A number of states have joined in an appeal to the United States Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the insurance mandate section of the Affordable Care Act. Some lower Circuit Courts of Appeals, such as the 11th Circuit Court ruled last August that the insurance mandate was unconstitutional because it stepped beyond the powers given the federal government by the US Constitution. Other courts have ruled it is constitutional, so now it is being left up to SCOTUS to decide. They are to hear arguments in March and no one is saying when they will have a final decision.
Joining in the Supreme Court Process are four advocacy groups that have banned together to file an amicus brief with the high court. The Benjamin Rush Society, Galen Institute, Pacific Research Institute and Docs 4 Patient Care brought their combined efforts into a 39 page brief that was filed with the Supreme Court this week. Besides arguing the unconstitutionality of the mandate, the brief offers arguments showing that the insurance mandate will not work in the cost of insurance on the part of the provider and the individual.
Docs 4 Patient Care is an organization created by practicing physicians to help protect patients’ rights and freedom of choice. Dr. Hal Scherz, founder of the group said,
“This decision will determine not just the fate of a ruinous health care policy, but the behavior of the federal government from this point forward. If it can force individuals to purchase a product, then there is no limit to what the government can force its citizens to do.”
The Galen Institute is a non-profit research organization geared to promoting policies that would enhance patient care within the health sector. John Hoff, secretary of the group expressed their concerns by saying,
“The brief demonstrates the fallacy of the government’s claim that the individual mandate cures any problem of shifting costs of uncompensated care to private insurance and explains why Congress lacked authority under the Constitution to impose the mandate.”
In a joint statement, Pacific Research Institute President and CEO Sally Pipes and Benjamin Rush Society Executive Director John Graham said,
“In essence our brief makes clear that the mandate has no connection to solving any problem that substantially affects interstate commerce. Neither is it a necessary and proper means for carrying into execution the commerce power. The Obama administration’s claim that the individual mandate is needed to avoid cost-shifting by the uninsured is contrary to the government’s own facts and analysis. Rather than reducing $43 billion in uncompensated care, the mandate would actually increase uncompensated care by between $.5 billion to $3 billion. Thus, the cure is worse than the disease.”
We can only hope and pray that the US Supreme Court follows the advice of the amicus brief filed by these 4 organizations and the ruling made by the 11 US Circuit Court of Appeals when they make their final decision on the insurance mandate later this year.