Employee Benefits Compliance, Laws, Regulations & FAQs

Administration Appeals Health Care Reform Case to Supreme Court

The Obama Administration filed an appeal to the US Supreme Court yesterday (Sept. 28, 2011), asking that it review the 11th circuit court decision striking down the individual mandate, a central part of the health are reform law enacted in March 2010. The case is Florida v HHS, in which the appeals court upheld the district court ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The appeal of this case means the Supreme Court is almost certain to grant certiorari and hear this case, and probably render a decision before the 2012 elections. The new Supreme Court term will begin next Monday (October 3), and the justices will likely hear oral arguments in early 2012 and render a decision in the summer of 2012, just before the Presidential elections.

The Supreme Court grants cert is when there is a split among the circuits, as there is on the issue of the individual mandate. Although the 11th circuit held the individual mandate unconstitutional, two other appeals courts have rejected challenges to the individual mandate. One of those other cases has already been appealed to the Supreme Court (Thomas More Law Center v Obama, 6th circuit).

At the district court case of Florida v HHS, the state of Florida was joined by 26 other states and by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). NFIB and the states also filed petitions for certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The primary issue is whether Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the individual mandate, which requires most individuals who are lawfully present in the U.S. to have or buy health coverage in 2014, or pay a penalty for not having it.