Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BNA's Health Care Policy Report


Access to Health Care; Insurance; Uninsured; Legal; Case Law


Chief among the issues that the United States Supreme Court considers in United States Department of Health and Human Services et al. v Florida et al. is the questionof whether Congress has the constitutional power to apply a “minimum essential coverage requirement” on most nonelderly Americans. Opponents of the provision (referred to under the Act as the “Individual Responsibility” requirement) argue that compelling individuals to buy affordable health insurance coverage exceeds Congressional powers. By contrast, the United States Department of Justice and supporters of the law assert that the minimum coverage requirement is consistent with a long line of Supreme Court decisions regarding the power of Congress to regulate individual conduct. The Administration, in a brief filed on January 9, 2012, argues that Congressional authority to act can be found under both its taxing powers as well as its power under the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause to regulate interstate commerce. The Commerce Clause arguments are of special interest, because it is this basis of power that has received so much attention in the lower court decisions to date.

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Health Policy Commons



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