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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Affordable Care Act Continues to Face Legal Challenges

Last spring, 26 states and business organizations filed lawsuits against President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Forty of those lawsuits originated from churches, hospitals, schools and religious institutions who oppose the inclusion of abortion and contraception in the new health care law.

These cases were brought to the Supreme Court and narrowly upheld the federal law by a 5-4 ruling. But unrest continues and will most likely result in further lawsuits. Not all lawsuits are challenging the birth control and abortion issue. Some of the lawsuits are raising valid issues regarding privacy and the legality of penalties and imposing of taxes on those who do not purchase insurance.

A think tank from Arizona, The Goldwater Institute, has stated that individuals are forced to buy insurance to avoid the tax penalty and must share confidential information with the federal government when applying for insurance. They feel this is an invasion of privacy. Another advocacy group called Pacific Legal Foundation points out that the whole tax penalty requirement is illegal because it originated from the Senate; tax laws must originate with the House.

The Administration's response has been business as usual, focusing on completing the organization and operation of state exchanges. Defenders of the law have indicated that the tough legal battles have been won and those remaining will be addressed. The Affordable Care Act continues to be referred to as the law of the land and is unlikely to be unraveled by any of the pending or forthcoming lawsuits from states, schools, advocacy groups, or other organizations or even likely to get the attention of the Supreme Court.

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