AirTalk for March 26, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court begins hearings on the Affordable Care Act

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The U.S. Supreme Court Building is seen in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Starting today, the Supreme Court will hear three days of arguments about whether President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is constitutional.

First up, amicus curiae attorney Robert A. Long will advise the court on the Anti-Injunction Act, which may bar the court from making a constitutionality ruling at this time. Arguments will be made for both sides of the controversial and complicated case as they dissect whether the penalty for not acquiring health care under the law is equivalent to a tax.

Tuesday, the Court will consider the constitutionality of the individual insurance mandate, which would require nearly all Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty come 2015, when they file their 2014 income taxes. Wednesday, the Court will consider “severability” of the individual mandate to determine whether the rest of the law can stand without it. They’ll also hear arguments over the issue of Medicaid expansion and including additional coverage for lower-income people.

The line between Federal authority and states’ rights is sure to be tested in this battle over benefits. We’ll get the inside view from KPCC’s Kitty Felde, who’s covering the proceedings, then check in with demonstrators outside the Supreme Court’s hallowed halls.

Guests:

Kitty Felde, KPCC’s Washington D.C. correspondent, covering the SCOTUS hearings on the Affordable Care Act

Kathie McClure, Founder, VoteHealthcare.org; McClure is 5th in line to get inside the Supreme Court for Monday's hearing – she'll be sleeping outside all weekend.

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder, Tea Party Patriots


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