07.10.12

O'Neill Institute Briefing Paper No. 7, "The Supreme Court's Landmark Decision on the Affordable Care Act, Healthcare Reform's Ultimate Fate Remains Uncertain"

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In a companion piece to their earlier blog post, Emily W. Parento and Lawrence O. Gostin provide a comprehensive analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the newest O’Neill Institute Briefing Paper

President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law in March 2010, and lawsuits immediately followed.  In March of this year, in consolidated cases National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of four aspects of the ACA: whether Congress has the power to enact the individual purchase mandate, whether the Medicaid expansion amounts to unconstitutional federal government coercion of states, severability of the individual mandate from other portions of the ACA, and whether the Anti-Injunction Act bars consideration of the individual mandate’s constitutionality prior to the penalties taking effect in 2015.

The Court has now ruled on all the issues in a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice Roberts, upholding the law in its entirety with the sole exception that Congress may not revoke existing state Medicaid funding to penalize states that decline to participate in the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. The briefing explains and analyzes the remainder of the issues here, focusing on the mandate and Medicaid expansion, while also explaining the fundamental shifts in constitutional interpretations that may affect public health, safety and environmental protection in the future.

The full paper and other O’Neill Institute Briefing Papers can be found at: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/oneillinstitute/resources/briefings.html.

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