Supreme Court Rejects Separate Anti-Obamacare Lawsuit

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March 30, 2015 10:14 a.m.

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would not hear a legal challenge to a part of Obamacare, one of many lawsuits against the sweeping health care law enacted five years ago.

The Court denied “certiorari” without explanation in Coons v. Lew, which alleges that the law’s Independent Payment Advisory Board is unconstitutional because it has too much power and not enough oversight from Congress.

The board was designed as a safety valve to hold down health care costs by proposing recommendations to reduce Medicare spending growth if it exceeded a certain level. Congress could override the cuts with a two-thirds majority or by enacting a similar level of savings. Because health care costs have been relatively slow in recent years, the board has not taken effect.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the challenge for a lack of jurisdiction after a district court ruled against the challengers on the merits. The appeals court also rejected a part of the lawsuit that challenged the individual mandate, which the Supreme Court upheld in 2012.

The moves by the appeals court and Supreme Court mean the legal challenge could return after IPAB takes effect and once the courts can evaluate the potential injury caused by its proposals.

The case is unrelated to King v. Burwell, which poses a far greater threat to Obamacare and which the Supreme Court is expected to decide by the end of June.

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