Federal Appeals Court Rules Against PPACA’s Individual Mandate
PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST
Since the enactment in 2010 of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all Americans must carry health insurance or face a tax penalty there has been controversy over the constitutionality of the mandate. When the White House passed the law the administration argued that the legislative branch has the ability to regulate interstate commerce, including the health care industry, according to the Constitution. Last Friday a divided three-judge panel of the federal appeals court of Atlanta ruled that Congress overstepped its authority when they passed this mandate.
There are constitutional issues raised by compelling individuals to purchase health insurance from private companies. Proponents have argued that it is similar to the requirement for auto insurance. There are differences, however, in that only those who wish to drive must have auto insurance. You can avoid having to purchase auto insurance by choosing not to drive. There is no way to avoid having to purchase health insurance under PPACA’s mandate short of being unhealthy to the point of death. Among other differences is that this was proposed as an unprecedented federal law whereas auto insurance laws originate at the state level, giving individuals the choice to move to a different state if they choose. Under federal law the only choice is to leave the country.
Attorneys general and governors in 26 states brought suit to prevent this law from taking effect. District courts in Florida and Virginia agreed that the minimal essential coverage is unconstitutional and struck down the entire law. However, in June 2011 a federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the individual mandate. The suit made its way to the 11th Circuit Court which is considered to be one of the nation’s most conservative appeals courts. Interestingly, however, the decisive vote was from a Democratic appointee. In the Atlanta ruling, Chief Judge Joel Dubina and Circuit Judge Frank Hull found that lawmakers cannot require people to “enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die.”
Friday’s ruling proves that there is no clear answer as to whether this mandate is constitutional or not. Cincinnati says yes, Atlanta says no. The final answer remains to be seen and will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Feedback From Our Happy Customers
The Innovative team is well respected at AFS. My staff and I feel they are an extension of our HR team! Since implementation, they have always remained committed to assisting AFS with all of its healthcare needs; in fact, it doesn’t matter what time of day, they always respond in a timely manner.
Each year they come up with fresh material so our employee’s interest is always peaked. A few years ago, Innovative provided us with documentation to show that moving from a fully insured program to self-insured would be more cost effective for AFS, and it has been! Innovative has truly made our jobs easier so we can focus on other tasks.
As an HR professional, Innovative makes my job easier and benefits administration much less overwhelming than it would otherwise be.
They are truly a partner with me to make sure our team members have the best benefits and service around their benefits that we can offer. Innovative’s team is responsive, professional and resourceful. (They are at the forefront of knowledge in many areas, including ACA reporting and compliance, which can get highly complicated.)
As a client for the last 4 years, we love working with our Innovative Benefit Planning team because of their service model, scope , depth and quality of expertise in handling our benefits and renewals.
Their level of commitment just keeps getting better each year. They have more than met our expectations on renewal negotiations, response time, assistance with ongoing plans, open enrollment material, meetings, support, bill auditing, and wellness programs.
Since our partnership with Innovative Benefit Planning in 2017, it has been a seamless one. Innovative always provide options, suggestions and recommendations when it comes to our benefits renewal.
Innovative is always present even when open enrollment ends, their year round communication reminds me that I can always reach out for help at any time. Their professionalism is the utmost one can expect. My account representative Jenni is wonderful, courteous, knowledgeable and very helpful.
We have been dealing with Innovative Benefit Planning for many, many years. They have given us nothing but exceptional service.
We can pick up the phone or email them and they always resolve our questions and take care of our employees insurance issues in a very timely manner. They negotiate our insurance rates every year and have managed to reduce the increase every year. Every account manager we’ve had throughout the years have been great to work with.
I have been working with Innovative Benefit Planning for over six years. Previous to Innovative, I had used the same broker for about 25 years. I was used to doing everything myself during open enrollment with my previous broker.
When Innovative came on board, I was pleasantly surprised how “on top” of things they were. I never have to call them and bother them about getting rates to me for open enrollment, as they are in touch with our carriers on a regular basis, and they get me my information for open enrollment as soon as they receive it from the carriers.