The Affordable Care Act’s Legal Woes: NCPA
January 14, 2015
Upcoming legal challenges could shake the entire framework of Obamacare -- and the expansive action that has been the hallmark of its implementation, according to a new reportby National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Research Fellow Ann Purvis.
“The many lawsuits surrounding the Affordable Care Act are a reflection not only of the law’s complexity and controversy but also of the unprecedented amount of executive action surrounding the legislation,” says Purvis.
The ACA has been plagued by legal challenges since its inception – and this year will be no exception. Opponents of the ACA have filed suit against the legislation on the grounds that:
The religious “accommodation” violates religious freedom. The Obama administration has offered an "accommodation" to religiously affiliated organizations that object to the contraceptive mandate, but nonprofits contend that the accommodation still violates their religious liberty. These cases are pending in federal court.
The individual mandate violates the Origination Clause. The Supreme Court classified the individual mandate penalty as a “tax,” but under the Origination Clause of the Constitution, all taxes are required to originate in the House of Representatives – not in the Senate, where the ACA originated. Plaintiffs challenging the law on these grounds recently filed for a rehearing before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The IPAB unconstitutionally delegates congressional authority. The ACA created the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a panel which makes Medicare budgetary recommendations. Those recommendations become law unless Congress and the president can agree to an alternative proposal. Plaintiffs have appealed to the Supreme Court after an unfavorable ruling before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The IRS exceeded its authority. The IRS decided to grant premium subsidies to enrollees in federally-run exchanges, even though the text of the law only provides subsidies to those in state-run exchanges. Are the subsidies valid, or did the IRS exceed its authority? The Supreme Court will hear the case this spring.
“From the reach of congressional power to the scope of religious freedom, litigation over the Affordable Care Act has spanned judicial doctrines, with plaintiffs of all stripes — nuns, small businessmen, states and corporations — challenging the law’s many mandates and requirements that make it one of the most intrusive and far-reaching pieces of legislation in American history,” says Purvis. “Clearly, the law is a long way from being settled.”