U.S. Supreme Court

Plaintiff Challenging Health Insurance Mandate Lists Unpaid Medical Bills in Bankruptcy Filing

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A plaintiff who is challenging the insurance mandate in President Obama’s health care law is being held up as a symbol of why the law is necessary.

The plaintiff, Mary Brown, filed for bankruptcy with her husband last fall, listing $4,500 in unpaid medical bills as part of their debt, the Los Angeles Times reports. Obama administration lawyers say Brown’s situation is a perfect example of “uncompensated care that will ultimately be paid by others.”

Lawyers for Brown say the medical bills are a small portion of debt totaling $55,000 accrued after the failure of her auto repair shop in Panama City Beach, Fla. Brown told the Los Angeles Times that the bills were for her husband’s care. “I never said medical insurance is not a necessity,” she said. “It should be anyone’s right to what kind of health insurance they have.”

Brown made a similar assertion in a Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) interview in December. She said her repair shop was affected by the Gulf oil spill, and she poured her personal savings into the business in an unsuccessful effort to keep it afloat. The story revealed the bankruptcy filing, but not the medical bills.

The bankruptcy caused standing problems because of the possibility her situation would make her exempt from the law’s insurance mandate, the Wall Street Journal said. Since then, two new plaintiffs have been found who could take Brown’s case, the Los Angeles Times says.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Health-Care Law; Case Arrives ‘On a Winning Streak’ for US”

Related coverage:

New York Times: “White House Works to Shape Debate Over Health Law”

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