PSR joins amicus brief on critical Supreme Court case January 17, 2024

PSR is proud to be party to an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief on an important case now being heard by the Supreme Court.

The case, known as Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, threatens to greatly weaken the power of departments and agencies like Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others to interpret laws passed by Congress.

That power has been recognized since an earlier Supreme Court case, Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc). Decided in 1984 and considered a landmark, the Chevron case affirms that executive branch agencies, with their subject matter expertise, should decide how to interpret ambiguous elements of laws passed by Congress.

The alternative is to ask Congress to write and pass exceedingly detailed laws on highly complex topics–an unrealistic expectation, given Congress’ lack of expertise and their current inability to pass much of anything.

PSR joins the American Cancer Society Action Network, the American Lung Association and other public health organizations in a brief focusing on one facet of the case: its implications for publicly funded health insurance programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. As the brief states,

… implementing these famously complex statutes… requires making policy-laden interpretive determinations – including through formal rulemaking, adjudication, informal interpretation, and other means – concerning how each particular statute applies in countless unpredictable real-world settings and circumstances.

It goes on to say,

The competent and stable administration of these programs depends on the deep expertise of the agencies to which Congress has assigned the responsibility of promulgating rules and rendering interpretive decisions in connection with the implementation of these complex statutes, which serve nearly half the U.S. population, in every geographic region, of every income level, and with every kind of medical and care need.

A decision by the Supreme Court is anticipated in June.

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