Association Lacked Standing To Challenge ACA Mandates

A doctors association lacked standing to challenge the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) because it failed to prove that it or its members suffered an imminent injury-in-fact that could be fairly traceable to the IRS’s actions. The case is Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. v. J. Koskinen (U.S. District Court, E.D. Wisconsin, No. 13-C-1214, March 18, 2014).

The association’s claim that it was injured by the IRS postponing the employer mandate because it imposed a burden upon individuals who would be forced to purchase insurance premiums instead of making direct payments to doctors, causing the association’s members to lose patients and revenue was rejected. Whether employers would or would not offer health insurance to their employees until the employer mandate became effective was speculative.

Moreover, if employers choose not to offer health insurance before enforcement, the employees subject to the individual mandate would have the discretion to pay the applicable penalty to the IRS or buy insurance. Further, the association’s claim that the IRS’s actions caused the insurance premiums of some association members to increase was rejected because they failed to identify a member whose insurance premium actually increased.

Even if the association had properly identified a member, the link between association’s alleged injury and the IRS’s actions was far too attenuated to confer standing.

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