High court shuns case challenging reform

ModernHealthcare.com | November 8 – The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to get involved in one of the many legal challenges gunning for the core of the national healthcare reform law passed in March.

The court offers no explanation when announcing decisions whether to accept or deny a petition to review a case. Court watchers, however, took note that none of the justices dissented and none declined to take part. The court’s newest justice, Elena Kagan, was solicitor general in the Obama administration while the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was formulated and pushed through Congress, giving rise to speculation that she might recuse herself from cases involving the law.

The issue the justices were asked to review in the case at hand was whether it’s too soon to challenge a requirement that has yet to take effect.

The lawsuit was brought by former California state legislator Steven Baldwin and the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative California-based legal group. They argue that Congress overstepped its constitutional authority with the mandate that most Americans buy health insurance.

A U.S. District Court judge in San Diego ruled that they didn’t have standing to sue because they couldn’t show any injury from the mandate, which doesn’t take effect until 2014.

Other district courts, however, have allowed similar challenges to proceed. Baldwin and the Pacific Justice Institute have appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but sought immediate review by the Supreme Court because of the split emerging in the lower courts.

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