Friday, August 12, 2011

11th Circuit Court of Appeals rules health law individual mandate unconstitutional

In a 2-1 ruling, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled today that the individual mandate in the health law was unconstitutional, upholding a decision of the Northern District Court of Florida issued on January 31, 2011.  The Appeals Court overturned the portion of the District Court ruling that struck down the entire law so everything in the law other than the individual mandate remains “legally operative.” 

Ultimately, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the law and could take up the case as soon as October of this year.  It is uncertain whether the health reform could succeed without an individual mandate since healthy individuals might not purchase health insurance in the exchanges.  If that happened, premiums for health coverage through the exchanges would go up 15% to 20% or more. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has published a analysis of how health reform might be impacted by a ruling by the Supreme Court that declared the individual mandate unconstitutional but upheld the rest of the law as did the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  You can read the RWJF report here:

Here is a summary from Kaiser Health News showing the status of 26 federal lawsuits that have been filed challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Appeals Court Status & Rulings
  • Florida vs. HHS: Appeals court found individual mandate unconstitutional (jump to)
  • New Jersey Physicians vs. Obama: Appeals court upheld district court dismissal on Aug. 3 (jump to)
  • Thomas More Law Center vs. Obama: Appeals court ruled law constitutional on June 29 (jump to)
  • Virginia vs. Sebelius: Oral arguments heard May 10 (jump to)
  • Liberty University vs. Geithner:  Oral arguments heard May 10 (jump to)
  • Baldwin & Pacific Justice Institute vs. Sebelius: Oral arguments heard July 13 (jump to)
  • Susan Seven-Sky vs. Holder: Oral arguments scheduled for Sept. 23 (jump to)
District Court Status & Rulings
  • Court overturned law or part of law: 2 cases (jump to)
  • Court ruled law constitutional and dismissed case: 6 cases (jump to)
  • Court dismissed for lack of standing or procedural problems: 9 cases (jump to)
  • Court dismissed but gave plaintiff right to refile: 1 case (jump to)
  • Court decision pending: 8 cases (jump to)

Read more on the status of cases challenging the health law here:

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