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ACA creation didn't violate constitutional rules on new taxes: Appeals court

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A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that Congress did not violate a U.S. constitutional requirement that tax-related legislation must originate in the House of Representatives when it passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010.

Matt Sissel, an Iowa artist and small-business owner, argued that a provision in the 2010 law that imposes a financial penalty on individuals who do not enroll in a health insurance plan was pre-empted by a constitutional provision that says revenue-related measures must originate in the House, not the Senate.

But in a 3-0 decision, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the chief purpose of the health care reform law was to expand coverage, not generate revenue.

“The Supreme Court has held from the early days of this nation that revenue bills are those that levy taxes in the strict sense of the word, and are not bills for other purposes which may incidentally create revenue,” according to the appeals court ruling.