Supreme Court declines Goldwater ACA challenge

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge by the Goldwater Institute challenge of the Independent Payment Advisory Board created by the Affordable Care Act.

Goldwater attorney Christina Sandefur, said the “case is not dead; we’re simply in a holding pattern,” in a statement released Monday. “We will bring this challenge again once the Independent Payment Advisory Board takes action.”

The Independent Payment Advisory Board is a 15-member board created to set reimbursement rates for Medicare. According to he Institute, the reality is that it has the power to govern decisions about public and private health care, and to determine which procedures, treatments and drugs will and will not be covered by the government programs that pay for the medical treatment of more than 48 million Americans. IPAB’s decisions automatically become law and cannot be challenged in court. The ACA was written so that the Board cannot be repealed without an unprecedented congressional supermajority, and only during a short window in 2017.

These features are unique to the Independent Payment Advisory Board. According to the Institute’s statment, never in American history has another board been created with such broad authority to make law without Congress’s vote or the president’s signature, and that cannot be challenged in court or repealed.

This consolidation of power into one unelected agency was the main aspect of the Goldwater Institute’s challenge. But because the Board has not yet been appointed, or made any decisions, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the case was not ripe for review at this time.  The Institute claims that the Supreme Court did not disturb that ruling.

According to the ACA, as long as IPAB remains unstaffed, the Secretary of Health and Human Services wields the Board’s vast powers alone. And while the Board must act when Medicare costs rise higher than a designated percentage of inflation in a single year, nothing stops it from taking whatever action its members consider to be “related to the Medicare program.”

“We are disappointed we have to wait to bring this challenge before the Court—Americans are subject to IPAB’s limitless decision-making with no recourse,” said Sandefur. “Because the Board is completely insulated from constitutional checks and balances, without Supreme Court action now, it may be too late to decide the case later.”

Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board. His bill has received dozens of co-sponsors, including several Democrats. Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-NY) has been a vocal critic of the Independent Payment Advisory Board and has also called for its repeal. Twenty-five members of Congress filed an amicus brief asking the Court to hear the Goldwater Institute challenge to IPAB.


  1. Electing politicians proves to be fruitless. Republican Martha McSally was elected from AZ CD2. One of her first actions was to vote to fund President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty. America’s real transformation must begin at a neighborhood level.

  2. List all the freedoms we have lost in the last 20 years and it will just be a start.
    Begin wiht what is mandatory if you have a child in the car for their safety. How did any of us survive riding in the back of an open truck? Freedom is not merely inching away from us but it is currently being destroyed in measurements of miles.

  3. No real surprise here – the SCOTUS has been working very hard to undo the inconvenient restraints imposed by the U.S. Constitution. Yesterday they outlawed Free Speech and the 1st Amendment when illegal aliens complain about expressions of American patriotism and love of Country.

    …and there won’t be a ripple of outrage, not over free speech – not over governmental death panels. We’re giving it (freedom) away.
    “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Ronald Reagan

    God bless America.

  4. We have one of the worst DICTATORIAL, TYRANNICAL Governments on the planet. We need a revolution at the polls to get rid of all of the Tyrannical politicians in our once great nation. Of course this would mean getting rid of most ALL of the current politicians now in office. It is time to treat these Manic, Tyrannical, Dictators like a dirty diaper which needs changing often.

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