TUESDAY MAY 29, 2012
We are entering the final countdown for a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a “Obamacare” for those who oppose the law.) How do you think the Supreme Court will rule? Will the Court uphold the law, strike it down in its entirety, punt or waver somewhere in the middle?
While there is no consensus on how the Court will rule, most legal scholars agree this is the most watched decision since Bush v. Gore, when the office of the President hung in the balance (along with some hanging chads). Court watchers and the media tell us that the Court is likely to rule toward the end of its session, which concludes June 29. There’s an anxious buzz building – one day last week Twitter exploded with reports that the Court was ready to issue its decision. Turns out it was a false alarm, but it shows the depths of the anticipation.
Lots of people are speculating on how the justices will rule. Some believe the law will be upheld in full, and others believe it will be struck down. There are lots of possibilities in the middle. For instance, the justices could strike down the individual mandate but uphold the rest of the law. Or they could order that a special “master” be appointed to cull through the law to make a recommendation on each individual section. They could punt on a decision until the individual mandate goes into effect and the first person is fined for not having individual coverage (because some have argued the case isn’t ripe for a decision until someone is levied a fine under the law.) The options are limitless, but the consequences are real to the countless uninsured Americans who have the hope of health insurance coverage very nearly in their grasp.