Legal Alert: Eleventh Circuit Finds Individual Mandate Provision of Health Care Reform Law Unconstitutional


The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has stricken the individual mandate provision of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional; however, the court held that this provision is severable from the remainder of the Act. Thus, unlike the federal trial court decision from which this appeal was taken, the Eleventh Circuit did not find the entire Act invalid. See Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services (11th Cir. Aug. 12, 2011).

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was enacted in 2010 and contained numerous provisions including a requirement that, beginning in 2014, everyone (with certain limited exceptions) must purchase federally-approved health insurance or pay a monetary penalty. Earlier this year, a federal trial court in Florida held that Congress exceeded the power granted to it under the Commerce Clause when it enacted the individual mandate provision. That court also held that the individual mandate could not be severed from the other provisions of the Act, and, accordingly, found the entire law to be unconstitutional. See Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services (N.D. Fla. Jan. 31, 2011). The government appealed this decision to the Eleventh Circuit.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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