The Supreme Court’s Decision on the Affordable Care Act: Call to Action

Appeal from 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

Nat?l Federation of Indep. Business v. Sebelius

Dep?t of Health & Human Services v. Florida

Florida v. Dep?t of Health & Human Services


Oral Argument 

March 26-28, 2012

Minimum essential coverage (2014):  Requires individuals to have minimum essential coverage or pay a penalty (a.k.a. individual mandate or individual responsibility)


Medicaid Expansion (2014): Extends coverage to individuals with incomes below 133%* of federal poverty level

*Plus an additional 5% standard disregard


(1) Is the challenge to the individual mandate barred by the Anti-injunction Act? 

(2) Did the Commerce and/or Taxing Clauses of the Constitution authorize Congress to enact the individual mandate? 

(3) Did Congress have the power under the Spending Clause to authorize termination of all federal Medicaid funding to States refusing to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals under 133% of FPL?

(4) If a provision is unconstitutional, is the entire ACA invalid or can all or part of the remaining law be ?severed? and remain good law?


Does it prevent the challenge? 

Yes:  The individual mandate will generate revenue, therefore, it is a tax.  Taxes cannot be challenged until they are assessed or paid (no sooner than 2014-15).

No:  Payment is described as a ?penalty,? and Congress deliberately did not use the word ?tax.? The purpose of the requirement is to give individuals an incentive to have minimum coverage, not to raise revenue.  


For full publication text, download document.

Related Content