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The Supreme Court and Health Care Reform

Posted: Mar 27, 2012


On Monday the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform law. The main argument is against the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, which requires most Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine. Opponents say that Congress has no authority to enforce such a requirement.

On the first of three days of argument, the court's nine justices first grappled with the issue of the Anti-Injunction Act -- a law that says the court cannot hand down a ruling at all until the legislation fully goes into effect in 2014. In an interview with The Root, Center for American Progress policy analyst Ian Millhiser, who specializes in the Constitution and the judiciary, gives his his take on what these swirling questions mean for the future of health care reform and why he thinks the case against it is a "frivolous" challenge.

The Root: If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Anti-Injunction Act, does that in effect table this entire case until several years from now?

Ian Millhiser: Nothing's going to be decided until June, most likely. They're still going to hear all three days of the oral arguments that they've agreed to handle. The only question is, when they ultimately hand down the decision in late June, they can either decide on the constitutionality of the mandate now, or they could say that it has to wait a few years.

Read the full interview here.



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