Monday, August 8, 2011

Third Circuit turns down health reform challenge

The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld a district court ruling that those challenging the validity of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not have standing to sue because they could not demonstrate any injury caused by the law.

The Third Circuit is the second appellate court to rule on the ACA.

In the Third Circuit case, Mario A. Criscito, a licensed New Jersey physician, "Patient Roe," a patient of Dr. Criscito's, and New Jersey Physicians, Inc., challenged the individual mandate and employer responsibility provisions of the ACA. A circuit court did not rule on the substance of the complaint but dismissed the case. because all three of the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate injury in fact and thus did not have standing to sue.

The plaintiffs appealed, and in New Jersey Physicians, Inc., v. President of U.S. (No. 10-460; Aug. 3, 2011), the Third Circuit upheld the district court. The Third Circuit noted that "Roe fails to set forth any current 'actual,' 'concrete, and particularized' injury. There are no facts alleged to indicate that Roe is in any way presently impacted by the [ACA] or the mandate."

In addition, according to the ruling, "The complaint sets forth no facts to establish that Dr. Criscito is suffering or will suffer an actual or imminent 'concrete and particularized' injury." The court came to the same conclusion for the claim of injury by New Jersey Physicians, Inc.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs have 90 days to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

For more information. For a comprehensive analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the full text of the law and additional information on health reform implementation and other recent developments in employee benefits, just click here.


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