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IS REPEAL WITHIN REACH?
by Sharon Rondeau
The Court ruled that the federal government cannot order people to take action under the Commerce Clause in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. A mandate to the states to expand Medicaid rolls was described by “The Hill” as “an offer” from the federal government and reports that 15 states have refused to participate in it, even though the Supreme Court agreed that it is “coercive” and not enforceable.
In his opinion released on June 28, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that the “penalty” in the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) “may be” considered a tax under Congress’s constitutional ability to levy taxes. Whether or not the individual mandate can operate without the forced expansion of Medicaid upon the states, which the court struck down, remains a question.
CBS News reported that sources at the Supreme Court had said that Roberts had been poised to vote with the four justices who wrote the dissenting opinion released last Thursday and had “switched his vote at the last minute.”
Florida and Wisconsin had stated early last year that they would not implement any aspects of the law which was recently reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Since the ruling, Louisiana has stated it will not implement the law, which includes establishing “insurance exchanges” designed to “create a more organized and competitive market for buying health insurance.”
Florida was the leader of the lawsuit eventually consisting of 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business which was heard in March of this year. The Commonwealth of Virginia had filed a separate lawsuit which was dismissed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last September.
The state of Illinois is planning on implementing the PPACA after receiving three federal grants to implement a health care exchange. Some states have been described as “hostile” to the law, and the House of Representatives has scheduled a vote on July 11 to repeal it.
Obama’s “home state” is Illinois.
Both Republican and Democrat Senators have stated that the bill could be repealed in the U.S. Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes, a plan which was announced directly after the Supreme Court’s decision. Because of the individual mandate’s new status as a tax, it can be repealed under “reconciliation.”