After Health-Care Ruling, What Happens to the Money?
Doctors, patients, politicians and legal scholars are eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on President Barack Obama’s health care program on Thursday. But there’s one group that is really on pins and needles: accountants and other number crunchers.
Brian Mooar of NBC News contributed to this report by M. Alex Johnson of msnbc.com. Follow M. Alex Johnson on Twitter and Facebook.
If the court overturns the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, they’re the ones who’ll have to figure out what’s going to happen to the $1 billion the federal government has already handed out to states and territories to establish state-regulated health care plans to help find public or private insurance for Americans eligible for federal subsidies.
The court has three main options — it can uphold the entire law, strike down the entire law or strike down parts of it.
Some justices appeared to signal during arguments in March that they were skeptical of the law, especially the so-called individual mandate, the provision requiring people to buy insurance or pay a fine. Because of the mandate, the Obama administration insisted on provisions directing the states to set up the insurance plans, called health insurance exchanges, to find discounted coverage for uninsured or hard-to-insure people.
Among them was Chief Justice John Roberts, who questioned whether the government can compel people to buy any product.
“Can the government require you to buy a cell phone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services?” he asked.