March 28, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Can Affordable Care Act Survive Without Individual Mandate?
Today is the third and last day of oral arguments over the health care reform law. The focus this morning was whether parts of the health care law could survive if the individual mandate is ruled unconsitutional. Several justices seemed to think that the entire law did not need to be struck down in that event.
Paul Clement, representing the 26 states that want the entire health care law struck down, argued that the individual mandate was key and without it the entire law cannot stand. Several justices offered differing opinions. Justice Sotomayor asked, “What’s wrong with leaving this in the hands of those who should be fixing this?” Sotomayor is referring to the fact that congress passed a comprehensive law. Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to echo a similar sentiment saying that there are many provisions that “have nothing to do with any of the things we are” talking about.
My takeaway is that the justices are saying legislation should be left to the legislative branch, and so it seems they are hesitant to strike down the entire health care reform law in the event they rule the individual mandate unconstitutional.