States’ Lawsuit Against the HHS Mandate Dismissed

Yesterday was an active day for the HHS Mandate litigation.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska dismissed an action by several States (Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Oklahoma) and several organizational and individual plaintiffs against the mandate, also on grounds of standing and ripeness. 

The organizational and individual plaintiffs’ claims were dismissed on the ground that their health plans would be grandfathered in, and that the claim that they would be “trapped” in their plans, without any real allegation that they were planning to change their plans, was too “speculative” to serve as a basis for standing.

Likewise, the States’ claims of injury, said the court, were founded “in layers of conjecture” about what would happen if religious employers stop insuring and the possible effect on the States’ Medicaid programs.  These conjectures were too speculative to confer standing.

Just like (amazingly, almost exactly like) the D.C. District Court, this court ruled on the ripeness claim even though technically it did not need to.  Notwithstanding the fact the existing rule “should be considered ‘definitive’ by virtue of its formal promulgation,” the court found that the “tenative nature of the Department’s position” counseled declining review at this point.

I’m sensing a pattern here…

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