Thursday, May 8, 2014

A New Challenge Being Made to the Affordable Care Act

In a stunning, yet extremely technical loophole may have been found to completely derail the revenue portions of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  In December 2013, a complaint was filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a right-leaning legal foundation, that charges that the ACA originated in the wrong house of Congress...which, if justices agree with the argument, could render parts or even the entire law invalidated.

In their complaint, they assert (truthfully) that the ACA was passed first by the Senate, then by the House, which according to the strict reading of the Constitution is not permitted.  Article One, section 7 states "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."  This means that Congress went in the wrong order when passing, at very least, the tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act including, the tax provision which requires citizens to pay a penalty tax for failing to buy health insurance as mandated by the law.

The Pacific Legal Foundation is one of the many front groups for Charles and David Koch and is funded by a great deal of corporate donations.  Exxon Mobile has coughed up $110,000 for the organization since 1998.  It is one of the many interconnected legal organizations that swing the right-wing club in the name of "freedom".  They litigate a large array of issues against government including environmental regulations, affirmative action mandates, tax policy, and so on and so forth.

This latest attack on the Affordable Care Act threatens to undo billions of dollars in public investment and threatens the very hope of affordable healthcare in this country.  We can only hope that the Supreme Court puts the people first as this law looks like it could be, once again, on the edge of a cliff.

The case is Sissel v. United States Department of Health and Human Services

By Gabriel Givens
The Center-Left Field

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