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U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Health Care Law
March 25, 2012
Attorney General Schneider Will Attend Oral Argument
AUGUSTA – Attorney General William J. Schneider, 25 other attorneys general, the National Federation of Independent Business and four individual plaintiffs will begin an unprecedented six hours of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the Federal Government’s Health Care Act.
Paul Clement, former U.S. Solicitor General, will argue on behalf of the states. The argument schedule is as follows:
Monday, March 26
• 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The Court will hear 90 minutes of argument on whether the federal Anti-Injunction Act prohibits the plaintiffs from bringing a challenge to the individual mandate at this time. The States contend that the individual mandate issue may be settled now without having to await the assessment of penalties under the Act.
Tuesday, March 27
• 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The Court will hear two hours of argument on the constitutionality of the individual mandate — the requirement that individuals obtain health insurance or face a financial penalty. The States argue that Congress lacks constitutional authority to force individuals who are not participating in the insurance market to enter the market and purchase a government-prescribed insurance product.
Wednesday, March 28
• 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The Court will hear 90 minutes of argument on the issue of severability and whether, if the Court invalidates the individual mandate, what other parts of the Act can still survive. Plaintiffs argue that the entire Act must fail if the mandate fails because it is the lynchpin of the Act.
• 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The Court will hear one hour of argument on the requirement that States massively expand their Medicaid programs. The States argue that Congress cannot force the States to expand, operate, and substantially fund the expansion of Medicaid, or coerce them to do so by threatening the loss of all federal Medicaid funding.
“It is vitally important to have this case decided,” said Attorney General Schneider. “The lives of every Mainer and every American are profoundly impacted by the issues that will be presented and argued during the next three days. Our core beliefs in individual rights and state sovereignty are at stake. Only when these questions have been settled by the Supreme Court will we have the constitutional foundation upon which to address the urgent health care needs of all our citizens.”
The Court is expected to issue a decision by the end of June 2012.