Monday the Supreme Court began hearing three days of arguments as to the constitutionality of several provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed two years ago this month.
Here are the four key issues the hearing will address:
- The Anti-Injunction Act: Should the legality of the individual mandate -- which requires nearly all Americans without coverage to buy individual health insurance policies or pay a fine – even be considered now? Or must the case be deferred until 2015 because of the 1867 Anti-Injunction Act, which says taxpayers can’t challenge a levy's legality before they actually pay the tax?
- Next come arguments about what many consider the central issue: Does Congress have the authority to require people to buy health insurance?
- If the Court declares the individual mandate unconstitutional, what happens to the law’s hundreds of other provisions? Do they all become invalid, or are some of them “severable”?
- Does the law's expansion of Medicaid (which would cover many more poor people) violate states’ sovereignty by requiring them to spend more of their own money or forfeit all of the federal Medicaid money they now get?
Assuming the Court allows the law to stand as it is now, here’s a review of how a variety of people could be (and, in some cases, already are) affected by the health-care overhaul. (Information is courtesy of the Kaiser Family Foundation):