The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and How It Impacts Employers

by Elise D. Klein & Joseph K. Hegedus

In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, No. 11-393 (U.S. June 28, 2012), the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the constitutionality of the Act as a whole, excepting only one provision that deals with the federal government's grant of Medicaid funds to states.

Excerpt:

Note: Case links below are accessible by lexis.com subscribers

The Court's opinion was one of the most anticipated in about half a century. Rather than the usual hour per side, the Court heard argument in the cases challenging the constitutionality of the Act for 5.5 hours over three days, one of the longest arguments in modern Court history. To provide comparisons, the parties were allotted 1.5 hours in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000). In United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974), a case in which a sitting President was ordered to release the Watergate tapes, 3.0 hours were spent arguing.

Thus, if the time the Supreme Court allots to oral argument is an indication of how important a case is -- and it is -- then the Act surely piqued the interest of the justices, the litigants, and the nation.

Although historically significant, the opinion did little to change the employer-provided health insurance system that existed in the United States prior to the Court's ruling, other than upholding the Act's constitutionality, thereby leaving intact its provisions that apply to employers.

The Court resolved constitutional challenges to two provisions of the Act: First, a surprising 5-to-4 majority of the Court, which included Chief Justice John Roberts, upheld the individual mandate, which requires individuals to purchase "minimum essential" health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty. Second, the Court struck one aspect of the Medicaid expansion provision. Under that provision, the federal government would have withheld all Medicaid funds from any state which elected not to expand its Medicaid roles to cover all those with incomes less than 133% of the poverty level. The Court, however, left many portions of the Medicaid expansion provisions in effect that deny federal aid to those states that elect not to expand their Medicaid roles.

Access the full version of "The PPACA and How It Impacts Employers" with your lexis.com ID. Additional fees may be incurred.

If you do not have a lexis.com ID, you can purchase this commentary and additional Emerging Issues Commentaries from the LexisNexis Store.

Lexis.com subscribers can access the complete set of Emerging Issues Analyses for Labor & Employment Law the and the Labor & Employment Area of Law page.

For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site.