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The Health Law and the Supreme Court: A Primer for the Upcoming Oral Arguments (Kaiser Health News)

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Basketball is not the only court-challenge worth paying attention to this month. For three days starting March 26, the Supreme Court will hear six hours of oral arguments on the constitutional challenge of the Obama health care law. In the first round, the court will hear arguments on whether the case must be deferred until 2015 because of the 1867 Anti-Injunction Act, which bars federal courts from ruling on the constitutionality of tax laws before payments are due. This would be applicable if the court considers the penalty provision a “tax.” From there, they’ll look at whether the law is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’ powers to regulate commerce and to levy taxes. The third debate: Did Congress intend some, or all, of the law’s hundreds of other provisions to stand on their own if the mandate fails? And finally, does the law’s expansion of Medicaid violate the sovereignty of the states by effectively requiring them to spend more of their own money or forfeit all of the federal Medicaid money they now receive?