Friday, August 19, 2011

Arguments Continue On ACA Constitutionality

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The Georgia Appeals Court becomes the second appellate to join the never-ending debate swirling around Obama’s Affordable Care Act. According to the court, the individual mandate – the portion of the legislation requiring all citizens to purchase health care – is unconstitutional, and “an unprecedented exercise of congressional power.” This follows a similar January ruling by US District Judge Roger Vinson, and an opposing ruling from the Ohio Appeals Court in June.

The Georgia ruling supports most of what Florida’s Judge Vinson declared in January, with a significant provision. While Vinson felt that the entire legislation was a cohesive, unchangeable unit, the Georgia court believes that the offending individual mandate can be removed from the ACA, while allowing the rest of the Act to function as law.

As pointed out in a recent news article on, continuing dissension will likely force the Supreme Court to re-investigate the controversy, and to pass down an official decision. Until that happens, smaller courts will likely continue the debate.
The issue of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is also before a US Appellate Court in Richmond, Virginia, which is weighing appeals of two lower-court decisions in that state. A federal district judge in Lynchburg, Virginia upheld the individual mandate, whereas another in Richmond, Virginia, struck it down. A ruling from this third appellate court is expected soon.
Whatever Virginia’s decision is, we will probably not be seeing the end of this discussion any time soon.


Pam Argeris is a thought leader in the Healthcare Industry and possesses extensive, hands-on experience with CMS compliance, and multiple regulatory bodies such as NCQA, JACHO, and DOI. In her role at Merrill Corp., Pam focuses on developing solutions for compliance and quality assurance, delivered in a cost effective manner to improve beneficiary and prospect communications. You can contact Pam at

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