Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Legal Setback for the Affordable Care Act — NEJM

We have become accustomed to off the wall ideas being embraced by the United States Supreme Court (e.g. Chief Justice Warren Burger dismissed out of hand the idea of an individual right to bear arms - a right enshrined now by a court majority).
Another is that arguments between the branches about how to enforce a law are best left to the Congress and President to work out.  And that a significant stake in the outcome is required to afford federal court jurisdiction.  Congress as an institution has no such stake.  But now a District Court has tossed aside these will established doctrines in the relentless effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act. - gwc
A Legal Setback for the Affordable Care Act — NEJM: Perspective from The New England Journal of Medicine — A Legal Setback for the Affordable Care Act
by Nicholas Bagley, J.D. (University of Michigan Law School)
“Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and re-write federal law on his own without a vote of Congress. That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.” With these words, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced in late 2014 that the House of Representatives had filed a lawsuit challenging one of the major struts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Obama administration, the House alleged, was illegally reimbursing health plans for reducing the out-of-pocket spending of their low-income enrollees.
Many supporters of health care reform saw the litigation not as a matter of principle, but as another partisan effort to achieve in the courts what the ACA’s opponents couldn’t accomplish politically. The ACA, they rightly noted, instructs the executive branch to make the very payments that the House argued were unlawful. And they doubted that the House could make a federal case out of what was, at bottom, a political dispute with the administration. None of the earlier judicial attacks on health care reform had proven successful. Why would this one?
On May 12, 2016, however, a district court in Washington, D.C., handed the House of Representatives a stunning victory. The court agreed with the House that the Obama administration lacks the power to make the challenged payments to health plans. At the same time, the court reaffirmed its earlier decision holding that the House had standing to sue the administration over the payment dispute. If the court’s decision is upheld on appeal, it could increase federal spending, swell the rolls of the uninsured, and deal a body blow to the ACA.

No comments:

Post a Comment