On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into law. Congress drafted PPACA with the goals of reducing the number of uninsured Americans and lowering the increasing costs of health care. This act reforms portions of the private-health-insurance industry and public-health-insurance programs.
Since it was signed into law, the act has been extensively contested throughout the United States. Many states, organizations, and even individuals have filed a variety of actions challenging the constitutionality of PPACA. Federal appellate courts and district courts are divided on the constitutional issues advanced during this litigation.
During 2011, six certiorari petitions (which were written, respectively, by the Obama administration, the National Federation of Independent Business, the state of Virginia, a coalition of 26 states, Liberty University, and the Thomas More Law Center) were filed before the U.S. Supreme Court. While various provisions of the act are at issue, each petition focuses on the pivotal issue of whether Congress violated the Constitution by requiring virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance, a provision referred to as the “individual mandate.”