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Posted by on Apr 19, 2012 in Health care, Legal, Legislation

Predicting the Supremes’ Decision on the Affordable Care Act

Predicting the Supremes’ Decision on the Affordable Care Act

Constitution.jpgLaw professor Mark Hall (Wake Forest) makes predictions in the latest NEJM about the Supreme Court’s decision on the recently argued Affordable Care Act (ACA)specifically with respect to the constitutionality of the individual insurance mandate. (Although frankly, anyone who’s been watching this story could make the same predictions.)

  • The 4 Democratic appointees (Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan) will vote to uphold the ACA (and thereby the individual mandate).
  • Consequently only 1 Republican appointee is needed to side with the Democratic appointees to uphold the ACA. However, there is “no clear support” from the 5 Republican appointees (Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito). Nevertheless, Kennedy is historically a critical swing vote in close decisions, and his statements during the recent argument indicate that he is able to consider both sides of the issues.
  • It is “very unclear” if the Supremes will toss the ACA, if the individual mandate is declared unconstitutional.
  • While some justices appear to be against the Medicaid expansion (which was originally thought to be a non-starter), it is unlikely that there will be enough votes to 86 the provision.

A decision is expected by the end of June.

bmartin (1082 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.