Recap The Affordable Care Act (ACA) signed into law on 3/23/2010. Most of the main provisions of this law start 1/1/2014. It requires almost all individuals in the United States to obtain health insurance, either through private plans or public programs, or pay a financial penalty. It places many new requirements on businesses and health insurance companies. ACA will subsidize insurance coverage for low and moderate income people. There will be an expansion of Medicaid programs through the states to cover millions of new insureds.
Twenty six states along with other plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against ACA. It is now being argued infront of the Supreme Court starting today. Below is the schedule for the week.
The first issue to be argued is regarding the Anti-Injunction Act. This law/act bars lawsuits from blocking a tax until a tax is actually levied and paid (which for the ACA wouldn’t be until 2015). If the court decides that this law applies in this case, it could delay ruling on the legality of the individual mandate for 3 years.
The question to be argued this day is, does the Constitution give Congress the power under the commerce clause to force Americans to obtain health insurance coverage? The mandate is a core part of Congress’ effort to reform the national markets in healthcare and health insurance. Both sides have compelling arguments and it’s only a guess as to which way the court will rule.
Today there will be two separate sessions. The morning session will be devoted to “severability”, the question of what happens to the other provisions of the law if the individual mandate is struck down.
The afternoon session involves Congress’ power to require states to expand Medicaid. Although most of the expansion costs would be paid by the federal government, states would pick up part of the cost starting in 2017 and beyond.
There will be many months of diliberation. The announcement of the supreme court’s decision on these issues is expected in late July or early August.
As always, I will keep you up to date.