It is virtually impossible to turn on a TV, radio or podcast . . . or pick up a newspaper or peruse the internet . . . without hearing that the U.S. Supreme Court today began three days of potentially landmark oral arguments over the constitutionality of The Affordable Care Act (aka the "healthcare reform law"), which was signed into law in 2010. Today a majority of justices seem ready to hear the substantive points at issue in the case, appearing to reject procedural points raised by government attorneys claiming the case is not yet ripe for decision.
Assuming that the case survives those procedural challenges (which are largely premised on an obscure federal law, The Anti-Injunction Act), the Court will decide three key legal questions in these appeals:
1) Does the law overstep federal authority in the "individual mandate" requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a financial penalty?
2) Must the entire PPACA be declared if that key provision is unconstitutional (or, in contrast, are the offending provisions "severable" such that the constitutional provisions may stand without them)?
3) Are states being "coerced" by the federal government to expand their share of Medicaid costs and administration, with the risk of losing that funding if they refuse?
As the arguments proceed and the justices deliberate, we will continue to provide Twitter updates (theHCinvestor) and further blog discussion.