PUBLISHED:March 28, 2012

Siegel testifies before House Health Subcommittee March 29

Professor Neil S. Siegel will testify March 29 before the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on the constitutionality of the minimum coverage provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The hearing will focus on the constitutional questions surrounding the ACA’s “minimum coverage provision,” which requires most non-elderly Americans to purchase a minimum amount of health insurance coverage or pay what the law calls a “penalty” each year. The hearing also will consider the economic impact of the ACA requirement that large employers provide a minimum amount of essential coverage to full-time workers or face a penalty.

The hearing will begin at 9:00 a.m. in 1100 Longworth House Office Building.

Siegel, an expert in U.S. constitutional law and theory, has focused much of his recent scholarship on the ACA debate, directly addressing four matters central to the controversy; various friend-of-court briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in the ACA litigation currently under consideration cite his work. In a series of new and forthcoming articles, he argues that (1) Congress acted within the scope of the Necessary and Proper Clause and the Commerce Clause in passing the minimum coverage provision in an attempt to solve economic problems that spill over state boundaries; (2) a mandate to purchase health insurance does not leave the door open to any and all government mandates in the future; (3) the minimum coverage provision is not subject to the federal tax Anti-Injunction Act, which, if applicable, would delay resolution of the constitutional questions until after the first exactions are collected following the filing of 2014 taxes; and (4) the ACA exaction for remaining uninsured is, in fact, a tax for constitutional purposes. (Read more.)

A professor of law and political science and co-director of Duke Law School’s Program in Public Law, Siegel teaches in the areas of U.S. constitutional law, constitutional theory, and federal courts. He served as special counsel to Sen. Joseph R. Biden during the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito. During the October 2003 term, he clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served as Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice and as law clerk to Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Siegel’s written testimony will be available to download here following the hearing.

To request an interview with Siegel following the hearing, contact Forrest Norman at