Affordable Care Act headed to the U.S. Supreme Court
Republican officials from twenty-six states and a small business advocacy group asked the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday to strike down the entire 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In separate appeals, the coalition of states and the National Federation of Independent Business said the entire health reform law should be set aside because Congress exceeded its authority. Under the law, Americans are given the option of purchasing health care insurance or paying a penalty.
The next SCOTUS term begins next week and continues through June 2012. The appeals made the case that a decision should be rendered quickly by the court — an argument that is also expected from the U.S. Department of Justice, which is charged with defending the law. Even if the case is fast-tracked and decided prior to the 2012 general election, however, there is little chance of it disappearing as a campaign trail issue.
The NFIB contends that it represents 350,000 small businesses in the U.S. It joined the states, which are led by Florida, in challenging the reforms.
“Until this court decides the extent to which the [reform] survives, the entire nation will remain mired in doubt, which imposes an enormous drag on the economy,” reads the NFIB petition. Similarly, the states’ petition cited a need for resolution to allow state government and budget planning.
Earlier this week, the DOJ chose not to ask the 11th Circuit to reconsider its earlier ruling, which has expedited the challengers’ petitions before SCOTUS.
At key issue is an August ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which struck down the portion of the law requiring health insurance or a penalty, but allow the remainder of the legislation to stand. In doing so, the appellate court rejected the GOP attack of the law as an expansion of Medicaid, which provides federal and state government-subsidized care to low-income Americans.
Although the government lost in the 11th Circuit, it has prevailed in two other appellate courts, and is expected to file its own petition to SCOTUS.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad added Iowa to the Florida-led lawsuit in January — nearly a year after it was originally filed. The states of Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine also joined the suit at roughly the same time.
Additional plaintiffs are South Carolina, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho, South Dakota, Indiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Alaska and North Dakota.