On the final morning of its three-day health care law extravaganza, the U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with the question of whether parts of the 2010 federal statute can survive if the justices strike down its central tenet: the individual insurance requirement.
In other words, if the nine justices find the insurance mandate unconstitutional when they rule by June, would that mean that the entire law also fails the constitutionality test?
The last argument on the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court could have consequences far beyond health care.
The key issue is whether the health law's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor unfairly compels the participation of states. Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case.
The AP says there was strong disagreement between liberal and conservative Supreme Court justices on the question of whether the expansion of Medicaid in the health care law passed in 2010 is constitutional. At issue is whether the federal government can demand that states expand their Medicaid program.
The court's liberal wing, reports the AP, made it clear they were OK with expansion of the program for low-income Americans.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the last of three days of oral arguments on the fate of President Obama's health care law. A transcript of Wednesday morning's arguments, as prepared by the court, follows.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will continue argument this morning in Case Number 11-393, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius and case 11-400, Florida v. The Department of HHS.
Mr. Clement. ORAL ARGUMENT OF PAUL D. CLEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS MR. CLEMENT: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:
With the fate of the health law's insurance mandate in doubt, the last day of arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court became even more crucial to the future of the Obama administration's central legislative achievement.