In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, decided in 2012, twenty-six states as well as private individuals and an organization of independent businesses challenged the constitutionality of two key components of the Affordable Care Act. The Court upheld the individual mandate but converted the Medicaid eligibility expansion from mandatory to optional for states. Elizabeth Weeks’ feminist rewrite breaks down the public law-private law distinction to get beyond the traditional view of health insurance as a commercial product providing individual financial protection against risk and instead to view it as effecting a risk pool premised on cross-subsidization of the health-care “haves” by the health-care “have-nots.” Weeks also rejects the original opinion’s dichotomy between “old” and “new” Medicaid as an artifice evidencing a fundamental discomfort with extending public assistance to able-bodied people who are judged capable of providing for themselves on the private market. In their commentary, Mary Ann Chirba and Alice Noble assess the original opinion and Weeks’ feminist rewrite in terms of their concrete effects on women’s lives.
Elizabeth Weeks, Mary Ann Chirba, and Alice A. Noble,
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/1545