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Middle Tennessee State University

@MTSU Healthcare Operations Expert Richard Tarpey Breaks Down SCOTUS Decision to Dismiss Challenge to the #AffordableCareAct

Richard Tarpey, assistant professor of management, in Middle Tennessee State University’s Jones College of Business, examines the U.S. Supreme Court recent decision to dismiss a challenge to the Affordable Care Act.  In turning away a challenge from Republican-led states and the former Trump administration, which sought to block the entire law, the justices' decision leaves the ACA law intact and effectively saves health care coverage for millions of Americans.

"The 7-2 decision ruled that the combined plaintiffs of two individuals and a collection of states did not have legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because neither could show they have been or will be harmed by the individual mandate," explained Tarpey.

"The lawsuit sought to strike down the ACA because the individual mandate for individuals to purchase insurance was ruled unconstitutional since being zeroed out by Congress.  The plaintiffs argued that the remainder of the ACA should also be ruled unconstitutional, suggesting that the remainder of the law cannot stand without the mandate," said Tarpey.

He continued, "Interestingly, the Justices did not rule on the lawsuit's arguments concerning whether or not the ACA is constitutional without the mandate.  Instead, the Justices ruled that the plaintiffs could not show how the ACA harms them without an individual insurance mandate and penalty for noncompliance. Thus, the underlying issue of whether or not the ACA is constitutional remains unaddressed by the SCOTUS."

Prior to joining MTSU’s faculty, Tarpey led Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPPA compliance programs in the practitioner health care field. He worked with Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) for more than 20 years. 

Tarpey is avaiable for interviews and to provide comments on issues related to healthcare labor-management operational areas, employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates, HIPPA protections, and the ACA.

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