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The Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act
In 2010, in an attempt to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance and reduce the cost of health care, Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A key provision of the act was the “individual mandate,” a provision requiring most Americans to obtain “minimum essential” health insurance. By 2014, those not exempt or covered by insurance provided by their employer or a government program would have to buy insurance from a private insurer, or they would be assessed a shared responsibility payment by the Internal Revenue Service. This penalty would be assessed and collected in the same manner as any other tax penalty.
Twenty-six states, several individuals, and the National Federation of Independent Business brought an action challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate, among other provisions of the act. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the other challenged provisions of the act but found that Congress lacked the authority to pass the individual mandate. The appellate court went on to hold that the individual mandate was severable from the rest of the act, despite the argument that the framework of the act depended on the individual mandate, and so upheld the rest of the act.
1.Did Congress have the authority to pass the act under the commerce clause?
2.Did Congress have the authority to pass the act under its power to lay and collect taxes?
Please spell with US English and use US sources only.