Thursday, July 7, 2011
Panel Of U.S. Court Of Appeals Ruled Minimum Coverage Provision Of The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act Is Valid Exercise Of Legislative Power
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, ruled on June 29 that the minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause.” (Thomas More Law Center v. Obama, (CA 6 06/29/2011) 108 AFTR 2d ¶ 2011-5003, No. 10-2388) This was the first appellate review of the health care legislation, and decisions are expected in the near future in two additional circuits. One of the judges in the majority, Jeffrey Sutton, is the first Republican-appointed jurist to rule in favor of the individual coverage mandate. The court specifically considered “whether the provision falls within Congress's power to regulate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce.” The majority found that “by regulating the practice of self-insuring for the cost of health care delivery, the minimum coverage provision is facially constitutional under the Commerce Clause for two independent reasons. First, the provision regulates economic activity that Congress had a rational basis to believe has substantial effects on interstate commerce. In addition, Congress had a rational basis to believe that the provision was essential to its larger economic scheme reforming the interstate markets in health care and health insurance.” The court's decision can be found at http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/11a0168p-06.pdf.