Supreme Court Denies Expedited Appeal of Healthcare Law

In a widely expected move, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Virginia’s request to fast track the appeal of its Attorney General’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act this week. Had the Court granted the petition, it would have permitted the case to skip the Court of Appeals and likely would have resolved most of the pending challenges to the healthcare law. The Supreme Court has instead required the case to proceed through the normal appeal process.

The Court’s decision signals two things: First, that the Court does not view the case as having the same broad constitutional implications as the ACA’s challengers. Second, that the Court will not likely accelerate any of the state challenges to the law. The Virginia case (and presumably the other state challenges) will now proceed through the normal course and may or may not be heard by the Supreme Court at all. The 4th Circuit will hear the Virginia appeal on May 10.

Kaiser Health News runs a good “Scorecard” of the various challenges – here.

Another Federal Judge Weighs in on Obamacare

A Federal Judge in Washington D.C. tossed another challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As with the other suits, the challenge in D.C. centered on the requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance. In this challenge, a religious group lead by Pat Robertson argued that the law violates the plaintiff’s religious freedom by forcing them to purchase insurance for medical care they refuse to receive on religious grounds. The judge, like the two others who have upheld the law is a Clinton appointee. The New York Times reports that more than 20 challenges have been filed to different aspects of the Act. None of the cases have been heard by appellate courts yet. The first appellate review is scheduled for May.

Here are a few links:

MSNBC: First Read – Obama agenda: The score is now 3-2.

A Third Judge Validates Health Care Overhaul Law – NYTimes.com.

Federal Judge Dismisses Obamacare Challenge – Top Stories – Talk Radio News Service: News, Politics, Media.

Interesting Perspectives on the Health Care Law Court Battle

One of the biggest issues in the news lately has been the federal court rulings on the health care law — i.e., the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The primary battle concerns whether Congress can require people to purchase health insurance. This is probably the single most important issue in the law because it creates the funding for the entire risk pool.

Thus far, the scorecard stands at 2 to 2. With federal judges in Virginia and Florida (both appointed by Republicans) ruling against the law, and judges in Michigan and >Mississippi (both appointed by a Democrat) ruling in favor of the law. The prevailing thought is that this will ultimately come down to a party-line fight in the Supreme Court with the GOP holding a 5-4 edge. I thought the New York Times op-edfrom Harvard professor, constitutional scholar and Supreme Court attorney Laurence Tribe offered an interesting perspective and takes the analysis beyond the sound-bite level we get on television. Prof. Tribe’s commentary can be read here.

Another interesting analysis from the Washington Post can be read here.

Ultimately, the PPACA will rise or fall based on the Supreme Court’s ruling, and will affect every health care provider in Colorado and beyond. This should be on everyone’s reading list. If was a betting man (and I sometimes am), I would place my money on the Supreme Court ultimately upholding the law.