Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Future of ObamaCare

The U. S. Supreme Court scheduled an extraordinary five and a half hours for oral argument in the legal challenge to ObamaCare, officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The last time the U.S. Supreme Court granted so much time for oral argument was 35 years ago, and that was for four consolidated cases in the famous case of Miranda v. United States. That old decision was monumental: it established the famous “Miranda warning” for criminal suspects.

Two hours of the ObamaCare argument will be devoted to the constitutionality of requiring individuals to buy insurance, which the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit struck down in the case called Florida et al. v. Department of Health & Human Services. The Court allocated 90 minutes to the issue of whether this requirement to purchase insurance, also known as the “insurance mandate,” can be severed from the rest of ObamaCare so that the remainder can be upheld as constitutional. The issue of severability would never be reached if all of ObamaCare were constitutional.

But wait, there is more. The Court also set aside an hour for argument and debate on whether the Anti-Injunction Act precludes the challenge to the constitutionality of the insurance mandate, based on how the government now insists that the penalty for not buying insurance is a tax. When ObamaCare was being railroaded through Congress, its supporters denied it was a tax!

Finally, the Court will spend an hour on discussion of whether the costly expansion of Medicaid, required of the states, by ObamaCare is constitutional, another issue appealed by the states.

The constitutionality of ObamaCare may be decided by a margin of only one vote. A final verdict is expected in late June … after more than adequate time for argument and debate before the Supreme Court.

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