Supreme Court’s Health Reform Ruling To Affect Several Sectors of U.S.
The outcome of the Supreme Court's upcoming review of the constitutionality of the federal health reform law is widely expected to have long-lasting implications for millions of U.S. residents, the political and judicial sectors, and numerous industries and businesses, Politico reports.
Six hours of oral arguments in the case begin March 26 and will stretch over three days. The case is "shaping up to be the most high-profile Supreme Court case since Bush v. Gore -- complete with rallies and protests, just like the ones that surrounded that case," Politico reports (Haberkorn, Politico, 3/11).
According to the New York Times, the outcome of the high court review also could have a significant effect on the upcoming presidential election, as well as shape the legacy of Chief Justice John Roberts (Liptak, New York Times, 3/11).
While both sides in the case before the high court will attempt to claim the court's ruling as the final word, the political fight over the issues will continue, according to Politico (Haberkorn, Politico, 3/11).
Although the plaintiffs and other opponents have focused on the law's individual mandate, which is a primary element of the overhaul, the Supreme Court also will review three other key issues with law:
- The expansion of the Medicaid program;
- The future of the remainder of the law if the individual mandate is struck down; and
- Whether the Anti-Injunction Act should apply to the case (Millman, Politico, 3/11).
If the health insurance coverage requirement is struck down, health care policy experts note that several alternative plans could be considered as a replacement, such as an auto-enrollment initiative that House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proposed in 2009, according to Politico (Norman, Politico, 3/11).
Bondi, Sebelius Take Opposite Stances on Law
Two recent opinion pieces in Politico argue both sides of the health reform law.
- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R): The Affordable Care Act "deprives Americans of their individual liberty and violates the United States Constitution" and the high court should "reaffirm the basic constitutional bargain struck among the states that makes our federal government one of limited, unenumerated powers," Bondi writes. Bondi notes that the law's "chief problem" is the individual mandate, writing that while Congress can regulate commerce, it lacks the authority to "force Americans into commerce." The law's "second primary deficiency" is the Medicaid expansion, Bondi adds, arguing that Congress cannot compel states "to operate federal programs against their will" (Bondi, Politico, 3/11).
- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: The White House has "every reason to believe the Supreme Court" will uphold the federal health reform law, Sebelius writes, adding, "And that's good news because by protecting the law it will also be protecting the care of countless Americans who are already being helped by the law's new benefits, protections and tax breaks." Sebelius notes that Congress "carefully weighed its authority in writing the law" and a majority lower court judges reviewing the law have said it is constitutional. Sebelius concludes, "It's not surprising that the law's opponents, having lost in Congress and watched their policy case vanish, have taken to the courts to try to undo these new benefits and protections" (Sebelius, Politico, 3/11).