Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Supreme Court Case Against Health Care Overhaul Could Lose "Standing"

US Supreme Court
The Supreme Court Building

The Supremes will likely have to first decide if anyone still has standing to press the case against the Health Care Overhaul passed and signed into law in 2010.

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In August, Mary Brown, the owner of a small auto repair shop in Florida, became the only successful plaintiff to get her case against President Obama's Health Care Overhaul past a District Court and to the Supremes.

But this year, just after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the business woman, she became a non business woman by closing up her auto repair shop according to a Wall Street Journal report "Hurdle for Health-Law Suit". (If this link doesn't work for you, copy the words "Hurdle for health law suit" into Google which is authorized to give you 5 such entries into the WSJ daily according to what I've heard and indeed that is how I got into online WSJ today.

The Court doesn't want to decide on the case surrounding the Universal Health Care Plan based on the case of an individual because the balance of costs versus benefits is unclear. As a business owner Ms. Brown could have argued argued that being forced to pay for employees' insurance would have made it impossible to continue her business. It turned out though that her business was apparently nonviable even without the added cost of health insurance for employees. In addition the plaintiff and her husband filed bankruptcy in September and their financial problems could exempt them from the mandate as private citizens.

A retired investment banker was also a plaintiff on the case, but he acted as an individual, again something the court already seems to say doesn't give a person standing. A business association that Mary Brown belongs to believes they can assume standing, but they weren't part of the case as judged by the 11th Circuit Court.

And on it goes with one expert saying there is likely no standing left and another saying that if the Supreme Court wants to find standing, it will find it. I think the standing issue will show whether the right wing members of the most prominent court in the land are truly conservative, or just determined to sell the nation to the highest bidders.