Monday, March 26, 2012

ACA Heads to Court

The U.S. Supreme Court today began three days of oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new law turned 2 years old last week. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is among the plaintiffs urging the court to overturn the health care law. Kaiser Health News (KHN) has a nice rundown of the issues at play each day.

Whatever the Supreme Court ends up deciding, the case is destined to be a landmark ruling. Not since 1966 has the Supreme Court allowed as many as six hours of oral arguments. KHN calls the ACA “the most consequential domestic legislation since the creation of Medicare in 1965,” and the court’s decision will have far-reaching consequences.

Up for debate are several key parts of the ACA. Here’s the schedule:

Monday, March 26 (10–11:30 am, EDT): The Supreme Court heard arguments relating to the Tax Anti-Injunction Act. This act, which dates back to 1867, says that the court cannot rule on a law that imposes a tax before the tax is actually due to be collected. The tax in this case was argued to be the penalty most individuals must pay, starting in 2015, if they do not have health insurance. According to reports from NBC, the justices do not seem to agree with the argument that the individual mandate penalty is a tax.

Tuesday, March 27 (10 am–noon, EDT): The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the individual mandate – the law that requires most individuals to have health insurance or pay a penalty. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the right to regulate commerce and collect taxes, but opponents of the law argue the mandate exceeds Congress’ constitutional powers.

Wednesday, March 28 (10–11:30 am, EDT): The Supreme Court will hear arguments relating to the severability of the ACA. If certain provisions (e.g., the individual mandate) are ruled unconstitutional, will the remainder of the law remain constitutional, or will the entire law fail?

Wednesday, March 28 (1–2 pm, EDT): Later on Wednesday, the Supreme Court will listen to arguments relating to the law’s expansion of Medicaid. Opponents argue this expansion of Medicaid violates the state sovereignty by essentially forcing states to increase their Medicaid spending or risk losing all federal funds for Medicaid.

Me and My Doctor will cover the proceedings as they unfold this week. Stay tuned for more updates.

What do you think of the ACA? Should it be ruled unconstitutional, or should it remain law? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

This one is a tough one as far as should we do it. But sense the question is CAN the government do it; I think I would reply, that if the government can force people to save for retirement (social security) then why not for health care?

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