The legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are moving toward a final decision by the US Supreme Court.
The Thomas More Law Center has filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals which upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare.
According to the appeal petition, “Review is necessary to establish a meaningful limitation on congressional power under the Commerce Clause….If the Act [the PPACA] is understood to fall within Congress’s Commerce Clause authority, the federal government will have absolute and unfettered power to create complex regulatory schemes to fix every perceived problem imaginable and to do so by ordering private citizens to engage in affirmative acts, under penalty of law….”
Specifically, the petition asks the Supreme Court to rule on the following questions:
1. Does Congress have authority under the Commerce Clause to require private citizens to purchase and maintain “minimum essential” health insurance coverage under penalty of federal law?
2. Is the individual mandate provision of the ACA unconstitutional as applied to petitioners who are without health insurance?
A Thomas More Law Center press release noted that the Obama administration will now have 30 days to file a response, and the Law Center will then have approximately ten days to file a reply. The case will subsequently be submitted for a decision by the Justices as to whether the petition should be granted. The Law Center predicts that “if granted, the case will in all likelihood be briefed, argued, and decided in this upcoming term, with a decision rendered prior to the Court recessing next summer.”
Small business owners are fighting back against the massive regulations which the PPACA requires of them. The NFIB is joining a coalition of small business groups to expose the cost involved to comply with the PPACA. Their tactic will be to explain to the public the expenses involved in complying with the PPACA and how these costs hinder small businesses from retaining existing or hiring new employees. With the economy, and specifically job creation, a high priority for most Americans and claimed as such by many politicians, this could be a significant campaign to help elect politicians who understand that governments can effect job growth through reducing regulations. I wish them success in this venture.
Individual states are asking for, and receiving waivers exempting them from complying with mandates required within the PPACA. The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) has now issued five waivers from the medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements of the PPACA. In March, CCIIO issued its first waiver to Maine, and through July 2011 has issued waivers to New Hampshire, Nevada, Kentucky, and Iowa. A waiver request from North Dakota has been denied. Waiver determinations are still pending for Louisiana, Guam ( really, GUAM?), Kansas, Delaware, Indiana, Florida, and Georgia.
Question: What do the five states that have received waivers have the North Dakota does not have, so that the CCIIO rejected their waiver request? Answer will be provided next week.
MLR is calculated as the cost of health care services provided as a percentage of premium revenues. In general, the higher the MLR, the more an insurer spends on claims reimbursements and the less it spends on administration and marketing, or retains as profit. The ACA established an 80% MLR beginning in 2011. The states that were granted waivers are allowed to have MLR’s ranging from 60-75%. Makes me wonder why the PPACA was passed in the first place, if so many waivers are being granted to so many states and companies who claim that they cannot the standards set by the law. But then, I try to be logical.