Jus­tice depart­ment wants ACA to stand dur­ing ap­peal

Modern Healthcare - - Late News -

The U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment has filed a re­quest to have a fed­eral judge in Florida de­clare that the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Affordable Care Act will re­main valid while his de­ci­sion to void the law is ap­pealed. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s mo­tion cites the risk of ex­treme dis­rup­tion to states and busi­nesses that are busy im­ple­ment­ing var­i­ous as­pects of the law. U.S. District Judge Roger Vin­son ruled Jan. 31 that the law’s man­date for in­di­vid­u­als to buy pri­vate in­surance by 2014 was un­con­sti­tu­tional, and there­fore in­val­i­dated the en­tire law. Fed­eral lawyers have said they plan to ap­peal the rul­ing, but of­fi­cials in sev­eral states have an­nounced that they will not im­ple­ment the law be­cause Vin­son said they don’t have to. Vin­son de­clined to is­sue an in­junc­tion against the law, but his opin­ion said his declara­tory judg­ment on the mat­ter was “the func­tional equiv­a­lent of an in­junc­tion” for the par­ties that pre­vailed. How­ever, gov­ern­ment lawyers say sev­eral other ar­eas of Vin­son’s opin­ion ap­peared to con­tra­dict that po­si­tion, and they don’t in­tend to stop im­ple­men­ta­tion of the en­tire law based on a district court’s de­ci­sion re­gard­ing an in­surance pro­vi­sion that doesn’t take ef­fect un­til 2014. Vin­son gave the plain­tiffs’ lawyers three busi­ness days to re­spond to the gov­ern­ment’s re­quest for the clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

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