- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal appeals court in New Orleans has scheduled December arguments on a challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care act.

In this case, opponents of the act say it is unconstitutional because it imposes a tax - and all tax bills must originate in the House. They contend that the Affordable Care Act originated in the Senate.

A federal judge in Texas rejected the lawsuit in January. U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas said that raising revenue was not the overarching purpose of the bill. She also noted that the bill did start in the House, although it was stripped of its original language and altered to include the health act in the Senate.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled arguments for Dec. 2.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in 2012, legal challenges linger.

In Washington, opponents of the law have gone to the Supreme Court with an appeal of a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia.

That court upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the health act for consumers in states that refused to set up their own insurance market exchanges under the law. The high court could announce a decision on whether it will hear that case as early as Monday.

Meanwhile, the District of Columbia federal appeals court has set December arguments on the subsidies issue.

The origination clause argument has already been rejected by the District of Columbia appeals court in a 3-0 ruling in July. A different ruling by the 5th Circuit could keep the issue alive and make it ripe for Supreme Court arguments.

Twenty states where officials opposed the law have joined in support of the challenge before the 5th Circuit, as have several conservative members of the House and Senate. The lawsuit was filed by Dr. Steven Hotze, identified as the founder of a health services corporation in Texas.

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