Health Care Reform Debate Continues in the Courts

Litigation over the constitutionality of Health Care Reform continues to work its way through the Federal judiciary and towards the Supreme Court. In an article in today’s New York Times, the arrival of two active cases from the trial level to the United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit) in Richmond, Virginia, will give the first federal appellate court a crack at resolving inconsistent rulings by two different lower courts.

One of the lower courts, according to the Times, said Congress overstepped in mandating health insurance. Another lower court said otherwise. Whatever the Court of Appeals rules following today’s oral arguments in both cases, you can bet that they will quickly head to the United States Supreme Court.

The Times also reports that 31 cases have been filed across the country, of which a total of 9 have already moved on to the US Court of Appeals.

So consider it a horse race, as lawyers around the country try to win the lottery, by not only pursuing the case that the US Supreme Court decides, but to be on the winning side. In addition, as the Times points out, many if not all of the cases will be barnacled by briefs filed by scores of non-party “friends-of-the-court” (which actually translates to “special interest groups”).

In the end, each of the litigants, and “friends-of-the-court” think they know whether Congress can mandate that citizens buy commercial health insurance. Whether or not even the Supreme Court answers that as clearly as everyone would like is another question entirely.

For more information, please contact Jonathan Raven, Chair of Fraser Trebilcock Health Care Law Department, at 517.377.0816 or

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *