Well, actually three days, but you get the point. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week the Supreme Court will hold hearings on the two-year old healthcare law. These hearings have become extremely popular with many people trying very hard to get tickets to watch the historic hearings. Those many unlucky individuals who do not get tickets will be outside the courthouse holding signs and awaiting daily reports. These hearings are being called the most historic in at least the past 12 years since the Supreme Court stopped the recount in the Florida presidential election.
So what is there to expect?
There is nothing major to listen for until late June when the court publishes their decision. However, we can get some clues as to what the decision might be while listening to the justices question those prosecuting and defending this law.
- On Monday, the judges will hear whether the case can be heard before 2014. This concerns a 100-year-old federal law that may limit those who are challenging the law and force them to wait until 2014 when an actual harm is caused in order for them to bring the case forward. (ie, the mandate does not force anyone to purchase healthcare until January 1st 2014) IF the court finds the individual mandate a tax then everyone will have to wait until someone gets taxed. If the court finds the individual mandate a penalty then the decision will proceed. It is expected for the court to agree that it is a penalty. The President claimed it was a penalty throughout the debate and once it was passed started calling it a tax.
- On Tuesday the court will hear the arguments for and against the individual mandate. The central challenge is that the constitution does not give the federal government the ability to force individuals to purchase healthcare under its authority to regulate interstate commerce.
- Wednesday will examine that if the individual mandate is found to be unconstitutional should the remainder of the law also be deemed unconstitutional. There will be a second argument on this day concerning the additional Medicaid payments required by the federal government from the states. At issue for this argument is whether the required payments is overly coercive and violates state’s rights.
I will be listening to the arguments when they are released by the Supreme Court. Look for updates at Blue State Failure. Below are two short videos about the healthcare debate.