The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who famously said the Affordable Care Act should be called “SCOTUScare,” leaves in limbo a number of health care-related cases. The news also quickly sparked a debate over who would replace him amid the presidential campaign.
The Supreme Court justices are considering a number of important health care cases focusing on topics including abortion and the ACA’s contraception mandate.
The court is also weighing a case about data sharing with potential implications for insurers and state health care reform efforts and another case with the potential to reduce—or increase—the number of False Claims Act suits brought against health care providers and other companies.
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wasn’t a fan of the Affordable Care Act and opposed it when it came before the nation’s high court every time.
Known for his blunt writings, here are some highlights from a dissenting opinion he wrote, published June 15, 2015, in what was the high court’s second major decision upholding President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Scalia wrote the following passages in the famous King vs. Burwell case on behalf of a three-vote minority that included Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. The entire dissent can be read here.
Click through to read five of the best quotes from Scalia’s dissent.
The Supreme Court agreed Friday to settle a widespread dispute between the Obama administration and religious non-profits over insurance coverage for birth control, which is sure to elevate issues of religious freedom and reproductive rights in next year’s presidential campaign.
The Pacific Legal Foundation filed an appeal Monday asking the Supreme Court to hear a new challenge to the Affordable Care Act which argues that the ACA’s taxes are unconstitutional because they originated in a bill written by the Senate.
Under the Constitution’s Origination Clause, all bills that levy and raise taxes must begin in the House of Representatives. Contrary to this provision, the text of the ACA was written by the Senate and later adopted by the House. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gutted an unrelated House bill, leaving only the bill number, and in its place, he inserted the 2,076 pages of the ACA.
The PLF contends that the ACA’s taxes were therefore unconstitutionally created in a bill written by the Senate.
In 2012, the Supreme Court decided in NFIB v. Sebelius that the individual mandate, a requirement in the ACA forcing Americans to purchase health insurance or else pay a penalty, is indeed a tax. The Supreme Court did not however address the implications of the Origination Clause on this conclusion.
PLF’s lawsuit, Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, specifically targets the individual mandate to prove that all of the ACA’s taxes are unconstitutional under the Origination Clause.
“Beyond its assault on healthcare freedom, Obamacare represents an attack on some core constitutional principles and protections for taxpayers,” according to PLF’s Principal Attorney Timothy Sandefur. “Obamacare raises taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, but it was enacted in violation of the Origination Clause, which was designed to safeguard against arbitrary and reckless taxation.”
Four of the nine justices must vote to hear the case before it is placed on the court’s docket.
View PLF’s petition for writ of certiorari here.
Given how unpersuasive some Obamacare rulings have been, it’s easy to become cynical. But both sides have won and lost on some big issues. Thus, it is a mistake to think that there are five justices who will always vote to uphold Obamacare. The Origination Clause challenge to Obamacare that the Supreme Court is being asked to review today, Sissel v. HHS, presents some truly novel issues, as the debate among appellate judges this summer demonstrates. It also justifies a review of ten myths about Obamacare litigation.
Opponents of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul are taking yet another challenge to the law to the Supreme Court, and say they will be back with more if this one fails. A new appeal being filed Monday by the Pacific Legal Foundation contends the law violates the provision of the Constitution that requires tax-raising bills to originate in the House of Representatives.
Three states are firing the latest volley in the court battles over ObamaCare with a new lawsuit filed Thursday over the law’s fee on health insurers.
Texas, joined by Kansas and Louisiana, is suing the Obama administration over the alleged “unconstitutional Obamacare tax.”
Public opposition to ObamaCare has lasted far longer than its authors imagined. Unsubsidized consumers avoid ObamaCare coverage. Twenty states have rejected its Medicaid expansion. Congress wants to repeal it. President Obama and the Supreme Court have repeatedly amended and expanded it, transforming the statute Congress enacted into an illegitimate law that no Congress ever had the votes to pass, and making repeal not just an economic imperative but necessary to restore the Constitution’s system of checks and balances.
Obamacare is back in court.
This month, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has standing to sue the Obama administration over how it spent federal money implementing the Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit, brought by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), challenges billions of dollars the administration gave to insurers to reduce out-of-pocket costs for almost 6 million low-income Americans.
In King v. Burwell, the Supreme Court held that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be read to authorize tax credits for the purchase of health insurance in exchanges established by the federal government lest the ACA’s other reforms destabilize the individual health insurance market in states served by federal exchanges. In “King v. Burwell and the Triumph of Selective Constitutionalism,” Michael Cannon and I dissect the court’s reasoning in King, highlighting the court’s abandonment of textualist principles (as others have noted) and the court’s reliance on a highly selective use of context to support its ultimate conclusion.