims in the case of Liberty Univ. v. Geithner. In that case, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) barred it from entertaining Liberty University’s pre-enforcement challenges against the Affordable Care Act. Because the Supreme Court subsequently ruled in National Federation of Independent Business, et al. v. Sebelius that the AIA did not apply in the context of the ACA, Liberty University has petitioned the Supreme Court to effectively force the Fourth Circuit to rehear the case, on the grounds that the Fourth Circuit erroneously dismissed Liberty’s case in its entirety based on the AIA. Liberty contends that because its initial lawsuit involved a challenge to the individual mandatory coverage requirement on religious grounds – an argument the Supreme Court did not reach in NFIB v. Sebelius – and also to the ACA’s employer mandate, there are sufficient grounds to warrant a rehearing.
For more information on legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), click here and here.
March 20, 2013
The ACA requires all individual and non-grandfathered group health plans to cover certain preventive services, including contraceptive services. This is an update to the March 2012 brief
on Contraception Coverage within Required Preventive Services, and to the April 2012 update
to that brief.
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...
September 26, 2012
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), in addition to expanding coverage to individuals with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), includes provisions designed to preserve existing Medicaid coverage -- known as the maintenance of effort provision, or MOE -- until the ACA is fully implemented. The ACA’s MOE provision requires states to maintain their current Medicaid eligibility standards, methodologies, and procedures until the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determines that a state Exchange is fully operational. For children, the ACA’s MOE extends through September 30, 2019. States may reduce eligibly for certain non-pregnant, non-adult...
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...
September 23, 2011
Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), at least 27 lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of various provisions of the law. While nearly half of the lawsuits have been dismissed on procedural grounds, three district courts have found provisions challenged to be constitutional, and three have found them to be unconstitutional. Previous HealthReform GPS Implementation briefs/updates have discussed these lower court decisions. Following appeals of each of these rulings, the United States Courts of Appeals in the Fourth, Sixth, and Eleventh Circuits have now issued decisions as well. Most importantly, the appellate decisions continue to reflect a split in judicial opinion regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Other important issues addressed by the appellate rulings concerned the constitutionality of the ACA Medicaid expansion and the question of whether the trial court in the Virginia cases (Liberty University v. Geithner and Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius) had the authority to hear the cases at all.