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White House Responds to Healthcare Argument in Supreme Court

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The White House reiterated Thursday its view that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is constitutional, but said it “will be ready” if the Supreme Court strikes it down.

During his daily press conference, the press secretary, Jay Carney also said that he is “pleased” with the presentation of the case for PPACA constitutionality made by Donald Verrilli Jr.U.S.Solicitor General, and his team.

“The president believes that PPACA is constitutional,” Carney said.

But, Carney did not explain the administration’s Plan B if the law, or at least the individual mandate provision, were determined to be unconstitutional.

“He agrees with the opinions of conservative judges who have said the same thing about the PPACA, that it’s constitutional,” Carney said.

Carney also said that the president is “focused on, and his whole administration is focused on,” implementing the important provisions of PPACA “that have already provided benefits to 2.5 million young adult Americans who have insurance on their parent’s plan because of the Affordable Care Act; 5.1 million seniors with Medicare who have saved $3.2 billion on their prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act; 54 million Americans with private insurance who can now receive many preventive services without paying co-payments or deductibles.”

“We’re going to keep implementing this law,” Carney said. “And the president was pleased with the presentation and remains convinced that PPACA is constitutional,” Carney added.

His comments were in response to an intense grilling endured by Donald Verrilli Jr. and other lawyers by the U.S. by conservative justices during three days of arguments in the Supreme Court Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

From the oral arguments, constitutional scholars indicated that it appears that four justices appointed by Democratic presidents will support the bill, but at least three of the conservative justices see the law, at least the provision that forces people to either buy insurance or pay a penalty, as unconstitutional.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy voiced concerns, but appeared at least open to consider supporting the law.


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