States, NFIB File Briefs Against Reform Law’s Individual Mandate
On Monday, lawyers for 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business filed briefs with the Supreme Court arguing that requiring nearly all U.S. residents to purchase health coverage is outside of Congress' constitutional power, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
In the brief, the attorneys general wrote, "If Congress really had this remarkable authority, it would not have waited 220 years to exercise it" (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 2/6).
In a brief filed last month, the Department of Justice argued that the health care market is unusual because nearly everyone enters the market during the course of their lifetime, often without planning and regardless of whether they are insured.
It argued that insurance is a means of funding the inevitable, instead of a stand-alone product that Congress is forcing individuals to purchase (Sanger-Katz, National Journal, 2/6).
The attorneys general's brief countered that argument. It stated, "Every decision not to purchase a good or service has a substantial effect on the interstate market for that good or service once aggregated with the similar decisions of other individuals," adding, "A power to control every class of decisions that has a substantial effect on interstate commerce would be nothing less than a power to control nearly every decision that an individual makes" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 2/6).
NFIB in its brief said the law would force U.S. residents to subsidize insurers that must provide broader coverage than required under previous rules (Winfield Cunningham, Washington Times, 2/6). Lawyers for the group said requiring healthy people to purchase something they do not believe they need would be "harmful" (Norman , CQ HealthBeat, 2/6).
Obama Administration, States Agree That Anti-Injunction Act Should Not Apply
In separate briefs, the Obama administration and the states argued that the Anti-Injunction Act should not apply to the case.
DOJ said the law applies to the collection of taxes, rather than penalties as required under the health reform law. The states agreed in a separate brief that the case should move forward and that the Anti-Injunction Act should not stand in the way (Norman , CQ HealthBeat, 2/6).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.