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SCOTUS Set to Hear ACA Arguments Today

SCOTUS Set to Hear ACA Arguments Today

Picture of Michael  Douglas, MD, MBA

SOCTUS-focused ACA news is front and center in healthcare punditry today, with major implications - both political and fiscal - at stake for the nation. Many see the decision upon whether to uphold the mandate provision for insurance coverage as being a tossup in many respects. Whoever attains the mantle of GOP nominee will have an easier time renouncing an upheld law for political points this election season than will the incumbent President Obama if the mandate provision were to fall. Obama would have to explain to the American people, his own party, and an already polarized legislature on the issue why the law will need restructuring if the high court were to strike down that all-important provision.

Just how important is this decision on the mandate? For the short term, the future of social policy as it pertains to real or perceived fundamental individual freedoms could be rewritten in this country, and unless there were a clear one-party dominance after November, the courts - in this case, SCOTUS - could essentially have the power to determine whether the government can justly demand healthcare coverage for all of its citizens. On the other hand, if the mandate is argued by its proponents (the Obama administration) is one of being necessary and proper because it gives individuals a choice between purchasing insurance or paying a tax penalty that is not "significant and intrusive"; then the burden of paying for all of the uninsured in this country is simply too great upon society otherwise. There is no doubt that whatever SCOTUS decides, the healthcare debate will gain new life in this election season, perhaps even moreso than the legislative wrangling leading to its original passage just over two years ago.

Read more from Michael Douglas on the ACA deliberation.

(This post originally appeared at

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