By Richard Asinof
WASHINGTON – Beginning on March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear three days of oral arguments in challenges to the 2010 health care reform law, with a decision expected by the end of June.
The first day of arguments will focus on threshold issues regarding the challenges, whether a federal law called the Anti-Injunction Law makes the challenges premature until 2015. One hour of time has been allotted.
On March 27, the court has set aside two hours on one of the central issues: whether or not Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in requiring that people buy health insurance under the individual mandate.
On March 28, the court will hear arguments on two separate issues: whether or not the individual mandate in the law may be severed from the balance of the law. The court has scheduled 90 minutes for oral arguments. The Obama administration has said that the provision is intertwined with two other parts of the law – the prohibition on insurers to turn away applicants, and the other barring them considering pre-existing conditions. According to President Barack Obama’s lawyers, if the individual mandate is ruled illegal, so, too, must these two provisions fall with the mandate.
On that same day, another hour of oral arguments has been scheduled by the court to hear whether or not Congress can expand the scope of Medicaid.