The 6th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals panel released a 2-1 decision in Thomas More Law Center, et al. v. Obama, et al., No. 10-2388. This decision upheld the controversial individual mandate (also referred to as “minimum coverage provision”) provision in the Patient, Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by saying that “[the mandate] is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause.” The individual mandate requires that nearly all Americans maintain health care insurance or pay a progress income-based fine for lacking coverage.
There are similar decisions pending in the 4th and 11th Circuits. Opponents of the individual mandate will now need at least one of the appeals courts to overturn the individual mandate if they wish for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of PPACA’s individual mandate provisions. Opponents of the mandate argue that Congress lacks the legal authority to require Americans maintain health care insurance while proponents argue that the mandate provision is needed to hold down health care costs and provide access.