Obama Administration Files Formal Appeal in Case Against Reform Law
On Friday, the Obama administration filed a formal appellants brief in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta against a federal judge's ruling that the federal health reform law's individual mandate is unconstitutional and the entire law is invalid, the AP/Boston Globe reports (Bluestein, AP/Boston Globe, 4/3).
On Jan. 31, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson ruled that the health reform law's requirement that most U.S. residents purchase health coverage or face a penalty is unconstitutional. Vinson also invalidated the entire law because he concluded that the mandate is "inextricably bound" to other provisions in the law.
Amid conflicting interpretations of his ruling, Vinson on March 3 issued a stay of his ruling, permitting implementation of the overhaul to continue in the 26 states while the administration pursued an appeal.
On March 11, the 11th Circuit appeals court granted the administration's request to expedite an appeal of Vinson's ruling (California Healthline, 3/14).
Last week, the court announced that a randomly selected three-judge panel will hear oral arguments in the appeal on June 8 (Reuters, 3/31).
The brief, filed by the Department of Justice, says that Congress acted within its powers to enact the overhaul's mandate because it is a "rational means of regulating the way participants in the health care market pay for their services."
The administration warned that without the mandate, other crucial provisions of the law, such as prohibition denials of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, would be "unworkable" (AP/Boston Globe, 4/3).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.