[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] on Friday ruled [order, PDF] that plaintiffs did not have standing to sue in a lawsuit challenging the delay of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (PPACA) [text] employer mandate. The plaintiffs, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) [official website], argued that the Obama administration did not have the authority to delay the mandate that most employers provide health insurance, and if they were to do this, they would have to delay the individual mandate as well. They also argued that doctors are harmed financially since penalized people have less money to buy health insurance. However, the court stated that the plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the suit. The court stated, “This is not, however, the Supreme Court’s view of standing. The Court has rejected efforts by one person to litigate about the amount of someone else’s taxes (or someone else’s subsidies, which are taxes in reverse).” There is a similar suit being prepared by Republicans in the House.
The PPACA, its enforcement and all the attendant constitutional issues [JURIST op-ed] have been major political issues over the last several years, prompting a multitude of court challenges and opinions by many different legal scholars on both sides. In January the AAPS and the Alliance for National Health brought a plea [JURIST report] to the US Supreme Court [official website] which was a broad constitutional rejoinder to the Court’s previous ruling finding the PPACA mandate constitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts refused to grant a temporary injunction blocking the Obama administration from enforcing the PPACA. In October the AAPS filed its original lawsuit [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin [official website] challenging the constitutionality of revisions to the PPACA. The AAPS stated in its complaint, which sought injunctive relief from these individual requirements, that “by requiring individuals to purchase health insurance without the protection of the Employer Mandate, Defendant compels many individuals to spend their own health care dollars on insurance premiums instead of as direct cash payments to physicians for medical care.” More recently the PPACA has stirred up controversy with its contraception mandate [JURIST news archive]. In August the US Department of Health and Human Services issued proposed rules [JURIST report] to revise which for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations are exempt from the contraception mandate.