Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Appeals Court Hears Health Care Reform Cases

The first two cases on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to reach a federal appeals court were heard today. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond expressed strong support for the law and suggested the law is valid, despite objections from the state and others. The full court of appeals bench is evenly divided between Republican and Democratic appointees; however, the randomly selected panel for this case are all Democratic appointees. Both cases center on the provision of the law referred to as the individual or insurance mandate, requiring people to buy insurance or face a monetary penalty. In Cuccinelli v. Sebelius, a Republican-appointed judge struck down the mandate, while in Liberty University v. Geithner, a Democratic-appointed judge upheld it. Two other appeals court cases are pending. None of these decisions are likely to be the last stop for the litigation, as further appeals to the Supreme Court are expected. For more information on the insurance mandate and Cuccinelli v. Sebelius, see Psychiatric News at http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/46/1/11.1.full.


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.