During the oral arguments a few months ago, most of us watched several Supreme Court justices give the White House's legal counsel a pretty rough time regarding the legality of the Affordable Care Act. Of course, that was then and this is now. The Supreme Court has been debating two key points in the Act: (1) Is it constitutional for the federal government to require citizens to buy health insurance or pay a "penalty" for not buying it and (2) Is the manner in which the federal government is "encouraging" the states to follow its proscribed Medicaid program coercive or is it an appropriate use of federal power.
Well, we have the court's answer. On the first point, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of the provision. This was a surprise to many, me included. On point number two, the court declared this aspect of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.
I - Is the individual mandate requiring individuals to buy insurance constitutional?
The White House made two arguments in support of this issue's constitutionality. One argument was more or less soundly rejected and the other was accepted.
I was up last evening until the wee hours of the morning reading the transcripts by Chief Justice Roberts and the majority as well as the views of the dissenting justices to better understand how the Supreme Court arrived at its conclusions. The following is the short-hand version of the logic of the court:
II - Is the process of "encouraging" the states to enact the Medicaid provisions of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutionally coercive?
Let me know if you found this analysis interesting! Enjoy your weekend. It's going to be HOT here in Atlanta!
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