ABA Journal: Without question, the most important issues before the U.S. Supreme Court this year concern the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court is devoting an entire week of oral arguments, six hours over three days, to United States Department of Health and Human Services v. State of Florida and National Federation of Independent Business v. Kathleen Sebelius.
The potential consequences socially, legally and politically are enormous. The outcome could very well shape how health care is provided in this country for decades to come. If the court invalidates this law–and one of the issues is whether the entire act should be struck down–it will be the first time since the New Deal that a major federal regulatory statute has been declared unconstitutional. And there is little doubt that whatever the court decides could have an impact on the outcome of the November presidential election.
The court has granted review on four questions that have been briefed and that will be argued separately. First, the court will face the question of whether the minimum coverage requirement–often called the individual mandate–should be regarded as a tax and, if so, whether the federal Anti-Injunction Act precludes the federal courts from considering its constitutionality at this time. The individual mandate requires that individuals either purchase health insurance or pay a penalty to be collected by the Internal Revenue Service.
Continue viewing a preview of Obamacare arguments before the supreme court.