Justice Department, Lawmakers File SCOTUS Health Suit Briefs

The Obama administration brief is the first of four that will be filed before the end of February. The Supreme Court will hear arguments starting March 26. 

Read the DOJ brief.  

Read the plaintiffs' brief.

Politico: Justice Department Defends Health Mandate
The Obama administration on Friday told the Supreme Court that the requirement to buy insurance in its health reform law is well within Congress’s constitutional boundaries — and insisted that legally, the law doesn’t break any new ground. The 130-page brief is the first the Justice Department has filed since the court agreed to review the law. ... In the brief, the Justice Department argues that the mandate is needed to break a “cycle” of cost-shifting that ultimately makes health insurance more expensive for everyone (Haberkorn, 1/6).

Bloomberg: Obama Lawyers Defend Health-Care Law at U.S. High Court 
"Congress has wide latitude when deciding how best to achieve its constitutional objectives, and its decision to adopt a minimum-coverage provision was eminently reasonable," argued U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, the administration’s top Supreme Court advocate. Opponents of the law, including a group of 26 states led by Florida, contend that Congress exceeded that authority by requiring people to buy insurance even if they say they want to pay their own health expenses or don’t plan to ever seek medical care. People who don’t comply with the provision, which takes effect in 2014, must pay a penalty (Stohr, 1/6).

The Associated Press/NPR: Gov't Defends Core Of Health Care Overhaul
The Obama administration is defending the health care overhaul in a new filing with the Supreme Court that calls the law an appropriate response to a "crisis in the national health care market." ... A federal appeals court struck down the so-called individual mandate as exceeding Congress' power under the Constitution (Sherman, 1/6).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama: Scotus, Tear Down This Challenge
Between now and mid-March, when the hearings will take place, we’ll see a flurry of briefing by a number of parties on both sides of the issue. But we’re guessing that no brief will be as widely scrutinized as the brief filed Friday, which argues that the individual mandate — the portion of the law requiring everyone in the country to have health insurance — is constitutional (Jones, 1/6).

The Hill: Republicans, Economists Urge Supreme Court to Strike Entire Healthcare Law
More than 100 congressional Republicans signed a brief Friday urging the Supreme Court to strike down the entire healthcare reform law if it finds the law's individual mandate unconstitutional. The lawmakers joined an amicus brief filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative advocacy group. If the Supreme Court strikes down the requirement that almost all Americans purchase health insurance, the brief says, it should toss out all of the Affordable Care Act (Baker, 1/6).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.