Judges Reject Constitutional Challenges to PPACA

December 29, 2010, 11:13 AM

United States District Court Judge Norman K. Moon on November 30, 2010, dismissed a lawsuit filed by Liberty University challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Specifically, Liberty University alleged in its lawsuit (among other allegations) that the provision contained in the PPACA requiring individuals to purchase and maintain health insurance was unconstitutional in that it was an improper exercise of congressional authority under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Judge Moon disagreed and in his opinion dismissing the lawsuit concluded that Congress in fact had a rational basis to conclude that individuals decisions regarding how and when to pay for health care is indeed an activity that in the aggregate substantially affects the interstate health care market. Liberty University has stated that it plans to promptly appeal the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

This decision by Judge Moon was the second such decision rejecting a constitutional challenge to the PPACA. In October, a federal judge in Michigan dismissed a similar lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the PPACA. Still pending is a separate lawsuit filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in Federal Court in Richmond, Virginia. In addition, officials from several states have also filed a lawsuit that is pending in Florida.

All parties tend to agree that this constitutional issue will ultimately reach the United States Supreme Court, so this is an issue that is a long way from ultimate resolution. The Kaufman & Canoles Health Care Practice Group will stay abreast of the latest developments with respect to the various constitutional challenges to the PPACA. -Aaron J. Ambrose