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Blog: Will the Court Redefine the Power of the Federal Government?

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The announcements yesterday from the Supreme Court about the new health care law include one that was expected and one that was not. As expected, the Court will consider whether the individual mandate -- the federal requirement that every person in the country buy health insurance as prescribed by the government -- is constitutional. Lower courts have issued differing opinions on the question, and it has always been expected that the Supreme Court would have to resolve the issue.

Another announcement was more surprising, however. The Court also announced that it would hear the challenge by 26 states against the Medicaid provisions. The new law greatly expands eligibility for Medicaid, a program that is partly funded and is run by the states. The 26 states argue that the new federal requirements exceed the powers given to the federal government in the Constitution at the expense of the states.

The Court will hear arguments on both issues after the first of the year, and a decision is expected in June, just before the Court adjourns.

I believe that the health care law is unconstitutional and a huge mistake. But the Supreme Court decision in this case may affect more than just the health care law. It may redefine the power of the federal government as well.


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