June 28, 2012 — Members of the Northeastern law community both contributed to amicus briefs and are now commenting on the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on the Affordable Care Act. In particular, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited an amicus brief co-authored by Professor Wendy Parmet.

"The Court’s decision that Congress did not have the power under the commerce clause to enact the mandate does not matter for the ACA, since the mandate survives as a tax. It may, however, have significant implications for future federal legislation."
Professor Wendy Parmet

"The multiple opinions in the ACA case today do not gloss over the deep divisions on the Court concerning the role of the Court and the construction of basic Constitutional principles governing Congressional action. At the same time, the majority opinion transcends these divides to uphold the fundamental approach that elected officials — members of Congress and the President — agreed upon to address the nation's health care crisis. This is, at bottom, a deferential decision, of the kind that Chief Justice Roberts promised Americans when he took his oath of office."
Professor Martha Davis

“The Supreme Court’s decision reduced the uncertainty that has impeded the difficult work of implementing health care reform, but did not eliminate it.  Given the upcoming elections and the  continued political debate surrounding the ACA, uncertainty will continue.  Nevertheless, providers and policymakers are forging ahead with reforms that will hopefully result in not only more access to care for the previously uninsured, but also higher-quality, more efficiently-provided care for everyone.”
Professor Kristin Madison 

Contributions

As part of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited an amicus brief that was co-written by Associate Dean and Matthews Distinguished University Professor Wendy Parmet (as Counsel of Record). Justice Ginsburg writes, "States that undertake health-care reforms on their own thus risk 'placing themselves in a position of economic disadvantage as compared with neighbors or competitors.' Davis, 301 U.S., at 644. See also Brief for Health Care for All, Inc., et al. as Amici Curiae in No. 11–398, p. 4 ('[O]utof-state residents continue to seek and receive millions of dollars in uncompensated care in Massachusetts hospitals, limiting the State’s efforts to improve its health care system through the elimination of uncompensated care.')."

Northeastern law students Giovanni DiMaggio and Joel Rothman, along with professors Martha Davis and Margaret Woo, and co-counsel Risa Kaufman of the Columbia Human Rights Institute, filed an amicus brief on the Medicaid expansion issue decided by the Supreme Court on Thursday. The brief, joined by the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights and other civil rights and human rights groups, argued that the Medicaid expansion portion of the ACA was an important step toward fulfilling the United States' human rights obligations. While the Court placed some limitations on the Medicaid expansion, it upheld the law's basic premise and permitted continued federal spending to encourage states to expand Medicaid to cover individuals with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty line. 

Commentary


The Boston Globe
July 23, 2012 
What does the Supreme Court’s health care decision mean for federal-state relations?
Professors Michael Dukasis and Wendy Parmet

The Wall Street Journal
June 29, 2012 
Roberts' Radioactive Tax Precedent
Sohrab Ahmari '12  

Boston Herald
June 29, 2012
Experts: Challenges to Controversial Law Will Likely Continue
Professors Wendy Parmet and Martha Davis

news@Northeastern
June 29, 2012 
3Qs: Breaking Down the Supreme Court's Health-Reform Ruling
Professor Kristin Madison 

The Guardian
June 28, 2012
The Supreme Court Healthcare Reform Ruling: Panel Verdict (blog)
Professor Martha Davis

bankrate.com
June 28, 2012
What the health care reform ruling means 
Professor Kristin Madison

The Guardian
June 27, 2012
Which Way Will the Supreme Court Rule on Obamacare: Panel Predictions (blog)
Professor Martha Davis 

news@Northeastern
June 11, 2012
3Qs: The Future of the Affordable Care Act
Professor Kristin Madison