The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a total of six hours of oral arguments beginning March 26 over a three day period. Â The case is concerning Â the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and some of its provisions. Â The Supreme Court agreed to hear the lawsuit brought by 26 states, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and two individuals.
The issues to be argued include:
1) Â Individual Mandate – Did Congress exceeded its constitutional power by instituting the individual mandate that requires most Americans to buy health insurance starting in 2014 or face a tax penalty? Â Is there a limit to the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause?
2) Â Anti-Injunction Act – Determining if this legal challenge violates the Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits pre-enforcement challenges of tax statutes. Â Can a “tax” question be the litigated before the tax is imposed?
3) Â Severability – Determining if the Court is able to rule provisions of PPACA as unconstitutional without striking the law in its entirety. Â And, if so, which provisions of the law would be stricken as a result of declaring the individual mandate or other portions of the law unconstitutional. Â PPACA did not include severability language that is customarily included in all legislation.
4) Â Medicaid Expansion – States are challenging the provision of PPACA requiring them to expand Medicaid coverage to more lower-income people who lack health insurance (including non-disabled adults under 65 without dependent children that meet the income thresholds, who were previously ineligible), or risk losing federal funds. Â Federal unfounded mandates have for years been contentious and PPACA tests the financial limits that Congress can force states to spend on a federal program. Â Â A ruling is expected by June.