Appeals Court Dismisses Reform Law Case Filed by N.J. Physician Group
On Wednesday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia affirmed a lower court's decision and dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of New Jersey physicians against the federal health reform law, Bloomberg reports.
The not-for-profit group New Jersey Physicians, a New Jersey cardiologist and an unidentified, uninsured individual argued in the suit that Congress does not have the authority to enforce the individual insurance mandate.
A federal district court judge in December 2010 dismissed the suit, ruling that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to pursue the case.
On Wednesday, the three-member appeals panel said in its opinion, "The plaintiffs have not met their burden in pleading facts that establish the requisite injury in fact and therefore fail to demonstrate standing." The panel also noted that the suit alleged no facts demonstrating that the unidentified individual was affected by the mandate or that the cardiologist would be injured by the reform law (Pearson, Bloomberg, 8/3).
According to the ruling, "The case is â¦ unlike some of the other pending health care challenges, in which the plaintiffs alleged or demonstrated that they were experiencing some current financial harm or pressure arising out of the individual mandate's looming enforcement in 2014" (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 8/3).
Robert Conroy, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the appeals court ruling is a "minor setback." He said the group has 90 days to decide whether to refile its complaint or petition the U.S. Supreme Court.
He said, "It's inevitable that the Supreme Court will eventually reach the issue on the merits, and when it does, it will strike down the act as unconstitutional in its entirety" (Bloomberg, 8/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.