March 26th, 2012
02:02 PM ET
11 years ago

Supreme Court begins debating sweeping health care law

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday began three days of potentially landmark oral arguments over the constitutionality of the sweeping health care law championed by President Barack Obama, with a majority of justices appearing to reject suggestions they wait another few years before deciding the issues.

In one of the most politically charged cases in years, the health care reform case drew people who waited in line starting Friday for the chance to attend, and sparked competing news conferences by supporters and opponents of the 2010 law passed by Democrats over united Republican opposition.


Filed under: Health care • Supreme Court
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    Regarding the mandate to purchase medical insurance:

    The federal government can only:

    tax you, draft you, seize and sell your property, arrest you, incarcerate you and execute you. It can do those things and still be a democracy, but if it forces you to get insurance, it's crossed the line. – Stephen Colbert

    March 26, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. RealityBites

    5 reasons ObamaCare will be ruled unconstitutuional

    1) Never in our history has the government forced individuals to buy a costly and unwanted product for the benefit of other individuals who do want to buy that product. If the mandate is constitutional, there will be nothing that the government isn’t allowed to mandate Americans purchase.

    2) Congress has authority to regulate commerce but not to force people to engage in it. The government cannot compel individuals to enter a marketplace they do not want to enter – i.e., the government has no authority to compel a healthy, young individual to purchase health insurance they do not need nor want. For example, Congress can force those who have chosen to enter the car market to purchase insurance, but it cannot require pedestrians to buy car insurance simply in order to lower prices for current drivers.

    3) The mandate treats every uninsured citizen as if he is a “free-rider” cheating his neighbors, but that’s not the case. For every uninsured person who uses free emergency care, there are thousands of other healthy people who are paying for coverage that they never use. Congress cannot lump all these people together.
    In reality, the individual mandate has almost nothing to do with cost-shifting in health care. The targeted population – the young, healthy, people who voluntarily choose not to purchase insurance – have a minimal role in the $43 billion of uncompensated costs identified by the administration. The individual mandate cannot reasonably be justified as a remedy for the alleged costs imposed on the system by the voluntarily uninsured.

    5) Government officials, including President Obama, have fervently denied the mandate was a tax yet now government lawyers are claiming the mandate is a tax. The government had it right the first time. Taxes and penalties are different things. Taxes are levied to raise revenues to pay for government expenditures that benefit the tax payers, while penalties are imposed as a punishment for breaking the law. And that is how the individual mandate works: it legally requires virtually every American to buy insurance, and imposes a monetary penalty on those who fail to comply.

    March 26, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. Data Driven

    Fearless prediction: the Supremes will kick this can down the road as much as they possibly can. They'll make some sort of non-ruling that won't apply to anything until more of ACA's provisions are actually implemented. Then we'll do this all over again in a non-Presidential election year.

    March 26, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. diridi

    This nation needs this Health Care Law. Period. Enough. There is nothing in there unconstitutional. o.k, This law is passed for the good of the public.

    March 26, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Former Republican, now an Independent

    This is probably a "no-brainer". The health care law is for middle class Americans and the Supreme Court is still stacked in favor of wealthy corporate appointees. The middle class is likely a loser once again while the wealthy maintain their advantage over the legal system.

    March 26, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. W. Schoene

    Everyone is in an uproar over mandatory healthcare insurance. The claim is that the U.S. has never required mandatory insurance. Not true. F.I.C.A. (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) requires employees and employers to pay into this system to fund Social Security / Medicare. If the mandatory provision of the Heathcare law is unconstitutional – then so is F.I.C.A. and therefore S.S. benefits.

    March 26, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC


    1)The government forces you to buy clothes if you wish to go out in public. The government forces owners of office buildings to buy costly fire protection and alarm systems if you wish to open it up to the public. There are plenty of examples of how the government requires that you purchase something if you interact with the public and public facilities.
    2)Congress has the authority to regulate interstate trade as it sees fit. That authority includes the power to protect people from being overcharged for things.
    3)For every person who uses the ER free of charge causes everyone else to pay more to make up for the difference. Why should I pay for health care shoplifters.
    4) ???
    5) Conservatives have argued for years that the ACA increases taxes.

    March 26, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. RealityBites

    Social Security / Medicare are taxes.
    ObamaCare is a monetary penalty on those who fail to comply.

    March 26, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Sniffit


    Spoken like someone who hasn't the faintest clue about Wickard and Raich.

    March 26, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    How come one or more justices named Thomas and Scalia have not recused themselves from the case? Will Thomas finally speak in open court, or least offer up a written opinion for a decision? He has not done so in years.

    March 26, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    People argue that government should not require that you purchase something that you do not want. Okay, let's buy into that argument for a moment. What is supposed to happen when you go to hospital with a major problem and have no health care? Should you be sent home so that you can do whatever it is you do for minor ailments?

    I asked my government to do something about me being charged more for my health care because some people who do have the need for health care coverage do not have it. Arguments about not needing health care coverage are silly. Nobody needs health care coverage until they need health care.

    March 26, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |