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More Constitutional Decisions on PPACA

Posted in Payer/Insurance Reform, PPACA

The constitutional challenges to PPACA keep coming in.  So far, the tally is two decisions for and two against.  Two decisions are currently on appeal, and the most recent decision will likely be headed to the appellate courts soon.

The decisions in favor of PPACA:

As reported earlier here and at SSD’s Sixth Circuit blog, in October, a federal court in Michigan dismissed claims raised in Thomas More Law Ctr v. Obama (pdf) that PPACA’s requirement of individual health insurance was constitutional.  The issue will be presented to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals early next year.

In November, the federal court for the Western District of Virginia found that Congress was within its authority in passing PPACA and that dismissed claims challenging the statute on religious and other constitutional grounds in Liberty University v. Geithner (pdf).  This case is also on appeal, to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, with briefing in the first quarter of 2011.

The decisions against PPACA:

Also in October, a federal judge in Florida ruled in Florida v. Dept. of Health and Human Services (pdf) that the plaintiffs’ claim that PPACA was unconstitutional was sufficient to avoid early dismissal.  This case is currently being briefed, with the court expected to issue a final ruling early in 2011.

Yesterday, a second federal court in Virginia (a different district in Virginia than the court that decided the Liberty University case) ruled in Virginia v. Sebelius (pdf), that PPACA’s individual health insurance requirements exceeded Congress’ authority.  Notably, though, the court denied the state’s request for an injunction that would have prohibited enforcement of at least portions of PPACA because the provisions at issue do not take effect for several years and the constitutionality of PPACA will ultimately be decided by higher courts.

As noted by Bill Mears’ article for CNN and Jim Nolan’s article for the Richmond Times, these cases are likely headed through the appeals process to the United States Supreme Court.