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ACA's Fate Rests with Court

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, March 29, 2012

After three days, the Supreme Court arguments have ended and now we must wait until June or July to learn whether the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be struck down, whether the individual mandate will be declared unconstitutional, and if the Medicaid program will be allowed to expand to include millions of potential enrollees.

Unsurprisingly, the court appears divided along ideological lines. Ultimately, the votes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy appear to be in play. The court's liberal arm —Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—are expected to uphold the individual mandate and PPACA. On the conservative side, Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas are expected to vote to overturn the individual mandate.

Two years ago when Congress narrowly passed PPACA the Obama administration expected opposition to the bill to dissolve once Americans became familiar with the bill. Strong support for the bill has never materialized, although specific aspects of the law are popular, according to Kaiser Family Foundation tracking polls. For example, closing the donut hole for Medicare recipients is well received while the individual mandate has generally scored very low with survey respondents.

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2 comments on "ACA's Fate Rests with Court"


Rob (3/29/2012 at 6:53 PM)
My question is, why are they even debating severability? If I understand correctly, Congress often/usually includes severability clauses in legislation, but elected not to in this case. Doesn't that mean that if any provision is struck down, the law should be struck down? Any thoughts on that from those who have studied more than I have?

Marc Rogers (3/29/2012 at 11:23 AM)
This law needs to be overturned for many reasons. It was fraudulently sold to start with and has clearly unconstitutional elements at the heart of it. Congress should start over and this time actually know what they are passing. A bad law that is not in comformity with Federal powers [INVALID] not to mention the untold number of regulations that result [INVALID] is simply not something that should be salvaged.