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Stock Ticker

Healthcare Law on Docket

Photo by walknboston

Posted by Judith Sterling
Sterling Insurance/Nationwide
Leading Edge

James Vicini’s  story in Reuters announcing the Supreme Court’s decision to  consider the healthcare law in March, quickly became a top story on the on-line Insurance Journal. The interest reflects emotional and divisive battles raging across the nation over how healthcare will be paid for and administered.

The decision to hear the case that President Barack Obama’s administration hopes will keep its centerpiece legislation despite challenges from 26 states will make the debate itself a centerpiece of the 2012 election.

Deciding to  hear the case in March means the court’s ruling will be completed by July, right in the heat of the 2012 presidential election campaign.

“At the heart of the legal battle,” Reuter’s Vicini wrote, “is whether Congress overstepped its powers by requiring all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty, a provision known as the individual mandate.”

The law aims to provide more than 30 million uninsured Americans with medical coverage. According to Reuters polls show the nation deeply divided on the plan.

Analysts expect the vote by the nine-member court to be just as divided and likely to come down to  moderate conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy who frequently casts the decisive vote between the four liberals and four conservatives on the bench.

The Supreme Court has wide leeway to keep all or nothing of the law or select some provisions to keep and others to eliminate.

Five and a half hours of oral arguments are scheduled for March. The current court session lasts through June, thus the expectation of a decision by July.

Following a bitter political fight in Congress, Obama signed the law in March 2010 and legal challenges began. All sides of the battles surrounding the law are expressing optimism that the court’s summer ruling will favor them.


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