WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A public interest legal organization is filing a new constitutional cause of action against the federal Affordable Care Act.
The Pacific Legal Foundation says the U.S. Supreme Court-characterized federal tax is illegal because it was introduced in the Senate rather than the House, as required by the Constitution's Origination Clause for new revenue-raising bills.
PLF announced Sept. 12 that it has amended its original lawsuit alleging that the individual mandate requiring those who do not purchase health insurance to pay a $695 yearly penalty is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the mandate is a tax, and therefore Congress was within its rights to impose it.
PLF attorneys represent Iowa small business owner Matt Sissel, without charge, in challenging the ACA's constitutionality.
PLF's Sissel lawsuit was on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court considered the challenge to the ACA from the National Federation of Independent Business and 26 states. As initially filed, PLF's Sissel lawsuit targeted the ACA's individual mandate to buy health insurance as a violation of the Constitution's Commerce Clause.
"If the charge for not buying insurance is seen as a federal tax, then a new question must be asked," PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II said in a press release. "When lawmakers passed the ACA, with all of its taxes, did they follow the Constitution's procedures for revenue increases?"
Beard noted that the Supreme Court did not rule on this question in the NFIB case. It needs to be litigated, he said.