The U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could be complicated and result in a flurry of legislation if all or part of the law is declared unconstitutional, human resources association WorldatWork said May 20.
Cara Woodson Welch, Washington-based vice president of policy and public affairs for the Scottsdale, Arizona-based organization, presented the group's outlook on court cases, legislation and federal regulations that could affect employee compensation and benefits.
Speaking at WorldatWork's Total Rewards 2012 Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Flaorida, about the expected Supreme Court ruling on the health care reform law, Welch said it's unclear whether the court will rule on the law as a whole or rule on specific parts of the law.
"I think it's going to be a very complicated decision," she said. If the court were to strike down the individual mandate that requires most U.S. residents to enroll in a qualified health care plan, Welch said it's likely that Congress would draft legislation to uphold pieces of the mandate.
Welch said a fine for individuals who do not adhere to the individual mandate could be deemed to be a tax by the Supreme Court. If so, that could prevent the court from ruling on whether the individual mandate is constitutional, since the penalty wouldn't take effect until 2014.
"You can't have a lawsuit on a tax if it hasn't been collected yet," Welch said. Additional lawsuits and legislation moving forward right now could affect areas such as equal pay for people who hold similar jobs and provisions that allow employers to provide flexible schedules for employees, Welch said.