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Inactivity The Latest Step In Deciding Individual Mandate's Constitutionality

09/28/11

  12:40:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 216 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Inactivity The Latest Step In Deciding Individual Mandate's Constitutionality

More legal maneuverings – this time, by the Obama administration – as we head up to a likely Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of the individual mandate. And this time, the only action taken was inaction.

MedPage Today reports that the administration deliberately missed a deadline to request that the full 11-judge panel U.S. Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit review an August decision by an 11th Circuit three-judge panel, which ruled that Americans cannot be required to purchase health insurance. By not filing the necessary papers for an “en banc” hearing, the administration is now free to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the earlier ruling.

Assuming the administration makes its request by the November deadline, the Supreme Court would probably consider the case during its 2011-12 term, meaning a final decision could be handed down during early summer 2012.

The original suit, filed by 26 states, alleges that the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution – that is, a person who chooses not to buy health insurance isn’t engaging in interstate commerce, which is regulated by the federal government. The Obama administration argues that the non-purchase of insurance is an economic activity, as the medical costs of the uninsured are passed on to other taxpayers.

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