Lead Plaintiff in the Individual Mandate Litigation has Unpaid Medical Bills

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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7 Responses

  1. JoeJP says:

    Not a great vehicle for their side, yes, but there is a such level of pretend that is required to argue that side. It’s probably hard to be totally objective about the whole thing.

  2. Adam says:

    I don’t really see this as a problem for the anti-ACA side. The principles involved here are roughly a million times bigger than the situation of the individual plaintiff, and I can’t imagine any of the Justices being swayed even by the world’s most compelling fact pattern.

  3. Joey Fishkin says:

    I agree that it’s not a significant problem.

    However, the optics are bad for the anti-ACA side, and I’m sure someone will note it in a brief.

    Even if the medical bills were, as she says, not the main cause of her bankruptcy, et cetera, which I do not doubt, there is still the stubborn fact that the hospitals or providers are going to write off these bills and pass the costs along to the rest of us. Whatever one thinks of the ACA as a whole, that is as good an illustration as any of the premise that going without insurance results in taking hidden subsidies from other patients.

  4. JoeJP says:

    I’m not sure how it is not a “problem” though the “significance” is debatable.

    For instance, in one case, it turned out that someone who brought a major capital case to the Supreme Court was likely guilty. This doesn’t suddenly mean that his claim was invalid since many others could bring the claim and their guilt might be much less apparent.

    But, it is honestly not a good thing to have as one of your vehicles someone who is a symbol of what the other side says is the basis of their case. And, fact patterns do concern people who bring these cases. A lot of effort is made to bring very sympathetic fact patterns for a reason even though the issues are bigger than any one person.

  5. Todd Klimson says:

    Great job on vetting the plaintiff.

  6. Steven Lubet says:

    The plaintiff was presented as somebody who made a rational decision to bear all of her own medical expenses; thus, it was argued, her liberty would be infringed by the ACA. She was, by God, going to pay her own way, completely free of government intrusion. Except, of course, that she didn’t, and the sturdy, independent, self-pay medical consumer turns out to be a myth.

    Also, some of her bills were apparently owed to out-of-state providers. Thus, her inaction (not buying insurance) turns out to impose a burden on interstate commerce.

    Seems pretty persuasive to me. The case for the ACA is no longer hypothetical (not that it ever was), and in fact it has been demonstrated by one of the plaintiffs herself.

    (It doesn’t matter why she declared bankruptcy. What matters is the effect of her decision on others, and on interstate commerce.)

  7. Orin Kerr says:

    Adam writes:

    *********
    I don’t really see this as a problem for the anti-ACA side. The principles involved here are roughly a million times bigger than the situation of the individual plaintiff, and I can’t imagine any of the Justices being swayed even by the world’s most compelling fact pattern.
    *********

    It’s not particularly likely to make a difference, I agree, especially because the challengers have the uphill battle here. But I can certainly imagine it influencing a Justice or two at the margins. If I were Paul Clement, I would think this a somewhat unfortunate turn of events.