Tuesday, November 15, 2011

High court scrutiny could reveal review is premature

Washington – Knowledgeable experts agree that the schedule March Supreme Court review of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 might prove premature. The Court will take up the issue during an unprecedented 5 hours of presentation by appellants and the U.S. Solicitor General.

Previous court holdings have ruled review of taxes which have yet to take effect are off limits in appeals.

The Richmond Circuit Court of Appeal made that ruling earlier this year, holding that since penalties for failure to comply with the act's requirement to buy health care insurance won't take effect until the year 2015, it's too early to examine any part of the new law.

Most agree that the central question facing Supreme Court Justices is that of the requirement that individuals either obtain insurance, or face panalties imposed by the IRS.

Only the Atlanta court has held that the entire issue is unconstitutional, that the Commerce Clause of Article 1 of the Constitution does not encompass such a power for Congress.

The court also will look at the expansion of the joint federal-state Medicaid program that provides health care to poorer Americans, even though no lower court called that provision into question. Florida and 25 other states argued unsuccessfully in lower courts that the law goes too far in coercing them to participate by threatening a cutoff of federal money. The states contend that the vast Medicaid expansion and the requirement that employers offer health insurance violate the Constitution.

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