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Sissel v. Department Of Health And Human Services

Legal Question:

Whether the bill that created ObamaCare is a “bill for raising revenue” and, if so, did it originate in the House of Representatives, as the Constitution requires?


Matt Sissel, represented by Pacific Legal Foundation


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Department of the Treasury


Supreme Court of the United States

Sections 1501 and 1502 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) require individuals to maintain a minimum level of health insurance.  The Origination Clause provides, "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills."  In 2010 Mr. Sissel challenged the constitutionality of the law and after the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2012 that the penalty for failure to comply with ObamaCare’s mandate is a tax, amended his complaint asserting that the law violates the Origination Clause.

On June 28, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that ObamaCare is not a bill for raising revenue and, in the alternative, the bill originated in the House of Representatives.  Mr. Sissel appealed, but on July 29, 2014 the D.C. Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment with a holding that ObamaCare was not a bill for raising revenue.  Mr. Sissel filed a petition for rehearing en banc that was denied on August 7, 2015; however, four of the eleven judges dissented from the denial of rehearing en banc.  In particular, Judge Kavanaugh, joined by three other judges, asserted that the law is a bill for raising revenue, which warranted rehearing en banc, but also concluded that he would reject Mr. Sissel’s claim because the law originated in the House of Representatives.  Mr. Sissell filed his petition writ of certiorari on October 26, 2015.  On November 25, 2015, MSLF filed a friend of the court brief in support of Mr. Sissel’s petition.

On December 28, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services filed a brief in opposition to the petition.  On December 29, 2015, Mr. Sissel filed a reply brief.  On January 19, 2016, the Court denied the petition.

No Status Updates
  • Western Legal Foundation Urges High Court Review of ObamaCare

    Nov 25, 2015
    A nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation with decades of experience challenging the constitutionality of federal laws today filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court of the United States urging that it review an appeals court decision regarding ObamaCare.

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