Health Insurance Changes Face Legal Challenges
October 22, 2010
Although federal legislation leading to universal coverage has been signed into law, it's facing constitutional challenges likely to be resolved by the
Robert R. McMillan , of counsel to
After a judge in
U.S. District Judge
McMillan said the 10th Amendment states powers not delegated to the federal government "are reserved to the states," potentially leading to a legal interpretation that mandatory health insurance oversteps federal authority.
"In the federal law, there's no law that says everybody must have automobile liability insurance," said McMillan, a former trustee of the
In a speech titled "Healthcare Today and in the Future," he outlined a history in which numerous efforts to provide universal health care have been abandoned or derailed, although none ever got as far as that of the Obama administration.
"With Watergate, that evaporated and nothing took place," said McMillan, who had been an assistant to Nixon.
McMillan then described a situation in which health care virtually forced itself onto the political stage due to soaring costs.
He said 61 percent of health insurance today is employer sponsored, 16 percent is
He said health care spending is expected to reach
"Costs are accelerating for a lot of reasons. There's new and more technology. Every hospital has to have up-to-date equipment. That costs a lot," McMillan said. "More people are taking prescription drugs. And there are more prescription drugs out there to take."
McMillan said in addition to legal challenges, more than 50 companies and unions have requested waivers from provisions in the new health care law.
"Stay tuned. You're going to hear a lot more about this," he said. "That waiver provision was involved in 2,700 pages of the law. I wonder how many members of
The law indicates that as of 2014 everyone is required to have coverage or pay a
Companies with more than 50 employees must provide coverage or pay a
McMillan said the new law is expected to generate 10,000 pages of regulations, leading to more work for consultants as well as courts.
"There's no doubt about it in my mind," he said. "The lawyers and accountants will have a field day in trying to implement and figure out what steps a company will have to take."
While other suits could be filed and proceed, McMillan sees the suit in
"Attorney generals have joined the
"I would think it might be a year or a year and a half before this gets finally resolved," McMillan said.
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