Fi­nal briefs filed in hear­ing over chal­lenge to re­form law

Modern Healthcare - - Late News -

State and fed­eral of­fi­cials bat­tling over the health­care re­form law in fed­eral court in Pen­sacola, Fla., have filed doc­u­ments that set the stage for a judge to con­sider the mer­its of the case for the first time dur­ing a hear­ing set for Dec. 16. U.S. District Judge Roger Vin­son ruled in Oc­to­ber that the core ar­gu­ments the law­suit makes against the law were plau­si­ble enough to pro­ceed. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and the plain­tiffs then filed mo­tions ask­ing for sum­mary judg­ment, which would end the case be­fore it goes to trial. The chal­lenge in Florida is be­ing mounted by of­fi­cials rep­re­sent­ing 20 states. They ar­gue that the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally com­pels in­di­vid­u­als to buy health in­surance un­der the guise of reg­u­lat­ing in­ter­state com­merce, and that the law com­man­deers state Med­i­caid pro­grams. In court fil­ings last week, each side tried to take down the other’s ar­gu­ments. A fed­eral judge in Akron, Ohio, mean­while, ruled that a suit filed in that ju­ris­dic­tion by a con­ser­va­tive le­gal group could move for­ward. “It is ap­par­ent,” Judge David Dowd writes in the opin­ion, “that the con­tro­versy ig­nited by the pas­sage of this leg­is­la­tion at is­sue in this case will even­tu­ally re­quire a de­ci­sion by the Supreme Court.”

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