Employers: Fringe Benefits News
The US Supreme Court recently announced that it would rule on challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). PPACA was enacted on March 23, 2010 and includes several changes to the healthcare system, most notable being the requirement that all Americans maintain basic health insurance coverage.
Opponents of the law argued that Congress has overstepped its authority by requiring individuals to purchase health insurance by January 2014 or pay a tax penalty. Proponents of the law believe that Congress has acted under its authority to regulate interstate commerce.
States are challenging the constitutionality of this provision which has resulted in four conflicting Federal Courts of Appeal opinions on all or parts of the law. The Supreme Court has been expected to review the PPACA since September 2011 when the Obama Administration requested the Court to uphold the mandate as constitutional.
While many portions of the law are being implemented in a phased approach, the individual mandate becomes effective in January 2014. Oral arguments are expected to occur in March 2012 and a decision is expected by June 2012.
Experts differ on how the Supreme Court will view the case. While many believe it is important that the Supreme Court act so that implementation can continue at the federal and state level, others are surprised that the Court will hear this case before key elements even become effective.
Regardless of the reasons for hearing the case, the outcome will inevitably be a close vote.