Mar 2012

Fate of Health Reform is Uncertain After Supreme Court Oral Arguments

After three days of historic oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the momentous 2010 health reform law, is uncertain, given robust questioning of the ability of Congress to force individuals to purchase health insurance.

During six and a half hours of arguments over three days, the Court heard arguments concerning four questions surrounding the ACA:

• whether the Court has jurisdiction to hear the case under the 1867 Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits courts from hearing cases involving a tax before the tax is due;

• whether Congress has the power to require individuals to maintain a minimum of health insurance;

• whether the rest of the ACA can remain if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional; and

• whether the expansion of the Medicaid program imposes an undue burden on the states. Given the vigorous questioning of all sides by the Court, observers were left
wondering how the Court will rule. A decision by the Court is expected in late June.

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Michael Silhol