SUPREME COURT LETS HEALTH LAW STAND

Supreme Court lets health law stand. In our ongoing coverage of cases related to either tax issues, or Tax Court, we look at a case the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on recently. Tax Resolution Services sometimes spill over into the need for Tax Court Representation. The court ruled that several states and other plaintiffs that sued, asking the federal courts to declare unconstitutional the so-called individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, did not have standing to sue because they could not show that they had suffered or would suffer an injury. The decision avoids the question of the constitutionality of the individual mandate and leaves the health care aw in place. Under Section 5000A, enacted by PPACA, individuals are required to obtain minimum essential health coverage or pay a penalty. However, the law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced that penalty to zero. Texas, along with more than a dozen other states and two individuals, sued federal officials, claiming that without a monetary penalty, Sec. 5000A is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012), held the mandate was constitutional because the penalty is a tax and a justified exercise of Congress’s taxing power, without the penalty, the plaintiff’s argued, the mandate is not longer tied to Congress taxing power and therefore is unconstitutional. Supreme Court lets health law stand.

A district court found that the plaintiffs had standing to sue and agreed that Sec. 5000A is unconstitutional and not severable form the rest of PPACA. The Fifth Circuit agreed with the district court on the issue of standing and the unconstitutionality issue. It then cam before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court in a 7-2 decision, held that the plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of Sec. 5000A because they could not show they suffered a past of future injury from enforcement of Sec. 5000A’s minimum essential coverage mandate. Without standing in the court, the plaintiff’s case was tossed out.