Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, predicted the Supreme Court will eventually strike down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's individual insurance mandate. His was one of several predictions at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday on the law's constitutionality.
Mixed views on reform-lawsuit outcomes
“It will be close, but I believe they will,” Cuccinelli said about the expected Supreme Court decision to bar the law's requirement that Americans purchase insurance or face either a penalty or a tax, depending on how it is described. The law refers to penalties for lacking qualifying health insurance, but the Obama administration has since argued in court cases that such authority is a tax.
Walter Dellinger, a professor at Duke University School of Law, testified that creation of an individual insurance mandate is part of Congress' overall regulatory authority of the health insurance market, and therefore constitutional challenges to it will fall short. “When these lawsuits reach their final conclusion, that novel claim will be rejected” by the high court, Dellinger said.
Republicans on the committee predicted the aftermath of a possible Supreme Court ruling upholding the mandate as “the end of federalism,” in that only the size of political majorities in future Congresses would limit additional mandates to buy other private products.
Alternatively, Democrats said little would change if the mandate is upheld. “Federalism is alive and well before, during and after this Supreme Court decision,” said Michigan Rep. John Conyers, ranking Democrat on the committee.
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