Health Care Lawsuits is an informational resource on legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act. Since 2010, we've been tracking scores of cases challenging various parts of the law.
By Hadley Heath
Today the Supreme Court announced that it will not hear Coons v. Lew, a case that was first filed in August 2010 against ObamaCare's Independent Payment Advisory Board or IPAB. This board is tasked with reducing Medicare's costs, and wields incredible power. The Goldwater Institute, the group that is managing the litigation of the suit, explains that the case is about Separation of Powers, and that IPAB is "an unconstitutional consolidation of government power in an unelected, unaccountable executive agency."
The Court, by refusing to take up the case, is allowing a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to stand. The Ninth Circuit decided to throw the case out because plaintiffs had not shown any harm that they'd suffered as a result of IPAB.
Like many parts of ObamaCare, the implementation of IPAB has been delayed and changed via executive action. No one has been appointed to serve on the board, which was supposed to be put together in 2014. There have also been (unsuccessful) Congressonal attempts to repeal the IPAB.
IPAB, as designed by the Affordable Care Act, is supposed to be a 15-member board of appointees who serve 6-year terms. If Medicare spending increases by a certain amount, the IPAB is tasked with proposing cuts to the program. The IPAB proposal becomes law automatically, unless a supermajority in both houses of Congress acts to stop the IPAB cuts and replace them with cuts of an equal or greater amount. You can read more about the IPAB here.
Plaintiffs, and the Goldwater Institute, responded today by pointing out that their case isn't dead, it's simply "in a holding pattern" until someone experiences real harm because of IPAB (which has yet to be implemented). When someone is harmed, they can pick up their case and try again.