Harris, joined by 12 other attorneys general, argued in the brief that the Constitution gives Congress broad powers to regulate interstate commerce, including individual conduct that substantially affects interstate commerce.
“Though state governments and private actors have taken important and innovative steps to expand access to health care and to restrain the growth of health care costs, no remedy can be fully effective without action on a national level. The Commerce Clause empowers Congress to take such action, and Congress properly employed that power in addressing the nation’s healthcare crisis through the reforms enacted in the Affordable Care Act,” the amicus brief states.
In August 2011, the U.S 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s minimum coverage provision, which requires that individuals maintain adequate health insurance, is unconstitutional. The United States government appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in the matter in March 2012 (see Supreme Court Sets Week Aside to Hear PPACA Arguments).