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Bryant v. Holder et al

Bryant v. Holder et al

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Published by Doug Mataconis
Dismissal Order in Bryant v. Holder
Dismissal Order in Bryant v. Holder

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Published by: Doug Mataconis on Feb 04, 2011
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08/12/2014

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In support of their motion, Defendants advanced three arguments pertaining to subjectmatter jurisdiction. They have since withdrawn their argument concerning the Anti-InjunctionAct. After reviewing the parties’ briefs and relevant authorities, the Court is of the opinion that
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPIHATTIESBURG DIVISIONLT. GOV. PHIL BRYANT, et. al.PLAINTIFFSVERSUS CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:10-CV-76-KS-MTPERIC HOLDER, JR., in his official capacity asAttorney General of the United States, et. al.DEFENDANTS
M
EMORANDUM
O
PINION AND
O
RDER
This case, like many others filed throughout the country, involves a facial Constitutionalchallenge to the “minimum essential coverage” provision of the Patient Protection and AffordableCare Act (“PPACA”), 111 P
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148, § 1501(b), 124 Stat. 119, 244 (2010) (codified asamended at 26 U.S.C. § 5000A). Presently before the Court is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [13].It is not this Court’s “task or duty to wade into the thicket of conflicting opinion” on any of the public policy matters implicated by this case.
Florida v. United States Dep’t of HHS
, 716 F.Supp. 2d 1120, 1128 (N.D. Fla. 2010). A case which presents a Constitutional challenge is “not alicense for courts to judge the wisdom, fairness, or logic of legislative choices.”
Cantu-Delgadillov. Holder 
, 584 F.3d 682, 688-89 (5th Cir. 2009) (citing
FCC v. Beach Commc’ns, Inc.
, 508 U.S. 307,313, 113 S. Ct. 2096, 124 L. Ed. 2d 211 (1993));
see also Gonzalez v. Raich
, 545 U.S. 1, 9, 125 S.Ct. 2195, 162 L. Ed. 2d 1 (2005) (question before the Court was not whether enforcement of statutewas wise, but, rather, whether Congress had the power to regulate the market in question). The Courtshall not address the merits of Plaintiffs’ case here. Rather, its present task is solely to determinewhether it has jurisdiction over this matter.
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Case 2:10-cv-00076-KS-MTP Document 26 Filed 02/03/11 Page 1 of 23
 
the standing and ripeness issues concern, in pertinent part, the same issue: whether Plaintiffs’alleged injuries are sufficiently certain. Therefore, the Court’s ripeness analysis would besubstantially redundant of its standing analysis. As the standing issue is dispositive at this juncture, the Court left Defendants’ ripeness argument unaddressed.2For the reasons stated below, Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [13] is
granted in part
. TheCourt finds that the allegations of Plaintiffs’ First Amended Petition, as stated therein, areinsufficient to show that they have standing to challenge the minimum essential coverage provisionof the PPACA. Therefore, the Court dismisses Plaintiffs’ First Amended Petition without prejudice.However, as is its custom, the Court grants Plaintiffs leave to amend within thirty (30) days of theentry of this Memorandum Opinion and Order.
I.
 
B
ACKGROUND
Plaintiffs challenge the Constitutionality of the minimum essential coverage provision of thePPACA, 26 U.S.C. § 5000A. The provision requires that “[a]n applicable individual shall for eachmonth beginning after 2013 ensure that the individual, and any dependent of the individual who isan applicable individual, is covered under minimum essential coverage for such month.” 26 U.S.C.§ 5000A(a). An “applicable individual” is any person in the United States except for the following:1) persons who are subject to certain religious exemptions; 2) persons who are not lawfully presentin this country; and 3) persons who are incarcerated. 26 U.S.C. § 5000A(d). “Minimum essentialcoverage” is defined as health insurance coverage obtained through certain government-sponsoredprograms, eligible employer-sponsored insurance plans, or other eligible insurance plans obtainedthrough the individual market. 26 U.S.C. § 5000A(f)(1).If any applicable individual or person for whom that applicable individual is liable – suchas dependents or a spouse – fails to comply with the provision during any month, a tax penalty will
Case 2:10-cv-00076-KS-MTP Document 26 Filed 02/03/11 Page 2 of 23
 
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The Court assumes that Plaintiff Bryant receives health insurance coverage as part of hiscompensation as a state employee. Therefore, it is unclear – from the allegations of the FirstAmended Petition – what potential benefit could inure to him by dropping his health insurancecoverage and, hence, what potential harm is done by his continued receipt of said coverage.Further, it is unclear whether state employees, such as Plaintiff Bryant, may even waive theirhealth insurance coverage.3be imposed on the applicable individual. 26 U.S.C. § 5000A(b)(1). The penalty shall be includedwith the applicable individual’s tax return for the year in which the failure to obtain minimumessential coverage occurs. 26 U.S.C. § 5000A(b)(2). However, no penalty will be imposed on 1)those who can not afford coverage; 2) those who have so little income they are not required to filea tax return; 3) members of Native American tribes; 4) those who experience only a short gap incoverage; and 5) those who, subject to the determination of the Secretary of Health and HumanServices, “have suffered a hardship with respect to the capability to obtain coverage under aqualified health plan.” 26 U.S.C. § 5000A(e).Ten of the Plaintiffs are private individuals residing in the state of Mississippi who do notpossess any form of health insurance and purportedly have no desire or intention to comply with theminimum essential coverage provision. They argue that the provision constitutes a concrete threatof injury insofar as it will force them to purchase health insurance or be subject to a financialpenalty. They further argue that it will force them to manage their financial affairs to prepare for theprovision’s requirements. One of the Plaintiffs is a state employee who argues that the minimumessential coverage provision will injure him insofar as it will force the state of Mississippi to offerinsurance plans which conform to the PPACA’s requirements, rather than conforming to the desiresof state employees. He further argues that the provision will injure him because he will not be ableto drop his employer-sponsored insurance coverage without incurring the tax penalty.
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Case 2:10-cv-00076-KS-MTP Document 26 Filed 02/03/11 Page 3 of 23

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