Day 2: SCOTUS Weighs Individual Mandate

Supreme Court will hear arguments on health care law's individual mandate
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2012 7:34 AM CDT
Updated Mar 27, 2012 7:50 AM CDT
Day 2: SCOTUS Weighs Individual Mandate
People wait in line to enter the US Supreme Court on March 27, 2012 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Today's the big day: The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the focal point of the challenge to President Obama's health care law, the individual mandate. If the mandate is upheld, everyone in the US will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty; it's up to the high court to decide whether such a requirement oversteps government bounds. A ruling is expected in the summer, the AP reports; yesterday, the justices signaled that they would not be putting off a decision until 2015.

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Politico calls the individual mandate a "lose-lose proposition" for Obama, noting that even if the Supreme Court declares it constitutional, it's simply not palatable to most of the public. "Even if the Democrats run the table [at the Supreme Court], it’s still going to be just as unpopular," says the director of a health care reform center. Obama himself opposed an individual mandate while running for president—and since we're in another election year now, a ruling upholding the mandate could be what the GOP needs to energize its base. Even so, Obama would of course frame it as a victory, particularly because it will keep the rest of the health care law from being dismantled. (Read more health care reform stories.)

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