The conservative Pacific Legal Foundation plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to overturn the Affordable Care Act based on the claim that the Constitution requires all tax-raising bills to originate in the House of Representatives. The lower courts have rejected the argument.
The court has twice turned back major challenges to the healthcare law, in opinions written by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 and in June. The court also has allowed family-owned businesses with religious objections to opt out of paying for contraceptives for women covered under their health plans. A related case involving faith-oriented colleges, hospitals and charities is pending.
The new appeal is being filed on behalf of small-business owner Matt Sissel.
The lower courts have rejected the group's argument. A unanimous three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Washington said that while the healthcare law does contain tax-raising provisions, its primary purpose was not to raise revenue, but rather to expand healthcare coverage.
When the full 11-judge appeals court considered whether to hear the case, the four Republican-appointed judges concluded that the legislation should qualify as revenue-producing. But they would have ruled in favor of the administration anyway. They said the bill properly originated in the House, even if the measure was stripped of its original language.
Nicholas Bagley, a health law expert at the University of the Michigan Law School, said he doubts the court will intervene. "There's disagreement on the appeals court about the rationale, but until there's disagreement about the right outcome, the Supreme Court has no reason to take the case," Bagley said.