This is it. In minutes from now, the Supreme Court will rule on the Affordable Care Act, potentially impacting the access to health insurance for millions of Americans and certainly the legacy of the 44th President. The case will be announced from the bench, roughly starting at around 10:00am ET. There are other cases that will be announced today, so we may not know about the health care ruling right away.
David Shuster is reporting live from the steps of the Supreme Court, and of course the best way to get the information from inside the chamber is SCOTUSBlog.
While Jon Walker will give policy analysis, throughout the day I’ll be gathering reactions from lawmakers and stakeholders, so see where we go next. House Republicans have already made their determination: they will move to repeal the entire law, regardless of the outcome. It’s just a question of how much they’ll try to repeal. As for the Democratic side, the President will make a statement today, in all likelihood. But the strategy is really unclear. Some progressives are using this as a means to make a push for single-payer; the Progressive Change Campaign Committee will gather at 11am with several House Democrats at a news conference calling for that. Tom Harkin says that he has legislation ready to go in case of any contingency. But the fight will probably shift, in some fashion, to the states, which can pick up the pieces by passing their own guaranteed issue regime with some encouragement to purchase insurance, or go further and use this as a moment for a broader-reaching universal coverage plan.
Or the Court can uphold the whole law and we can all go home in the same place today as we were yesterday.
We’ll know soon enough. I’ll update as I know more.
… The two other cases that will be decided today include United States v. Alvarez, which is about the Stolen Honor Act, a law that makes it a crime to lie about military service; and First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards, which is about whether you can give standing to sue to individual homeowners over banks and title companies engaging in kickbacks.
…Here we go. The Court upholds the Ninth Circuit opinion in Alvarez. The statute of the Stolen Honor Act violates the First Amendment as presently drafted. So Congress can fix it.
…Clarence Thomas is going to give the opinion in the First American case, so you can forget about people having standing to sue banks on that one.
…First American got decided for the bank, that would be the 8th straight ruling where the Chamber of Commerce intervened on the right side.
…The health care ruling is coming out presently. Keep in mind it may be complicated and may get misreported initially.
…”The individual mandate survives as a tax.”
…There was a lot of talk that this could be the ruling, that the mandate would be struck down, in some form, but that the penalty for not purchasing insurance would be constitutional under the taxing power. But the ruling is seen as complicated, so hold on.
…Tom Goldstein says that the mandate is upheld as constitutional, with Chief Justice Roberts joining the four liberals.
…Whoa, the Medicaid provision is described as “limited” but not invalidated.
…Tom Goldstein: “The entire ACA is upheld, with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read.”
…So much for reading the tea leaves of the oral arguments.
…This was a 5-4 ruling. Kennedy sided with the conservatives. Roberts sided with the liberals. Does that make him an umpire? Or someone siding with the insurance industry’s desire for a forced market?
…The section of the bill in question, Section 5000A, is read as upheld under the taxing power, and “it need not be read to do more than impose a tax.” I suppose you can read that as no mandate and just a tax, but either way, the framework of the law stays in place.
…The most notable law professor to predict this ruling was Walter Dellinger.
…It sounds to me like the Medicaid expansion is constitutional, but if states don’t comply with it, Congress could not withhold existing Medicaid funds. I’ll have to read more about how that could play out in practice.
…So the Court did find the mandate unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, but constitutional as a tax. Four Justices upheld under the Commerce Clause, but that did not control the opinion. It was Roberts seeing it as a tax that upheld it.
…The Medicaid portion could have serious implications, allowing some states to opt out.
….Wow, the dissent would have invalidated the entire ACA. Kennedy is reading it.
…Walter Dellinger, the former Solicitor General under Clinton, called this cold the day of the oral arguments.