On Sept. 8, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on two challenges to the health law, brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia and Liberty University. In both cases, the court ruled that federal law prohibits a court from ruling on a tax – in this case, the ACA’s mandate that all Americans have health insurance or else pay a tax – before the tax goes into effect (that is, before an individual is compelled to pay the tax).
The Fourth Circuit was the first court to throw out a health law challenge on these grounds, and if the Supreme Court agrees with its ruling, it could mean that a final decision on the ACA would not be made until after 2014 when the individual mandate goes into effect. Several other health reform challenges have made their way to the Supreme Court; it could take up these cases in its upcoming term, which begins next month. To stay up to date on the latest legal challenges to the ACA, visit Kaiser Health News’ Scoreboard.