JURIST Digital Scholars
Supreme Court asked to rule on health care ‘origination clause’ issue
Supreme Court asked to rule on health care ‘origination clause’ issue

The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) [advocacy website] filed a petition writ of certiorari [text, PDF] on Monday asking the US Supreme Court [official website] to hear their case challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [text, PDF] under Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution [text]. PLF claims that because the bill introducing the ACA was introduced in the Senate, it goes against the “Origination Clause” in Article 1 of the Constitution, which states, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” Timothy Sandefur [official profile], the principal attorney on the case, stated in a press release [text] Monday:

Obamacare raises taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars, but it was enacted in violation of the Origination Clause, which was designed to safeguard against arbitrary and reckless taxation. Obamacare was unveiled in the Senate, even though the Origination Clause requires taxes to start in the House, the body closest to the people.

Plaintiff Matt Sissel is an Iraqi war veteran and small business owner who pays medical expenses on his own and began the case in hopes of maintaining that practice. The district court originally dismissed the claim in June 2013, and an appeal heard by a panel of judges from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] affirmed the dismissal in July 2014. Most recently, the appeals court denied a petition for rehearing en banc in August of this year.

The ACA [JURIST backgrounder] has generated legal controversy since its passage. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) [official website] reports that between 2010 and 2015, at least 21 states enacted laws attempting to challenge or completely opt out of mandatory provisions of the ACA. Most recently the ACA was amended by the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act [text], which allows states to consider employers with 51 to 100 employees as large employers, removing certain restrictions on small employers from those employers in this category. In June the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] in King v. Burwell [SCOTUSblog materials] that tax credits available to those who buy health insurance through state exchanges are also available to those who buy it through the federal exchange. Last year the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that closely held corporations can deny contraceptive coverage to their employees for religious reasons.