Key takeaway from today’s Supreme Court hearings

March 26, 2012

Key Takeaway from Today:

The Supreme Court is likely to decide on the constitutionality of the law this June.

What Happened:

Today the Court heard arguments from three parties on whether the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) applies to challengers of the individual mandate. The AIA prohibits parties from bringing forth a lawsuit that challenges a tax before the tax has actually been assessed. The Court appointed a third party lawyer to argue the case for the AIA’s application, as neither the Justice Department nor law’s challengers (26 states, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and various independent parties) were willing to argue that the mandate’s penalty is a tax.

The overwhelming consensus among commentators today was that the Justices were skeptical that the penalty should be considered a tax. In other words, the road has been cleared for the justices to decide on the individual mandate’s constitutionality. For a longer-but-still-in-plain-English write-up on the day’s activities, see here: http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/03/anti-injunction-act-oral-argument-in-plain-english/

For a 15 minute audio play-by-play, see here: http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/03/we-listen-to-the-whole-aia-argument-so-you-dont-have-to/

I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on the day’s SCOTUS activities.

John Barkett
Director, Extend Health, Inc. and former HHS analyst
Extend Health, Inc.

Visit Extend Health to use the ExtendExchange™ platform – the nation’s largest private Medicare exchange.

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