Affordable Care Act Legal Studies Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1354 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Healthcare

Depending on how this fee is defined, whether it is a penalty, tax, or something else, may determine whether the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) applies. The AIA is relevant because it contains a ripeness provision that prevents courts from getting involved in suits designed to forestall tax collection before any attempt to collect a tax has been made. In Liberty University v. Geithner the 4th Circuit Court was divided over this issue. In a separate case the 6th Circuit declared it a penalty and therefore not a tax. The D.C. Circuit is currently hearing arguments over this issue in Seven-Sky v. Holder. Whether the ripeness provision of AIA applies may be an issue the U.S. Supreme Court will take under consideration.

Commerce Clause

The ACA was enacted by Congress under the Commerce Clause (article I, section 8, clause 3) and the Necessary and Proper Clause (article I, section 8, clause 18) of the Constitution, thereby giving Congress the authority to impose the individual mandate on all non-exempt Americans (Huhn 140-141). If the individual mandate is declared unconstitutional because the Supreme Court decides the Commerce Clause is insufficient to give Congress such authority, then the primary 'funding' source for many of the other provisions in the ACA will disappear and the Act will fail.

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From Congresses' point-of-view the Commerce Clause gives them the authority to impose a penalty for not purchasing qualified health insurance because any activities that have an impact on interstate commerce fall under their jurisdiction (Ittleman par. 2). No one questions that the health insurance industry qualifies as interstate commerce, but past court decisions have always given citizens a way to avoid falling under Congressional regulation in such matters.

Term Paper on Affordable Care Act Legal Studies Assignment

In the landmark case Wickard v. Filburn, a farmer (Filburn) wanted to grow some wheat for his own consumption and believed it was none of the government's business (Ittelman par. 3). Congress and the courts disagreed, because if everyone decided to grow their own wheat it would have a dramatic impact on the wheat market nationally. A similar outcome occurred when a farmer felt Congress had no jurisdiction over his growing marijuana for personal use (Ittleman par. 4).

The main point of contention regarding the ACA individual mandate is that contrary to the wheat and marijuana markets, non-exempt citizens are required to participate by either buying health insurance or paying an opt-out fee in order to stabilize the health insurance market (Ittleman par. 6). In other words, in contrast to the farmers citizens can't choose not to participate. Several writ of certiorari are currently before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning this matter and it seems likely the justices will have to weigh in.


The onslaught of lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the ACA represents resistance to increased government intrusion into their personal lives. Although most of the suits have been dismissed for lack of standing and other reasons, a few have made it all the way to the door of the highest court in the land. Whether the ACA continues in its present form will likely depend on how the U.S. Supreme Court interprets the Commerce Clause, although at least one alternative has been suggested to get around this particular challenge (Fisher par. 10).

Works Cited

Fisher, Daniel. "Obamacare's Fate Rests with Poor Farmer Filburn." Forbes Mag., 14 Sept. 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. "Focus on Health Reform: Summary of New Health Feform Law." Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, 15 April 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

Huhn, Wilson. "Constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause." Journal of Legal Medicine 32.2 (2011): 139-165. Electronic.

Ittleman, Fuerst. "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Challenges often turn on Interpretation of the Court's Commerce Clause Jurisprudence. 20 Sept. 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.

Stolzfus, Timothy and Hall, Mark A. "Not so fast -- jurisdictional barriers… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Affordable Care Act Legal Studies" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Affordable Care Act Legal Studies.  (2011, October 29).  Retrieved December 4, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Affordable Care Act Legal Studies."  29 October 2011.  Web.  4 December 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Affordable Care Act Legal Studies."  October 29, 2011.  Accessed December 4, 2020.