Posted 11/12/11 on Health Care Reform Update
The final federal Court of Appeals decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, before the Supreme Court meets to decide which cases to consider, was issued this week. It includes some interesting twists.
The DC Circuit upheld the law’s requirement that nearly all Americans must have health care coverage in a 2-1 ruling. However, the minority vote was cast not because of the constitutionality issue, but because the dissenting judge, Brett Kavanaugh, a George W. Bush appointee, considered that—under the Anti-Injunction Act, which limits attempts to strike down proposed taxes—no ruling was appropriate at this time. Judge Kavanaugh’s citing of the Anti-Injunction Act echoed an earlier decision by the full Fourth Circuit that imposition of the individual mandate’s penalties could not be considered until they were implemented and individuals had been forced to pay them, in effect interpreting the penalties as a form of taxation.