What you need to know about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Nearly five out of 10 Americans want to get rid of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a recent Gallup poll.
But the votes that will really count will be cast in March 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court will begin deliberating the constitutionality of the federal health care reform law, which contains the controversial mandate that most Americans must buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine.
The justices will hear two hours of arguments on whether Congress overstepped its bounds by mandating health insurance. If it is determined that Congress did overstep its bounds, the justices then hear will 90 minutes of arguments on whether the mandate should be cut from the federal law.
The justices also will hear one hour of debate on whether the federal Anti-Injunction Act bars some or all of the challenges to the insurance mandate, and another hour on the constitutionality of the expansion of the Medicaid program.
In all, the justices have carved out 5½ hours to listen to lawyers from both sides of this issue.
The Supreme Court could do several things: Uphold the law, strike down some or all of it, or keep the law as it is. A ruling is not expected until June 2012, five months before the November presidential election.
“We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree,” White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer says in a news release.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose state is leading the 26-state suit against the law, says the entire law must go.
“We look forward to presenting oral argument and defending our position that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, that the entire law fails if one part fails, that the Anti-Injunction Act does not apply, and that Medicaid’s expansion is unlawfully coercive,” Bondi says in a statement.
In the Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans favored repeal of the Affordable Care Act, while 42 percent wanted to keep the law in place. Eleven percent had no opinion either way.
This polling broke largely along partisan lines, with 80 percent of Republicans wanting to repeal the federal health care reform law and 64 percent of Democrats wanting to keep it.