US Supreme Court Concludes ACA Oral Arguments
The United States Supreme Court, March 28, concluded three days of oral argument involving several challenges to the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).
As expected, the constitutionality of the shared responsibility (individual mandate) provisions of the law was the focal point of the arguments. According to the American Osteopathic Association, if the Court rules this provision unconstitutional, the question becomes whether the entire law is unconstitutional. Most experts believe that this is not the course of action the Court will take, but it is a possibility. However, if the shared responsibility provision is ruled unconstitutional, other provisions of the law may be struck as well.
Analysis suggests that it is highly likely that the Court will not decide the case based on the Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits legal action against a “tax” prior to the “tax” being levied. The Court seemed to quickly dismiss this and both the challengers and the Obama Administration argued that the Act did not apply to the ACA “penalties.”
The final issue, whether the Medicaid expansion is constitutional, appears to be the least pressing to the Court. The Court now will deliberate and issue a final ruling, by June 29, 2012.