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Dep't of Health and Human Services v. Florida

Court Type: U.S. Supreme Court
Status: Closed (Judgment)
Last Update: January 13, 2012

What's at Stake

Whether the minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as the individual mandate, is constitutional.

A centerpiece of the 2010 federal health care law requires individuals (with certain exceptions) to obtain health care insurance or pay a penalty. A federal appeals court in Atlanta struck down the provision as unconstitutional, characterizing it as an infringement on individual liberty. Our amicus brief argues that the minimum coverage provision is constitutional under both the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. We also argue that the decision below relied on a conception of economic liberty that the Supreme Court rejected 75 years ago, while undervaluing the substantial liberty interest of those who cannot afford health insurance in the current system and suffer a diminished ability to participate fully in the political, economic and social life of the nation. The brief further notes that this burden falls disproportionately on disadvantaged groups.

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