Special Member Alert: Academy to File Amicus Brief in Health Reform Challenge

Academy Alert


January 26, 2012

Academy to File Amicus Brief in Health Reform Challenge

As part of its mission to serve the public and the U.S. actuarial profession, the American Academy of Actuaries will be filing an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the pending challenge to health reform. The brief addresses a very narrow aspect of the cases before the court—the severability of the individual mandate from the other market reform provisions, namely the guaranteed issue and modified community rating provisions.

The Academy brief addresses for the court the actuarial perspective that severing the issue and rating provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from the mandate will exacerbate adverse selection, leading to lower participation and higher premiums, unless other mechanisms are implemented to help ensure participation by a broad cross section of risks. The Academy provided the same perspective to Congress and the Administration during the legislative debate that led to the enactment of the ACA. For these reasons, the brief supports a particular element of the government’s position, that the mandate cannot be severed or removed from the ACA without affecting the other market reform provisions of the law.

The brief does not take a position on the constitutionality of the individual mandate or whether any other provisions in ACA are severable from the mandate—nor does it support or oppose the ACA as a whole. It also does not take a position on the underlying filings by petitioners or respondents in the pending cases before the court. In keeping with the Academy’s mission and consistent with our previous input, the Academy hopes to help inform the court by offering objective actuarial analysis on the impact of severing the mandate from the other market reforms.

Oral arguments in the cases are scheduled for late March. The Academy will update members as information on the outcome of the cases is available.


If you have any questions regarding this alert, contact Heather Jerbi, senior health policy analyst (jerbi@actuary.org; 202-223-8196).


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