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Looking Ahead to the Supreme Court’s Health Care Reform Hearings (E is for ERISA)

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Almost three years to the day after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted, it will become the most significant piece of legislation reviewed by the Court since the Voting Rights Act in the 1960s. Of the numerous (over 30) federal cases challenging the ACA, the Supreme Court agreed to hear three that had been appealed from the 11th Circuit, one of which is Florida v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a case originally filed by Florida’s attorney general, who later was joined by 25 additional states as plaintiffs. Six hours of time (the longest amount of argument time allocated since the 1960s) has been reserved for oral argument before the Supreme Court on March 26, 27 and 28, 2012, on the following points:  the tax anti-injunction act, the commerce clause/individual mandate, severability, and federalism/expansion of Medicaid. A decision on the March 2012 hearing may be made as soon as the end of the Court’s 2012 spring term, on June 28, 2012, giving it great impact on this year’s U.S. presidential election.