Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 26: Demonstrators for and against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act march and chant in outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building on March 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Today, the last of the three days considering the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the severability of the individual mandate as well as the possible expansion of Medicaid.
The surprises of Tuesday’s hearing left questions about how much of the law would stand should the individual mandate be discarded, making the stakes of today’s arguments much higher than expected. If the individual mandate is severed from the law, it has the potential of sweeping the legs out from under the Affordable Care Act entirely.
The other major component of today’s oral arguments will address Medicaid expansion and whether it would unlawfully force state participation.
The federal government provides money to states under the voluntary program, but the possibility of expansion to include additional low-income recipients has twenty-six states arguing that they are being coerced into accepting the conditions. There is no legal rquirement for the states to accept the federal money and the additional Medicaid coverage would mostly be covered by the federal government. So why such an uproar?
What does it mean for the nation’s health care if the individual mandate is shot down? Why should the states take such issue with additional government funds for Medicaid? If the individual mandate is acceptable at the state level, then why not at the federal level?
Lisa McElroy, Professor of Law, Drexel University's Earle Mack School of Law & Supreme Court scholar
Megan Hughes, Washington D.C Correspondent, Bloomberg TV
Kitty Felde, KPCC’s Washington D.C. Correspondent, covering the SCOTUS hearings on the Affordable Care Act