WASHINGTON — In the latest effort to sidetrack Obamacare, a federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected a challenge by a conservative group that said Congress imposed new taxes unconstitutionally when it created the Affordable Care Act.
The Pacific Legal Foundation and a small-business owner, Matt Sissel, argued that the Affordable Care Act is a bill for raising revenue and that it violated the Origination Clause of the Constitution because it began in the Senate, not the House. The Constitution requires that legislation to raise revenue must start in the House.
In a 3-0 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit says that rather than being a revenue-raising device, it is beyond dispute that the paramount aim of Obamacare is to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance and decrease the cost of health care.
“The Supreme Court has held from the early days of this nation that revenue bills are those that levy taxes in the strict sense of the word, and are not bills for other purposes which may incidentally create revenue,” appeals judge Judith Rogers ruled.
The challengers to the law said it began in the Senate when Majority Leader Harry Reid took an unrelated House bill and inserted language that became the Affordable Care Act. The original measure was designed to help veterans buy homes.
Appeals judge Judith Rogers, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, wrote the opinion for the court. The other two judges in the case — Cornelia Pillard and Robert Wilkins — are appointees of President Barack Obama.