After plaintiff’s bankruptcy, health law opponents try to bolster case

NFIB asks to add two individual plaintiffs to multistate lawsuit

Topics: Health Policy, Market Trends, Strategy, Payer and Regulatory Policy

January 6, 2012

After an initial plaintiff filed for bankruptcy, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has asked the Supreme Court to add two more plaintiffs to its lawsuit challenging the federal health reform law.

The high court in November 2011 announced that it will review the legal challenges against the federal health reform law in March. Four lawsuits challenging the overhaul were presented to the justices, but the court selected only the multistate lawsuit filed by 26 states, NFIB, and two individuals.

The plaintiffs argue that the individual mandate in the reform law will negatively affect independent business owners. One the individuals, Mary Brown of Panama City, Fla., recently closed her auto repair shop and filed for personal bankruptcy, putting her legal standing to sue in question.

NFIB requested permission to add Dana Grimes of Greenwich, N.Y., and David Klemencic of West Virginia to the suit. Grimes owns a building and home contracting services business, and Klemencic owns a flooring business.

Mike Carvin, an attorney for NFIB, said the organization is confident that Brown still can sue, but noted that two additional plaintiffs would help ensure that there are no questions about legal standing. Karen Harned of the NFIB said, "The unfortunate and unpredictable change in Mary Brown's financial circumstances illustrates the tenuous nature of our economy but has no impact on Mary's or NFIB's ability to challenge the health care law."

The Department of Justice did not oppose the motion for adding the plaintiffs (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 1/4 [subscription required]; Bravin/Maltby, Wall Street Journal, 1/5).

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