For three days during the week of March 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard testimony about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Court’s consideration of this polarizing legislation is one of the most anticipated cases in recent history. The “main event” with respect to testimony, is the constitutionality of the individual health insurance mandate. On the last day of oral arguments the Court focused on whether the remainder of PPACA could stand if the individual health insurance mandate is struck down.
Attempting to predict the outcome in the Supreme Court is difficult under any circumstances, especially in this case because there are so many potential outcomes. The Court could vote to uphold all aspects of the health reform legislation, the Court could strike down the individual mandate, or the Justices could rule the entire law invalid, finding that the mandate cannot be severed from the rest of health care reform because the Exchanges, the “play or pay” penalty and several other features of the Act are too closely tied to the mandate to survive the mandate’s invalidation. The Justices could even pass for now, concluding that the Anti-Injunction Act precludes judicial consideration of the mandate until penalties are assessed, which would push this issue out to the year 2015.
For those who want to find more information regarding court challenges to PPACA can find lots of information on the Supreme Court website at: http://www.supremecourt.gov/docket/PPAACA.aspx
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