The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding a decision by a district court that the minimum coverage provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is constitutionally sound is very significant, Ballard Spahr partner Brian M. Pinheiro told Employee Benefit News. The provision requires that all applicable individuals maintain minimum essential health insurance or pay a penalty.

For the first time, a Republican-appointed judge agreed that the rule is constitutional and the court seemed to really focus on the issue of constitutionally, said Mr. Pinheiro, a member of the firm’s Health Care Reform Initiative. The said the ruling gives the U.S. Supreme Court a means of reviewing the case, as the plaintiffs in the Circuit Court ruling are likely to appeal to the Court.