Supreme Court Overturns the critical principle of the ‘Chevron deference’ – Undermining a Foundation of Effective Governance

Supreme Court Overturns the critical principle of the ‘Chevron deference’ – Undermining a Foundation of Effective Governance

[NHeLP Statement] Supreme Court Overturns the critical principle of the ‘Chevron deference’ – Undermining a Foundation of Effective Governance

Washington, DC – Today, the Supreme Court has overturned the critical principle of the “Chevron deference” in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo case, undermining the foundation for effective governance and protecting public health. Chevron deference ensures that federal agencies staffed by civil servants with needed expertise interpret and implement statutes that govern vital programs affecting millions of people nationwide. These agencies are accountable to the President, Congress, and the public in a way that the courts are not. 

These programs require oversight by experienced public servants to ensure they function properly. Without guidance from experts in public agencies, it will be much more difficult to ensure that government programs benefit and protect the people who count on them.  

“Today’s ruling pushes aside the expertise and specialized knowledge of the public servants charged with administering extremely complex public programs like Medicaid and Medicare.  We are very concerned that this may disrupt these and similar programs and hurt the Americans who rely on them,” says Sarah Somers, Legal Director at the National Health Law Program. “But we are hopeful that courts will continue to recognize the expertise of these public servants and give their interpretations respect.”

In September, leading public health, consumer, and provider groups, including the National Health Law Program, filed an amicus curiae (or friend-of-the-court) brief in the case of Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo urging the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) not to overturn “Chevron deference.” Read our amicus coalition statement below.

[Coalition Statement] Supreme Court Decision to Overturn ‘Chevron Deference’ Threatens to Disrupt Public Healthcare System

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (June 28, 2024) – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision on the Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo case and its companion case, Relentless v. Dept. of Commerce. The majority’s opinion abolishes the rule of Chevron deference.

In response to the court’s decision, the following statement was issued by: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, ALS Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, American Thoracic Society, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Child Neurology Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Health Law Program, Physicians for Social Responsibility, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Truth Initiative.

“As leaders who share a mission to protect and advance the public’s health, our organizations are disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision today to eliminate the long-standing rule of Chevron deference. As we described in our Amicus Brief, which Justice Kagan drew on in her dissent, this rule has long helped ensure that healthcare laws are interpreted and implemented appropriately. We anticipate that today’s ruling will cause significant disruption to publicly funded health insurance programs, to the stability of this country’s healthcare and food and drug review systems, and to the health and well-being of the patients and consumers we serve.

“Before today, Chevron deference protected the legal stability of public health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. It ensured that laws passed by Congress were interpreted and implemented by expert federal agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As our Amicus Brief noted, large health programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, as well as issues related to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, are extremely complex, so it is key that decisions about how to interpret and implement relevant laws are made by experts at government agencies. Yet today’s majority opinion explicitly ends the use of this sensible doctrine.

“As leading organizations that work on behalf of people across the country who face serious, acute and chronic illnesses, as well as many people who lack access to quality and affordable healthcare, we will continue to work to ensure that healthcare laws are implemented in ways that benefit the public health.”

Related Content