Federal Appeals Court OKs Individual Mandate

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , June 30, 2011
Among the key statements:
  • "Thomas More argues that the minimum coverage provision exceeds Congress's power under the Commerce Clause because it regulates inactivity. However, the text of the Commerce Clause does not acknowledge a constitutional distinction between activity and inactivity, and neither does the Supreme Court. Furthermore, far from regulating inactivity, the provision regulates active participation in the healthcare market."
  •  "Congress had a rational basis for concluding that leaving those individuals who self-insure for the cost of healthcare outside federal control would undercut its overlying economic regulatory scheme. Congress found that without the minimum coverage provision, the guaranteed issue and community rating provisions would increase existing incentives for individuals to delay purchasing health insurance until they need care."
  • "Congress had a rational basis for concluding that the minimum coverage requirement is essential to its broader reforms to the national markets in healthcare delivery and health insurance. Therefore the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of Commerce Clause power.

According to the New York Times, the ruling "is the first of three opinions to be delivered by separate courts of appeal that heard arguments in the healthcare litigation in May and June. Opinions are expected soon from panels in both the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va. And the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta."

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