Federal appeals court dismisses health care suit for lack of standing

Federal appeals court dismisses health care suit for lack of standing

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[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit [official website] upheld [judgment text] a lower court’s dismissal [JURIST report] of a challenge to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) [HR 3590 materials; JURIST news archive] for lack of standing. Nonprofit New Jersey Physicians, Inc. [advocacy website], a doctor and his anonymous patient, argued that the new federal health care law goes beyond the enumerated powers allowed in the US Constitution [text] by penalizing individuals who choose not to buy health insurance and preventing doctors from receiving payments directly from patients. However, a judge for the US District Court for the District of New Jersey [official website] ruled that all three lacked standing because of a lack of injury in fact. The Third Circuit agreed after hearing arguments in June [JURIST report]:

The only allegations pertaining to any injury in fact suffered by Patient Roe are as follows: (1) “Roe is a patient of Dr. Criscito who pays himself for his care,” and (2) Roe “is a citizen of the State of New Jersey who chooses who and how to pay for the medical care he receives from Dr. Criscito and others.” These allegations are factually barren with respect to standing. … These allegations are insufficient to establish injury in fact. First, Roe fails to set forth any current “actual” “concrete and particularized” injury. … Second, Roe’s allegations do not establish that a future “concrete and particularized” injury is “imminent.”

The plaintiffs have yet to comment on the ruling or state if they will appeal.

In June, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] found [opinion, PDF] the individual mandate provision of PPACA constitutional [JURIST report]. The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) [advocacy website] plans to appeal [AP report] to the Supreme Court. Also in June, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] heard arguments [JURIST report] regarding the constitutionality of the individual mandate. The appeal was brought by the DOJ after the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida [official website] struck down the entire health care law after it determined that the individual mandate exceeds Congress’ authority [JURIST report] under the Commerce Clause. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official website] decided it can rule on two challenges to PPACA after the court requested briefs [JURIST report] from all parties on whether the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) [text], which prevents injunctions against taxes before the tax is imposed, would bar review of PPACA until it is implemented. The Fourth Circuit already heard arguments [JURIST report] in May to resolve a split decision between the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruling against the individual mandate and the Western District of Virginia dismissing a challenge [JURIST reports].