11th Circuit Finds Individual Mandate Constitutional But Upholds Remainder of PPACA

<p> <font face="Arial" size="2">On Friday, the United States&rsquo; 11th Circuit Court of Appeals <a href="http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/linktrack.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fnewsmanager.commpartners.com%2Fnahuw%2Fdownloads%2F11thCircuit.pdf" target="_blank">ruled</a> that the PPACA individual mandate requirement that requires nearly all Americans to buy insurance is unconstitutional.&nbsp;However, when ruling on the case that&nbsp;26 states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) have brought against the federal government, the appeals panel did find that the law&rsquo;s expansion of the Medicaid program is constitutional and that the remainder of the law can stand.</font></p> <p> <font face="Arial" size="2">Friday&rsquo;s ruling is contrary to the original federal court ruling in the case, where Judge Roger Vinson found the individual mandate provision unconstitutional and ruled that since PPACA does not contain a severability clause, the whole law was invalidated.&nbsp;The Court of Appeals' ruling also all but ensures that this case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which begins its next term in October.&nbsp;Of all the pending challenges to PPACA making their way through the court system, there are several strong reasons why the Supreme Court will likely take up this particular case.&nbsp;First of all, it is the largest and most high-profile challenge, as it stems from 26 states and a large national business group.&nbsp;Also, two circuit courts have now ruled in opposite directions on this case&mdash;the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the individual mandate in the Virginia challenge case earlier this year&mdash;giving the Supreme Court a compelling reason to act.&nbsp;Finally, in all likelihood the Obama administration will be the one seeking out the Supreme Court appeals request, and the high court almost always agrees to review cases when requested by the federal government, particularly when the case is high profile.</font></p> <p> <font face="Arial" size="2">The Department of Justice has not determined what their next step will be, simply issuing the following statement on Friday: &ldquo;The Department of Justice believes&mdash;as the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held, and the dissenting judge in the 11th Circuit concluded&mdash;that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. We strongly disagree with the court&rsquo;s decision. We are considering the next appropriate steps.&rdquo; </font></p> <p> <font face="Arial" size="2">To move the case forward, the Obama administration essentially has two options&mdash;appeal directly to the Supreme Court or ask the entire 11th Circuit to review the case first (called a review en banc).&nbsp;However, asking for the en banc review of the case would merely delay the matter, since whoever is the losing party will eventually appeal to the Supreme Court. Also, the administration probably wouldn&rsquo;t fare well in an en banc review, since&nbsp;six&nbsp;of the 11th Circuit Court judges were appointed by GOP presidents and one of the court&rsquo;s five Democratic judges, Frank Hall, has already ruled against them.&nbsp;The only reason why the Obama administration might try that tact would be to attempt to delay Supreme Court action beyond the 2012 presidential election.</font></p> <p> <font face="Arial" size="2">In addition to the 11th Circuit Court ruling last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also issued a much less controversial ruling in a PPACA-challenge chase.&nbsp;They upheld a lower court&rsquo;s ruling and rejected a challenge brought by a former California state lawmaker and the Pacific Justice Institute, finding that neither party had a legal standing to challenge the law.</font></p>
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