White House Petitions Supreme Court To Review Reform Law
On Wednesday, the Obama administration filed a formal request to the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that declared the individual mandate in the federal health reform law unconstitutional, the New York Times reports (Liptak, New York Times, 9/28).
In August, the three-judge panel reviewed the multistate lawsuit against the overhaul and became the first appellate court to rule against any part of the law. However, the court upheld the remainder of the law.
Requests for Review
The plaintiffs in the case -- 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business -- on Wednesday also requested that the high court review the case and said the entire law should be struck down. NFIB said the panel's ruling creates uncertainty for businesses regarding the overhaul's costs and requirements (California Healthline, 9/28).
Both sides agreed that a quick decision is desirable. "Until this court decides the extent to which the [law] survives, the entire nation will remain mired in doubt, which imposes an enormous drag on the economy," NFIB officials said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice -- which filed its appeal more than month before it was due -- said an early ruling would allow the federal government to "get on with the business of implementing the law."
The Supreme Court is not required to hear the case (Kendall/Meckler, Wall Street Journal, 9/29). However, disparate rulings in three separate appellate courts and the petitions from both sides of the lawsuit make it "all but certain" the court will accept the case, according to the Times (New York Times, 9/28). If it accepts the case, the high court could issue a ruling as early as June 2012 (California Healthline, 9/27).
Administration Takes Risk, Confident of Outcome
The administration is taking a risk by requesting the high court quickly review the case, Politico reports. According to Politico, the court could rule against the constitutionality of the law in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign. Further, arguments in the case also could generate media coverage of the least popular provisions in the overhaul (Nather, Politico, 9/28).
However, administration officials expressed confidence that the high court would rule in favor of the reform law (New York Times, 9/28). "We know the [health reform law] is constitutional. We are confident the Supreme Court will agree," Stephanie Cutter, a White House adviser, said.
Still, the administration also is preparing for the event that the high court strikes down only certain aspects of the overhaul. According to the Journal, that would allow the White House to control how the remaining provisions are implemented (Wall Street Journal, 9/29).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.