June 29, 2011
For additional information:
Jason Hammersla

Appeals court's health care law decision underscores importance of resolving constitutionality

Employers urge swift resolution to PPACA legal challenges

WASHINGTON, DC"Today's decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) underscores the need for the other appeals courts considering this matter to issue their opinions expeditiously," said American Benefits Council President James A. Klein today.

At issue in this case and other pending cases is whether the law's individual mandate is a valid exercise of Congress's authority under the Constitution's Commerce Clause. The Sixth Circuit Appeals Court is the first appeals court — and so far the highest court — to rule on this question. Oral arguments on this issue recently took place in both the 4th and 11th Circuit Courts of Appeals.

"Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court will determine the constitutionality of the mandate. Everyone involved in this process needs clarity and certainty around the important issues now being considered by the federal courts. The sooner this litigation moves through the judicial process, the better for all concerned — regardless of the final decision," said Klein.

"In the event the Supreme Court strikes down the mandate it would also need to decide whether doing so invalidates the entire health care law or only the mandate itself," said Klein. "We are still months away from a final judicial resolution. But employers who provide health coverage to workers and their families are as interested as citizens themselves in knowing the ultimate outcome," Klein concluded.

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.