The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a decision initially made by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and has declined to hear a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, described by some Republicans as the “death panel”.
The term “death panel” was coined by some Republicans because it had been designed to cut the costs of Medicare.
According to a report by Reuters, the court’s action in an unsigned order was a victory for Obama administration, which has faced a barrage of legal challenges to the 2010 Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare. The court is currently weighing a separate case challenging health insurance subsidies that are key to Obamacare’s implementation. A ruling is due by the end of June and could prove to be vital in maintaining the health care system brought in by Obama accompanied by much controversy.
Reuters explains that the rejected case was brought by Arizona-based business owner Nick Coons and Dr. Eric Novack, an orthopedic surgeon, sued in 2011 in litigation backed by a conservative legal group.
The pair were challenging the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, also known as the “death panel”.
Previously the case had already been thrown of lower courts, with the ruling in August 2014 stating that the plaintiffs were unable to show that they had suffered any harm that would enable them to move forward and sue someone.
Regarding the claim about the IPAB, , the court stated that under the terms of the healthcare law, the board acts only if Medicare spending increases at a certain level, according to Reuters.
It was highlighted that if any action at all would be taken, then the very earliest that this could happen following current laws, would be in 2019.
According to Reuters, the plaintiffs, represented by the Arizona based conservative Goldwater Institute, also were attempting to challenge a provision of the law, known as the individual mandate, that requires Americans to obtain health insurance but in the end these claims were also rejected by the court.
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate in 2012, in relation to the case Coons v. Lew, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-525.