Supreme Court Allows NFIB To Add Plaintiffs to Health Reform Law Case
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court approved the National Federation of Independent Business' request to add two more plaintiffs to the multistate lawsuit challenging the federal health reform law, Modern Healthcare reports (Carlson, Modern Healthcare, 1/17).
NFIB's request came after another individual plaintiff in the case -- Mary Brown of Panama City, Fla. -- closed her auto repair shop and filed for personal bankruptcy, putting her legal standing to sue in question.
NFIB received permission to add Dana Grimes of Greenwich, N.Y., and David Klemencic of West Virginia. Grimes owns a building and home contracting services business, and Klemencic owns a flooring business.
As a result, the suit now includes four individual plaintiffs, NFIB and 26 states.
Pelosi, Reid File Brief
Meanwhile, Democrats -- led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- on Friday filed a brief with the high court defending the overhaul, CQ HealthBeat reports.
In the brief, the lawmakers portrayed the lawsuit as a partisan squabble, adding, "The challengers' disagreement with the manner Congress has chosen to regulate the health insurance market is an occasion for political debate, not a matter for judicial imposition."
The brief adds that it is an "astonishing proposition" to argue that Congress cannot regulate health care, and maintained that the law was written with "careful attention to Supreme Court precedents defining the proper bounds of Congress' constitutional authority."
Further, they wrote that the arguments being pursued by the plaintiffs would "seriously undermine Congress's constitutional authority and its practical ability to address pressing national problems" (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 1/17).
Reform Supporters Proceed With Caution
The confidence that many supporters of the health reform law have that the Supreme Court would easily rule in favor of the overhaul is eroding, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
According to "Healthwatch," many overhaul supporters initially believed that the lawsuits against the overhaul were "frivolous" and that they easily would be turned away. However, the high court dedicated a record-high six hours to hear arguments in the case, which observers note is an indication that the justices are taking the case seriously.
Still, overhaul supporters continue to believe that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the law.
Timothy Jost, a health policy expert at Washington and Lee University, said, "I think probably the courts took the minimum coverage requirement more seriously than a lot of us had expected ... but I still think that the Supreme Court is going to have to stray pretty far from established precedent to find that it's unconstitutional" (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/18).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.