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Supreme Court Decision and Patient Protection and Care Act

The US Supreme Court majority held that the Act is valid under the Tax & Spending power because the Act leaves the uninsured with a rational choice about whether to buy the plan, and any State that "voluntarily and knowingly" accepts the terms of the new Medicare program agrees to be penalized if they do not do what they are told. But several USSC justices dissented that the Act was invalid because Congress can only regulate commerce and not create commerce. By forcing the citizens to buy a medical plan, Congress is directing the creation of commerce

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Gist of the case:
When reading cases, the first couple of pages most likely will tell you the reason why the case was brought before the court.

A. Who's against whom?

Twenty-six States, several individuals, and the National Federation of Independent Business are suing Kathleen Sebilius, the Senate appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services. [Note: When dealing with multiple plaintiffs, only one plaintiff's name will be used. Also, one cannot sue Congress as a whole, only the person in charge of the field the plaintiff has a problem with.]

B. What does each party want?

a. Congress via Sebelius:
i. Find our created Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act valid and constitutional.
ii. This law was created to cover more uninsured Americans and reduce the cost of health care.
iii. We believe that our purpose can be achieved by requiring States to provide Medicaid coverage by 2014. Then, uninsured Americans are required to buy a federally approved plan or face a federal penalty. We will fund the States to expand the Medicaid coverage. But, if a State refuses to provide Medicaid coverage by 2014, we will withdraw any ongoing and future federal Medicaid funds. ["Shared responsibility" summary: 'It's for everyone's good, do as I say or else."]

b. Twenty-six States, several individuals, and the National Federation of Independent Business
i. Find the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act invalid and unconstitutional.
ii. While we understand the purpose behind the law, there is no place under the Constitution that says we the States and our providers must comply with Congress' request.

C. What can help each party get what they want?

a. Congress via Sebelius:
i. Spending Power (core of the matter whenever federal funding is involved)
ii. Under the Spending Clause of the Constitution, Congress can indirectly spend money for the "general welfare" (i.e., any public purpose),
1. The spending power is used to accomplish regulations in areas that ...

Solution Summary

This solution is a detailed summary of the Supreme Court Decision about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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