March 28th - Healthcare Oral Arguments Day Three - Media Summary
Summary: Rod Ventura reviews the media coverage on Wednesday when the Court ended its last day of oral arguments in the Healthcare case. The Supreme Court on Wednesday considered two question concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (the “Healthcare Law”). First, the Court considered the question of severability - which considers whether assuming the individual mandate is unconstitutional the rest of the Healthcare Law can stay in force or whether the individual mandate is so integral to the law that in its absence it is unlikely that Congress would have enacted the rest of the law. Second, the Court considered the expansion of the Medicaid program under the Healthcare Law, which will add approximately 16 million of the uninsured to the medicaid rolls by 2016. Congress has agreed to initially cover 100% of the costs of the newly qualified individuals and 90% of the costs after the year 2020. Medicaid is a program offered by the federal government in which the federal government agrees to cost share the medical care of the states most vulnerable and disadvantaged qualifying citizens in exchange for the state agreeing to the terms of the Medicaid program. The states participation in Medicaid however is voluntary. Currently, however, all states participate in Medicaid. The states, however, are not being given a choice whether to accept the expansion of the Medicaid program - their choice is to either participate in the Medicaid program, in which case costs will be shared with the federal government, or to possibly lose all of their Medicaid funding. The States argue that forcing it to expand its Medicaid programs so drastically goes too far, violating our system of federalism by compelling the states to act.