Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2011

Obama appeals health care setback to high court

September 29, 2011


— Raising prospects for a major election-year ruling, the Obama administration launched its Supreme Court defense of its landmark health care overhaul Wednesday, appealing what it called a “fundamentally flawed” appeals court decision that declared the law’s central provision unconstitutional.

Destined from the start for a high court showdown, the health care law affecting virtually every American seems sure to figure prominently in President Barack Obama’s campaign for re-election next year. Republican contenders are already assailing it in virtually every debate and speech.

The administration formally appealed a ruling by the federal appeals court in Atlanta that struck down the law’s core requirement that individuals buy health insurance or pay a penalty beginning in 2014.

At the same time, however, the winners in that appellate case, 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, also asked for high court review Wednesday, saying the entire law, and not just the individual insurance mandate, should be struck down.

The Supreme Court almost always weighs in when a lower court has struck down all or part of a federal law, to say nothing of one that aims to extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans.

The bigger question had been the timing. The administration’s filing makes it more likely that the case will be heard and decided in the term that begins next week.

Repeating arguments it has made in courts across the country in response to many challenges to the law, the administration said Congress was well within its constitutional power to enact the insurance requirement.

Disagreeing with that, the 26 states and business group said in their filings that the justices should act before the 2012 presidential election because of uncertainty over costs and requirements.

On the issue of timing, their cause got an unexpected boost from retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who said voters would be better off if they knew the law’s fate law before casting their ballots next year.

The 91-year-old Stevens said in an Associated Press interview that the justices would not shy away from deciding the case in the middle of a presidential campaign and would be doing the country a service. “It would be better to have that known about than be speculated as a part of the political argument,” Stevens said in his Supreme Court office overlooking the Capitol.

Though the Atlanta appeals court struck down the individual insurance requirement, it upheld the rest of the law. The states and the business group say that would still impose huge new costs.

In another challenge to the same law, the federal appeals court in Cincinnati sided with the administration. In a separate Supreme Court filing Tuesday night, the Obama administration said it does not appear necessary to grant review of the Cincinnati case and the government added that consolidating the two cases could complicate the presentation of arguments “without a sufficient corresponding benefit.”

The law would extend health coverage mainly through subsidies to purchase private insurance and an expansion of Medicaid. The states object to the Medicaid expansion and a provision forcing them to cover their employees’ health care at a level set by the government.

The individual insurance mandate “indisputably served as the centerpiece of the delicate compromise that produced” the law, according to the states, with Florida taking the lead.

The administration said in the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the law’s changes in the insurance market, including requiring insurers to cover people without regard for pre-existing health conditions, would not work without the participation mandate.

The insurance requirement is intended to force healthier people who might otherwise forgo insurance into the pool of insured, helping to reduce private insurers’ financial risk.

Both appeals stressed the importance of resolving the overhaul’s constitutionality as soon as possible, which under normal court procedures would be by June 2012.

While a decision in that time frame would come in the midst of a heated presidential campaign, the NFIB said it is more important to resolve uncertainty about costs and requirements than drag out consideration into 2013 or beyond.

“When you talk to our members and other small-business owners about what is the biggest problem they’re facing, they say uncertainty,” said Karen Harned, executive director of the NFIB’s legal division. “When you ask what, one of first answers is the health care law.”


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

I hope they strike it down-- then we can go to a single-payer system that will be a big step towards fixing the healthcare system, and be simultaneously be one of the single greatest boosts to small businesses that we could provide.

voevoda 6 years, 5 months ago

Both the constitutional issue and the cost issue of the health care act would have been avoided if Congress had retained the "public option" in the original plan. But too many congresspersons got scared off by the outrageously untrue rhetoric of the Tea Party, with their falsehoods about "death panels" and "socialism."
I agree, bozo, that a single-payer system would be cheaper for our nation and it would provide better care than 80%+ of Americans now receive. Not to mention making administration of health care simpler and freeing employers from the burden of providing insurance coverage (or shirking that burden).

Wadde 6 years, 5 months ago

  I'm voting for obama in next coming years election because were not seeing the fruits 
  in the health care plan that is constuitional by a fifth of a margin barack has second sight
  with an appeal that will shake the supreme court.

Just as barack's up and coming Vertigo's Hillary Clinton a "Great black eye" in the face 
of our wrecking economy as she did in the east coast in 1992 in saving the economy in

Boston Mass..obama is just warming up to the fight of the Silver mallet

that will win his election in coming years...

Wadde 6 years, 5 months ago

  The plan will work Just like Social Security I am  (FOR) this plan because it forces Health Care System that will work for those that are at risk especially the( elderly) that cannot be coverd by commercial Health Insurance ..

tbaker 6 years, 5 months ago

The question before the court is whether or not the Constitution authorizes Congress to mandate (force) individuals to purchase health insurance or suffer a fine. Even the broadest "modern" interpretations of what limits Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause are based on interstate economic “activity.” What Obamacare seeks to control is a person's "inactivity." Allowing Congress to force people into buying something would be unprecedented. It would fundamentally change the relationship between the people, and the government that is supposed to be of, for, and by the people. US citizens themselves are sovereign, not our government. Our government is supposed to be our “public servants.” Obamacare attempts to alter this relationship is a way that is wholly un-American. There is a long list of things Congress could enact that would make healthcare less expensive, available to more people, and help maintain its high quality that are both free (cost tax-payers nothing) and constitutional that would make this disgusting power-grab / assault on our liberty totally unnecessary.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

This is the same Supreme Court Barry used as a punching bag during a State of the Union address?

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