Recently barred fast track resolution by the U. S. Supreme Court, opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have resumed their legal quest to derail the law through the traditional Circuit Court route. Twenty-six states last week filed a motion in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta urging the court to strike down the health care overhaul law. The motion asks the court to uphold a Florida federal judge's ruling that the law's core requirement, that everyone purchase health coverage, is unconstitutional. The filing comes about a month after the Obama administration formally appealed the Florida ruling. Once the 11th and 4th Circuits rule on ACA appeals, the U. S. Supreme Court is finally expected to take on the issue and become the final arbiter -- but probably not until late 2012.
Last week the Republican-controlled House approved two bills that would repeal funding for construction of school-based health centers and assist the states in establishing school-based health centers, as otherwise authorized by ACA. Both items are part of a package of bills that are coming to the House floor to either repeal or revise ACA provisions that provide funding for various parts of the health care reform law. Neither will make it though the Democratic Senate, nor get past the President's veto pen. This effort is all about setting up various lines in the sand from which to bargain with respect to the bigger battle over the budget and the national debt. Whether either side will back down remains unclear. But it is clear that Republicans and Democrats are preparing for a major fight just around the corner.
On the Senate side, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), introduced legislation designed to further erode a provision of ACA. The Senator's legislation proposes repeal of the Medicaid/CHIP Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provision in ACA, which would give the states financial relief from the funding requirements demanded by ACA. While the House companion bill (Congressman Phil Gingrey, R-GA) may have better luck than the Hatch bill in the Senate, this effort may have more life than other anti-ACA proposals because the states are in dire financial straits and both Republican and Democratic governors are clamoring for relief from Washington.