July 28, 2014

DOJ’s SCOTUS Brief Defends Constitutionality of Individual Mandate

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently filed a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The DOJ’s brief delineates the administration’s main legal arguments:

  • The minimum coverage provision of the ACA falls “well within” Congress’ commerce power. In making this argument, the DOJ contends that Congress has broad power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause to enact economic regulation. Further, the DOJ contends that the minimum coverage provision is an integral part of a comprehensive scheme of economic regulation, and the provision itself regulates the economic conduct with a substantial effect on interstate commerce.
  • The minimum coverage provision is independently authorized by Congress’ taxing power. The DOJ argues that the provision operates as a tax law, and the validity of an assessment under Congress’ taxing power does not depend on whether it is denominated a tax.

Briefs due later in January and February address other issues involved. The Health Law team at von Briesen will continue to monitor and report on the progress of the ACA challenge, including additional briefs by the parties.

©2014 von Briesen & Roper, s.c

About the Author

Meghan C. O'Connor, Health Care Attorney, Von Briesen Law Firm

Meghan O’Connor is a member of the Health Care Section and the Government Relations and Regulatory Law Section. She advises clients on a wide range of regulatory compliance, corporate, and transactional matters, including: HIPAA, HITECH, and other federal and state confidentiality laws; provider and vendor contracting; health care reform, Medicare, and Medicaid compliance; patient care and risk management issues; managed care; insurance regulation; and clinical integration and accountable care networks.

Prior to joining von Briesen, Meghan worked for the U.S. Department of...


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