State business group files brief on health care reform with U.S. Supreme Court

The Association of Washington Business announced it has submitted an amici curiae, or “friends of the court” brief, to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the landmark federal 2010 health care reform law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“This is one of the most pressing decisions in recent history for private employers because of the potential impact the law stands to have on an employer’s ability to offer affordable, flexible coverage options for their employees,” association president Don Brunell said, in a March 26 press release. “All employers will face unprecedented reporting mandates, potential penalties, new taxes and tax increases to support the creation and significant expansion of new state and federal programs. Because of our unique role representing employers of all sizes and industries, state chambers and equivalent groups have a vested interest to ensure the court considers employers perspectives in their deliberation of this case.”

Joining AWB and Washington state in the brief are state chambers of commerce from Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. The coalition is being coordinated by AWB’s Donna Steward and counterparts at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

The brief requests that the constitutionality of the federal health care law be decided without delay in order to relieve uncertainties now facing employers and their employees. It focuses on the federal Anti-Injunction Act, the topic of the first day of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court.

It says the court should clear any procedural hurdles and reach the question now, lest employers across the country face significant uncertainty and administrative burden as they attempt to comply with the employer responsibility provisions in the law.

The brief advocates for a complete and comprehensive review of the law, so that no clouds of uncertainty are created if parts of the law are deferred for another day, while controversy still lingers over the law’s validity. It does not, however, take a position on whether the law should be upheld or repealed.

The justices will use the second day of the hearings to consider the central issue of the constitutionality of the individual mandate. On day three, the court will hear arguments on whether other parts of the law should be invalidated along with the individual mandate. The justices also will consider the states’ challenge to a provision expanding the Medicaid program for the poor.

The  court will hear arguments over three days, from March 26 to March 28.

More information can be found at

The Association of Washington Business is the state’s oldest and largest business association. Founded in 1904, it now includes more than 7,800 members representing 650,000 employees.


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