One of the most important healthcare law issues of 2012 is how the United States Supreme Court will rule on the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion mandate in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The ACA became law in 2010.  The individual mandate utilizes the tax collection processes under the Internal Revenue Code to penalize individuals who elect not to obtain health insurance, which individual mandate provision is to be implemented in 2014. The Medicaid expansion mandate requires states to provide Medicaid coverage for adults less than 65 years old with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level and to children whose families earn up to 133% of the federal poverty level, or the states risk losing their Medicaid matching funds from the federal government. On March 26 through 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on the following:

  • Whether, prior to the implementation of individual mandate in 2014, the Anti-Injunction Act bars the court from considering the constitutionality of the individual mandate?
  • Whether Congress has the authority under the Commerce Clause to enact the individual mandate?
  • If Congress does not have the authority under the Commerce Clause to enact the individual mandate, then is the individual mandate severable from the ACA oris the entire ACA struck down?
  • Whether Congress exceeded its authority when it enacted the Medicaid expansion mandate?

The decisions of the United States Supreme Court on these issues will have tremendous impact on the state of healthcare reform at the federal and state level. For additional information, please contact Ed Waller