Court nixes ObamaCare mandate delay lawsuit

A federal appeals court threw out a lawsuit over the delay of ObamaCare's employer mandate, a sign that a similar challenge in the works by House Republicans might not fare well.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue, and only parties "seeking to advance the interests" of the mandate could mount a "plausible" case against its delay.

The case was filed by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which argued the administration did not have the authority to defer the requirement that most employers offer health insurance.

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This is the same point House Republicans are vowing to make with their legal challenge. The GOP conference has not yet filed its suit — it recently switched legal teams — but they voted to authorize the action in July.

Three judges on the 7th Circuit, all nominated by Republican presidents, said the doctors were the "wrong" party to file a suit because they could not claim injury from the delay of the employer mandate.

"Plaintiffs, who do not accept insured patients, want to reduce rather than increase the number of persons who carry health insurance," wrote Judge Frank Easterbrook in the opinion for the panel issued last Friday.

"Someone else would be a much more appropriate champion of the contention that the Internal Revenue Service has not done what it should to accomplish the statute's goal of universal coverage."

The IRS delayed the rollout of the mandate for the first time in July 2013, saying the policy would take effect in 2015.

In February, the agency deferred the requirement again for medium-sized businesses, which will not risk penalties for not complying until 2016.