Law Center Asks High Court To Review Health Reform Law Decision
On Wednesday, the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, Mich., petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review and overturn a decision by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upholding the individual mandate in the federal health reform law, ReutersÂ reports (Vicini, Reuters, 7/27).
The lawsuit, originally filed in 2010 by TMLC and two individuals, alleges that the commerce clause does not give Congress the authority to compel residents to buy an insurance product.
In June, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit court in a 2-1 decision upheld a lower court ruling that the federal health reform law's individual mandate -- which requires most U.S. residents to purchase insurance or pay a penalty -- is constitutional.
Among the nearly two dozen challenges to the reform law, the decision marked the first time that a mid-level federal court ruled on the overhaul. It also signaled the first victory at the appeals level for the Obama administration in its defense of the law (California Healthline, 6/30). Further, one of the judges that ruled in favor of the overhaul was appointed by a Republican, making him the first such judge to side with the reform lawÂ (AP/Washington Post, 7/27).
Law Center's Petition
The law center's petition to the high court states that if the mandate "is understood to fall within Congress' commerce clause authority, the federal government will have absolute and unfettered power to create complex regulatory schemes to fix every perceived problem imaginable and to do so by ordering private citizens to engage in affirmative acts, under penalty of law" (Carlson, Modern Healthcare, 7/27).
The case is the first of several appeals cases related to the health reform law likely to reach the high court (Reuters, 7/27). Although the court accepts only a fraction of the petitions for oral arguments each year, most legal experts believe the high court ultimately will rule on the overhaul.
The Supreme Court has not yet announced which cases it will consider during its next term, which begins in October (Modern Healthcare, 7/27). According to the AP/Washington Post, the soonest the court would consider the case would be early 2012 (AP/Washington Post, 7/27).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.