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High Court Arguments Taking Shape on Mandated Health Insurance

Ernie Shannon's picture
Supreme Court to hear health insurance case

Mandated affordable health insurance, one of the most controversial cases to reach the high court in years, will be heard in Washington, D.C. in late March the Supreme Court confirmed yesterday. While the Court accepted the case some time ago, Friday’s announcement officially set the dates of the arguments for March 26 – 28 of next year. A decision is expected by June.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law March 23, 2010 after receiving approval in Congress. The act numbers some 2,700 pages and includes more than 450 provisions.

According to a CNN report, the legal challenge that followed involves 26 states led by Florida and concerns the “individual mandate” section requiring all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties. The states claim the mandate constitutes an improper exercise of federal authority.

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While it is expected that the Supreme Court will issue a definitive decision by June, there is the possibility the justices will find a loophole and opt out of deciding the issue during a contentious election year. Something called the Anti-Injunction Act First must be decided initially on March 26 and the Court is being asked to consider whether those challenging the law should be barred from making any legal or constitutional claims until the individual mandate goes into affect in 2014. The act bars claimants from asking for a refund on a tax until that tax has been collected and paid.

The coalition of states is led by attorney Paul Clement, a Georgetown University Law Center visiting professor and a senior fellow at the Supreme Court Institute. He is a former United States Solicitor General and worked in the George W. Bush administration. He is likely to lead the coalitions arguments in from of the Supreme Court in March. The states involved include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The new health care law includes many provisions some of which began with enactment, others in June, July, and September 2010, and still other provisions beginning in 2012, 2013, and, finally, 2014. Those underway at the signing of the bill include:

• The Food and Drug Administration is now authorized to approve generic versions of biologic drugs.
• The Medicaid drug rebate for brand name drugs is increased to 23.1%.
• A non-profit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is established, independent from government, to undertake comparative effectiveness research.
• The creation of task forces on Preventive Services and Community Preventive Services to develop, update, and disseminate evidenced-based recommendations on the use of clinical and community prevention services.
• The Indian Health Care Improvement Act is reauthorized and amended.

Image source: Wikipedia



Do you think the individual health insurance mandate may go away? If no, what do you think the court can do? The coverage is still very expensive, not accessible to many families and not affordable at all.