The U.S. Supreme Court is raising the possibility that it still could knock out an important part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).
The court has brought a suit challenging PPACA, Liberty University et al. vs. Geithner (11-438), back to life and asked a lower court, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, to take another look at the case.
The court has told the 4th Circuit to review Liberty University vs. Geithner in light of the decision the court issued in response to National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) vs. Sebelius (11-393).
One PPACA provision calls for many individuals to own a minimum level of health coverage or else pay a tax, and another provision, the “employer shared responsibility” provision, requires many employers to provide health coverage or else pay a tax.
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Liberty University, a Virginia university affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, sued U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to object to the PPACA individual and employer coverage mandates.
The Supreme Court ruled in June in the NFIB decision that Congress did have the authority under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to impose a tax on individuals who fail to own a minimum level of coverage. The court also found that the federal courts did have the legal authority to review challenges to PPACA, even though the federal Anti-Injunction Act normally keeps the federal courts from considering challenges to new taxes until the taxes have taken effect.
The Supreme Court did not consider a challenge to the employer coverage mandate at that time.