August 12, 2011
For additional information:
Jason Hammersla

With conflicting appellate court rulings, Supreme Court consideration of PPACA certain

Employers urge swift resolution to constitutionality of health care law

WASHINGTON, DC — "Today's decision finding individual health coverage mandate to be unconstitutional should dispel all doubt as to who will ultimately decide this issue. With two circuit courts of appeals split on this fundamental question, the U.S. Supreme Court must resolve it, and the sooner the better," said American Benefits Council President James A. Klein today.

"The fact that today's decision upheld the rest of the law, while striking down the mandate, does not make the situation any clearer. Employers are working hard to implement the new law. In fact, significant proposed regulations regarding employer responsibilities were issued by the Obama Administration just today. Knowing whether people must obtain health coverage is critical for individuals and for the employers from whom most Americans get their coverage. Citizens, employers and all stakeholders deserve the clarity that only the Supreme Court can provide," said Klein.

At issue in today's case and other pending lawsuits is whether the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a valid exercise of Congress's authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause. While the Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court has now ruled the mandate unconstitutional, the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court recently found the mandate to be a valid exercise of the Commerce Clause. A decision on the matter is still pending in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

"More than anything else, employers need certainty in order to focus on their core business mission. Whether the question is tax rates, funding obligations for their pension plans or the future of the nation's health care system, clear answers are essential. At least with regard to the constitutionality of the health law, only the Supreme Court can provide that clarity," concluded Klein.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Council staff on legal implications of the health care law, please contact Jason Hammersla, Council director, communications, at 202-289-6700.

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The American Benefits Council is the national trade association for companies concerned about federal legislation and regulations affecting all aspects of the employee benefits system. The Council's members represent the entire spectrum of the private employee benefits community and either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.