Health Care Act Under Fire From Justices

Supreme Court justices are firing off questions about the Obama administration

US Supreme Court

The fate of President Obama's signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is in the hands of the nine Supreme Court justices.

People began lining up Friday for their chance to be in be inside the courtroom for the opportunity to see history unfold.

Justices kicked off arguments Monday by questioning whether it is too soon to even be hearing the case, as the key part of the law actually under fire--the individual mandate, which requires all Americans purchase insurance or pay a fine--does not take effect until 2014.

A little-known federal law known as the Anti-Injunction Act bars petitioners from asking for a tax refund until the tax has been collected and paid. If the justices agreed that the individual mandate falls under that law's jurisdiction, then the case could be rendered null until the mandate takes effect.

Most of the justices appeared reluctant to go that route, though Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts agreed that a tax was involved in the case.

Lower courts have had mixed rulings on the individual mandate, with some ruling in favor of the mandate and others striking it down. One lower court rejected the mandate, but ruled that the rest of the law could stand.

The administration says the requirement that all citizens who can afford insurance purchase it is needed in order to implement a critical component of the ACA: that insurers cannot drop people with pre-existing conditions or raise premiums based on medical history.

The reasoning is that uninsured raise health care costs on everybody else, since they typically only seek care in emergencies. If they can't pay the cost of the treatment they receive, hospitals absorb the costs, then raise the costs of their services on those who are insured. This leads insurance companies to raise their premiums to cover their higher health care costs.

If compelled to do so, as they would be if the individual mandate stands, healthy individuals who might otherwise opt to remain uninsured would purchase insurance, allowing insurance companies to keep premiums low for everyone.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say Americans making very low income who cannot afford insurance or those whose religious beliefs conflict with the mandate would not have to comply.

Opponents of the mandate say that if the law stands, Congress would be granted greater authority to dictate what Americans do with their lives.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers likened the mandate to giving the government the authority to force citizens to buy energy-saving cars.

Suthers is one of the attorneys generals who organized the arguments for the 26 states involved.

“Yes, this [the millions uninsured] is a national problem, but that does not allow you [the federal government] to solve it by doing something unconstitutional. You have to solve problems within the confines of the Constitution, and the Constitution does not permit the government to order individual Americans to buy a specific product or service.”

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  • by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2012 at 09:33 PM
    Another nail in the USA coffin. I'm predicing another 5-4 vote.
  • by CT Location: cs on Mar 26, 2012 at 04:32 PM
    OR...the part in O'care that says all new moms will be visited by Gov home-health investigators to see if they're doing the job right...OR, the part about the 14,000 new IRS Agents to enforce the tax penalty if not paying premiums, (not counting their gov perps/retirement $$); (mmh, thought no one making under $200,000 would see a dime raised in taxes????) OR, the part of when you get old/sick..the panel will come & discuss how much better you would be NOT to have surgery or meds..("just think how much better off your family would be without you being a burden"). If you don't believe me, read the 2400 pages..might be 'legaleeze', but any novice can read between the lines.
  • by Why on Mar 26, 2012 at 03:46 PM
    It's called the "new world order". "The devil goes about like a roaring lion seeing who it can devour before it's thrown into the lake of fire". Ask God, He will deal with the deceivers.
  • by Why on Mar 26, 2012 at 03:43 PM
    Why isn't anyone talking about the fact that obamacare calls for all to receive an electronic chip, under the cover of healthcare, by 2017? Why? Becasue in one word, it's called DECEPTION.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2012 at 09:38 PM in reply to Why
      And this electronic chip stuff has been around for years. But Americans are arrogant enough to think this will only happen in less-fortunate countries. That is if it were not one of those conspiracy theories.
      • reply
        by LedHed on Mar 28, 2012 at 06:51 AM in reply to
        Chip-implants? Seriously? Paranoia runs deep, and it sounds like you're caught in the riptide. And "Why" and his/her fire-and-brimstone rants only serve to prove that point. Obamacare might actually serve a purpose here, if only to get you two proper meds.
  • by Nath Location: Colo Spgs on Mar 26, 2012 at 02:01 PM
    Sounds like the court is trying to put off deciding on the mandate issue until it quietly goes into effect in 2014 so people will forget about it and states would have to start all over challenging it. The "law" was unconstitutionally passed and signed by the ineligable office holder, so it is legally under jurisdiction of the court to decide it's fate NOW, not in 2014. It is so fa outside of the Constitutional restraints on the central government, there shouldn't even be a need for any debate on the matter, it is unconstitutional - period.
  • by Stan Location: Co.Springs on Mar 26, 2012 at 01:08 PM
    the gov. has gotten it's hands into to many private things ,personal items , exactly where they have no business to be. they are getting to the point of telling us when we can breathe and use the bathroom. things are getting way out of hand. it's getting to be a dictatorship. we the people need to stand up and protect our rightsand our familys. . the pupput president and his handlers are out of control , and we need to get that back out of their hands and soon , or we will end up in sad shape.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2012 at 09:34 PM in reply to Stan
      Once's called the New World Order.
      • reply
        by LedHed on Mar 28, 2012 at 06:48 AM in reply to
        The only thing I hear when you post is "Quack!"
        • reply
          by Woot on Mar 30, 2012 at 03:51 PM in reply to LedHed
          If I could "like" this post...I so would.
  • by Shellie Location: Canon City on Mar 26, 2012 at 11:19 AM
    I'm discussed with what is happing with our goverment these days, and what the president has tried to imposed on us American. There are some of us, that there would be no way that we could pay for hefty insurance premiums on a fixed income. This is unconstitutional and just down right wrong for the American people!!! Very Sad.
  • by LedHed Location: Colorado Springs on Mar 26, 2012 at 10:31 AM
    Wow, quite an inflammatory claim. Don't suppose you can offer proof, or even a reasonable explaination of how/why they would do this?
    • reply
      by Truth on Mar 26, 2012 at 10:43 AM in reply to LedHed
      I have proof.
      • reply
        by LedHed on Mar 26, 2012 at 01:43 PM in reply to Truth
        Then provide it...I'm waiting...
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2012 at 09:35 PM in reply to LedHed
          Yes, nothing is true unless ledhed says it is.
  • by Truth on Mar 26, 2012 at 09:56 AM
    Centura Health/Porter Advantist care plants listening devices in it's employees cars.
    • reply
      by Stan on Mar 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM in reply to Truth
      how did you get this proof?
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