U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Health Care Reform Challenge

At long last, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the constitutionality the “individual mandate” required by federal health care reform. If upheld, the individual mandate will require nearly all U.S. citizens to maintain private health insurance, beginning in 2014, or pay a penalty. Several courts of appeal across the nation have ruled on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in recent months, some finding it unconstitutional and some upholding it. In the most recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the individual mandate finding that Congress had the authority under the Commerce Clause to impose such a requirement. Seven-Sky v. Holder (D.C. Cir 2011).

The Supreme Court has reportedly accepted appeals on three of the five health care reform cases pending before it, and reserved five and a half hours for oral argument over the course of two days. The Court will hear arguments on both the constitutionality of the individual mandate and whether some or all of the law must be struck down if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional. We will update you on new developments.