The Obama administration wants a chance to justify—through oral arguments—the individual insurance coverage mandate contained within the healthcare reform law. The mandate is constitutional because it aims to cut the huge cost of uncompensated care, according to a new Obama administration brief filed in a Michigan case.
Administration seeks oral arguments in individual appeals case
The Obama administration's brief was filed Jan. 14 in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati as part of its response to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's requirement that most Americans buy health insurance. That requirement—enforced by a tax penalty—is allowed under the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause because it attempts to mitigate the annual $43 billion cost of uncompensated care, according to the filing. The individual mandate also is “essential to the viability” of the law's other provisions that broadened access to new and renewed insurance policies.
The filing came in a case brought by the conservative Thomas More Law Center, which argued that the individual mandate is unconstitutional because it regulates inactivity. U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh in Detroit rejected that argument and upheld the individual mandate.
In a separate challenge to the mandate, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, Va., ruled in December that the requirement for individual insurance is unconstitutional.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.