In November 2011, theU.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider four issues related to the constitutionality of the health reform law. In an unprecedented announcement, the court set aside three days in March to hear oral arguments challenging the Affordable Care Act—including a surprise decision to hear arguments not raised in prior court cases regarding the ACA’s Medicaid expansion that requires states participating in the Medicaid program to cover nearly all people under the age 65 with household incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, beginning January 2014.
The court is poised to consider the ACA’s individual mandate, whether all or parts of the law must be invalidated if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional (severability), and whether the Anti-Injunction Act prevents the courts from deciding lawsuits about the ACA until after taxpayers actually incur the financial penalty for failure to comply with the individual mandate.
With the Court preparing to hear oral arguments that could significantly impact on the Medicaid program—as well as questions about the division of legislative power between federal government and the states, including Congress’ powers to regulate commerce and to tax and spend—a great deal is at stake in the Court’s ruling.
Need help in understanding the issues?
The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a new primer, A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Review of the 2010 Health Reform Law,to help you follow the key constitutional questions, legal arguments, parties involved; how the court could decide each of the four issues; and the potential implications of the court’s decisions.