Supreme Court Health Care: Court Hears Arguments on Individual Mandate
This really does go way beyond medical care. This ruling could be as important as the commerce clause.
Conservative justices attacked the central provision of President Barack Obama’s health care law Tuesday, expressing deep skepticism that the government can force Americans to buy insurance.
On the second day of oral arguments, the Supreme Court grappled with the linchpin of the legislation — the individual mandate.
Critics of the law argue that if the U.S. government can require Americans to buy medical insurance, it could require virtually anything else that might improve health or lower health care costs, like forcing Americans to join a gym or buy broccoli.
(Also on POLITICO: Mandate lose-lose issue for Obama?)
A potential swing vote on the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, turned to that point early in Tuesday’s session, asking Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. if the government could require purchase of certain food.
Chief Justice John Roberts argued that if the court says Congress can regulate anything people buy just because of how they pay for it, “all bets are off.”
Today it is health insurance, he said, and then “something else in the next case.”
“Once we accept the principle, I don’t see why Congress’s power is limited,” Roberts said.