Affordable Care Act Moot Court Energizes Packed House
Video Offers 'Peek Behind The Curtain' of Highly Anticipated U.S. Supreme Court Case Set to Begin Oral Arguments on March 26This week, The California Endowment hosted a nonpartisan moot court event at which the constitutionality of the minimum coverage requirement in the the new federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was argued by renowned Supreme Court litigator Kathleen M. Sullivan before a panel of nine blue ribbon constitutional and health policy experts.
Sullivan, Former Dean of Stanford Law and partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the case (United States Department of Health & Human Services v. Florida et al.) on behalf of The California Endowment.
In her opening remarks she gave a rousing defense of the new health care law's "controversial" minimum coverage requirement. "Only if you ensure that people take health insurance before they get sick, before they are on their way to the hospital in the ambulance ... unless you have that mandatory minimum coverage, the other two provisions won't work," said Sullivan.
On the other side, Theodore J. Boutrous, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, argued that the so-called individual mandate goes beyond the federal powers in the Constitution.
"For the first time in American history, the federal government is claiming the power to compel private citizens to engage in commerce by spending their own money for goods and services they do not want," said Boutrous.
In a memorable response to a pointed line of questioning from Justice Daniel Kessler, Sullivan directly attacked the notion that the broken health care system in America could somehow be fixed without the individual mandate in the minimum coverage requirement. She leveled the playing field and caused an audience cheer by saying, "We've tried it your way â€" [now] let me refer to The California Endowment's amicus brief!"
The 90 minute program was cohosted by media sponsor public radio station KPCC-FM (89.3) â€" who sent popular host Larry Mantle to open the program â€" and a virtual who's who of California's most distinguished law schools, including: Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University, Southwestern, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Hastings, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles and University of Southern California.
Intended to educate, the event brought together a truly bipartisan mix of renowned legal minds and policy experts to hear and argue the case that will decide the health status of millions. Oral arguments are set to begin on March 26, 2012. Despite significant national media and heightened public interest in the case, the Court has not indicated intent to change its policy of forbidding cameras to be present during arguments. However, the Court is expected to release audio recordings of the proceedings.
"At The California Endowment we know that the Affordable Care Act will positively impact the health of communities in our state and its implementation is core to our mission of ensuring all Californians have access to health care services." said CEO of The California Endowment Robert K. Ross, M.D. "The moot court helped bring this critical debate to the public and allowed us to highlight key evidence within our amicus brief that illustrates the clear constitutionality of the law as well as the human cost of inaction in the state with the highest number of uninsured."
WATCH FULL MOOT COURT
Justices Included Renowned Legal Scholars & Policy Experts: Vikram Amar - UC Davis Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Law Hon. Gray Davis
The California Endowment is dedicated to the full implementation of Affordable Care Act (ACA) or any law that aims to expand health care coverage to the underserved. As illustrated in The California Endowment's ACA filings, this law will impact the health status of millions in California alone. The Endowment is engaged in a non-partisan, multi-million dollar statewide education effort to raise awareness of the facts, benefits, and newly established eligibility provisions contained in the new health care law. With the largest number of uninsured persons in the country and an aggressive enrollment and implementation plan already underway, California has the most to lose if the ACA is found to be unconstitutional.
By way of esteemed Supreme Court litigator Kathleen M. Sullivan, The California Endowment filed an amicus or 'friend of the court' brief to the United States Supreme Court in support of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The California Endowment's amicus brief presents the Court with additional arguments in favor of concluding that the Minimum Coverage Requirement ("MCR") of the ACA lies fully within Congress's authority under the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses of the United States Constitution. The brief explains the MCR's real and tangible link to interstate commerce, and its function as a correction to market failure.
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