NFIB v. Sebelius (2012)

In 2010, The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act was enacted. Its purpose was to allow more Americans to be insured at a lower cost. The act provided a provision to Americans, stating that those that are not exempt must maintain minimum coverage for health insurance or they will be required to pay a penalty. In addition to this individual mandate, the Affordable Care Act (ACA)  contained Medicaid expansion which required states to accept in order to receive federal funding of Medicaid. The Act will cover the increase due to the Medicaid expansion, however, the states that do not comply will face the possibility of losing federal funding.

The National Federation of Independent Business, along with 26 other states, argued that the individual mandate was unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and that Medicaid expansions were a coercive measure which is, too, unconstitutional. The issues that arose from the case were (1) whether or not the suit that challenged the ACA barred by the Anti-Injunction Act (2) if Congress had the authority to require states to purchase minimum coverage, and (3) If Congress exceeded the enumerated powers under the commerce clause when pressuring states to accept conditions or face the possibility of Congress withholding funding. The Court held that the suit was not barred because” Congress did not intend that the payment for non-compliance with the Individual Mandate be a tax for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act.” Also, because the consequence for noncompliance of the individual mandate only called for a penalty and not a tax, Congress has authority to require minimum coverage because the penalty is not a coercive measure, like fines. However, the Court did determine that the mandate was not a valid exercise of Congress’ power to regulate commerce because it was compelling individuals to participate.

Annotated External Links

“National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius 567 U.S. ___ (2012).” Justia Law. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

“National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius.” Oyez. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.


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