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Supreme Court to Hear Health Care Reform Case This Term

The Supreme Court announced today that it would hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this term, the AP reports:

Healthcare"The decision to hear arguments in the spring allows plenty of time for a decision in late June, just over four months before Election Day. This sets up an election-year showdown over the White House's main domestic policy achievement. The justices announced they will hear more than five hours of arguments from lawyers on the constitutionality of a provision at the heart of the law, the requirement that individuals buy health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty, and other related questions about the act."

Bloomberg adds: "The court will wield unprecedented influence over the presidential election campaign, with a decision in the case likely in late June, months before the election. The eventual ruling may define Chief Justice John Roberts’s court, either as an aggressive enforcer of the constitutional constraints on Congress or as a nonpolitical body inclined to defer to the elected branches on policy questions."

The White House expressed confidence. Said Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director: "Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, one million more young Americans have health insurance, women are getting mammograms and preventive services without paying an extra penny out of their own pocket and insurance companies have to spend more of your premiums on health care instead of advertising and bonuses. We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree."

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  1. This one will be interesting. On the one hand, the Robert's court would love to hurt Obama wherever they can and this would be an easy way to do his reelection campaign serious harm.
    On the other hand, the Supreme Court knows full well that anything that blatantly partisan this soon after Gore vs. Bush and Citizens United would drive thinking independents into Obama's lap.
    This one is a real gamble for us Democrats.
    Oh, and, no, I don't think the Republicans on the court give a fig for impartial decision making at this point.

    Posted by: enough already | Nov 14, 2011 10:46:04 AM


  2. I really find the Bloomberg description to be pretty skewed. It seems to suggest that there really is a constitutional constraint on Congress that prevented them from passing the ACA, and the only question is how much the court is willing to "enforce" that limit. A lot of people (myself included0 think that in fact there is no constitutional constraint at play here and so if the Roberts Court strikes down the mandate they will not be "enforcing," they will be "rewriting" the constitution.

    Posted by: Glenn | Nov 14, 2011 10:53:37 AM


  3. PLEASE anyone who-after the Supreme Court's Selection of Bush to Citizens United and their inherant belief that "corporations" have equal rights (to Straight White Male rights in particular) are giving this Court way too much Justice.

    Posted by: mcNnyc | Nov 14, 2011 11:20:27 AM


  4. More than likely the mandate will be gone but the remainder survive, so I don't see much of an election year impact. The fact that progressives did not like the law does not seem to much impact on the election so far, except that no one mentions the law when running for congress or state office. We are still stuck with a law that makes it very expensive for the poor to get real health coverage, and which might close down a lot of free clinics that they rely on for services. It is nothing like the health laws in Canada or Europe. With 90% of our health care dollars going towards seniors, it's essentially politically impossible to get adequate coverage for the poor or uninsured.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 14, 2011 11:40:01 AM


  5. the mandates = $$$$ for big insurance so i would think the roberts court would be all for them

    Posted by: say what | Nov 14, 2011 11:50:42 AM


  6. It will be a 5-4 decision without question. My guess is they overturn and we start from scratch. Just a hunch.

    Posted by: Edward | Nov 14, 2011 7:19:27 PM


  7. I wouldn't be so certain about the outcome. On one hand upholding the law would solidify the ACA into the American Health system as an achievement for Obama and advocates for private insurance (unfortunately i doubt it will do much to curb the rising costs of healthcare despite the laws achievements) the private insurance companies win with new customers mandated to purchase healthcare. On the other hand the Republicans have backflipped on their own idea (individual mandate) and are against any healthcare changes, they will be cheering for the law to be overturned and if it is we are back at square one in one of the scenarios. The outcome is just weird in my opinion.

    Either way lets just stop this nonsense and go single-payer already. We are so woefully behind the world in healthcare its not funny. Its just sad.

    Posted by: Redebbm | Nov 15, 2011 2:53:34 AM


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  13. For starters, the court will allow an expedited release of the audio recording of the proceedings. This is rare, but not unprecedented, and is usually reserved for big cases.

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