Administration Files Supreme Court Brief on ACA

January 10, 2012

On Jan. 7, 2012, the administration filed its brief in the Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of the minimum coverage requirement provision (also called the individual mandate)of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). In its brief, the administration argued that Congress had authority under the Commerce and Necessary and Proper clauses of the U.S. constitution to enact the minimum coverage provision. It argued that Congress has broad power to enact economic regulation and that the minimum coverage provision is an integral part of a comprehensive scheme of economic regulation.

The administration’s brief went on to state that the minimum coverage provision is necessary to make effective PPACA’s core reforms of the insurance market, i.e.: the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions. Additionally, the administration argued that the minimum coverage provision: regulates economic conduct with a substantial effect on interstate commerce; reasonably regulates the financing of participation in the health care market; and is a reasonable means to prevent the shifting of costs and risks to other market participants.

The administration also argued that the minimum coverage provision is independently authorized by Congress’s taxing power, that the minimum coverage provision operates as a tax and that the validity of an assessment under the taxing power does not depend on whether it is denominated a tax.

Please click here to read the full brief.

To read all of the briefs filed in the Supreme Court, please click here.

To read the Administration’s legal arguments in support of the PPACA, visit the Web site of the Solicitor General’s Office.