Another courtroom battle looming over Obamacare
Republicans and Democrats will face off in the courtroom this week in yet another challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Oral arguments are scheduled Tuesday before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in a case alleging the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because it is a revenueraising law that should have originated in the House rather than the Senate.
Democrats say the bill did originate in the House as an entirely different measure centering on a first-time homebuyer’s credit for members of the military, and the Senate changed it into the bill that became the Affordable Care Act. A federal district judge in Texas had dismissed the case,
Hotze v. Burwell,
on the basis that the Affordable Care Act is not a law primarily designed to raise taxes. Politicians who were granted permission to participate in oral arguments include former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
Kermit Roosevelt, a constitutional law expert at the University of Pennsylvania, said it can be difficult for courts to determine exactly where a bill started when it was changed as much as the Affordable Care Act, so the 5th Circuit panel may defer to Congress’ judgment. He predicted the suit would not pose as much of a threat to the reform law as the premium subsidies
King v. Burwell case being heard next year by the Supreme Court. “But what we’ve been seeing with these decisions is they tend to have a very strong political component,” Roosevelt said. “So the pure legal strength of the argument doesn’t necessarily matter as much as it might in a less ideologically charged case.”