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Both Sides Lobbying Over Health Care Supreme Court Case

Gather.com reports:

“Next year, one of the central tenets of the health care reform law–the individual mandate–will either be upheld or overturned by the Supreme Court. The Affordable Care Act has been deeply partisan since it first came into existence, and the fight continues to this day.

Both Republicans and Democrats have already begun to lobby for their side, including calls for certain Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves. Republicans and special interest groups who oppose the Affordable Care Act claim that Justice Elena Kagan should sit out due to her prior involvement with President Obama’s administration. She served as his solicitor general before being appointed to the Court.

74 Democrats who support the bill wrote to Justice Clarence Thomas in February, asking him to recuse himself and claiming that he has a conflict of interest due to his wife’s employment with several groups working to overturn health care reform, including the Tea Party-affiliated Liberty Central and the Heritage Foundation. One blog post found on the Heritage Foundation’s website is titled “Obamacare Threatens Life and Liberty,” an example that demonstrates how opposed they are to the law. There have also been calls for Justice Thomas to be investigated for failing to disclose his wife’s income.

Prominent law professors have stated that there is no legal need for either justice to step down, and that the calls to do so are clear partisan tactics to ensure the outcome.

The lobbying can only be expected to intensify as the hearings draw nearer. Democrats have focused their efforts on drawing attention to the bill’s benefits, such as pointing out the increased number of Americans with insurance and the increased amount of preventative care. Republicans have focused on ideological language and the bill’s popularity among Americans. A recent poll shows that 48% of Americans believe that the health care bill should be overturned, while 40% believe it should be upheld.

The court case focuses on the individual mandate, which is the law that all people who can afford it should buy some form of health insurance. Since insurance providers can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, without an individual mandate it would be possible to not buy insurance until sickness strikes. The individual mandate ensures that people do, and the more healthy people who buy the policy, the lower the average premiums are.

If the individual mandate is overturned as unconstitutional, the rest of the law may be overturned as well. That decision will rest on the legal concept of severability–whether or not the rest of a law should apply if one clause is held to be illegal.

Health care reform was a big issue in the 2010 midterm elections, and the outcome of this case will have profound implications for the 2012 elections, especially for President Obama, who is running for re-election.”

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