WASHINGTON--(Pacific Legal Foundation has just launched a new constitutional cause of action against the federal Affordable Care Act. The ACA imposes a charge on Americans who fail to buy health insurance — a charge that the U.S. Supreme Court recently characterized as a tax. PLF’s amended complaint, filed late yesterday, alleges that this purported 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 (Article I, Section 7).)--
“But even though it imposes taxes, the ACA started in the Senate. That makes it a non-starter, in a constitutional sense.”
In challenging the ACA’s constitutionality, PLF attorneys represent Iowa small business owner Matt Sissel, without charge.
The amended complaint was filed in PLF’s existing lawsuit against the ACA, pending before Judge Beryl A. Howell, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“If the charge for not buying insurance is seen as a federal tax, then a new question must be asked,” said PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II. “Did Congress obey the Constitution’s requirements? No, the process for enacting this tax was backwards.”
“The Constitution says revenue-raising bills must be approved first in the House of Representatives,” said Beard. “But even though it imposes taxes, the ACA started in the Senate. That makes it a non-starter, in a constitutional sense.”
The Constitution’s “Origination” Clause provides that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.” But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took an unrelated, House-passed measure to help veterans buy homes, struck out its language, and inserted the federal health care legislation that became known as the ACA.
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is a watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, individual rights, and free enterprise, in courts nationwide.