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Kansas Common Sense: Supreme Court Examines Constitutionality of Health Care Reform Law


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This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard an extraordinary three consecutive days of oral arguments regarding constitutional challenges to the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's health care law. On Monday, the Court examined whether the fines the law levies on individuals who do not buy health insurance are considered a tax or a penalty. On Tuesday, the Court questioned attorneys on the constitutionality of the law's individual mandate, which requires most Americans to purchase a certain level of health insurance as defined by the federal government. On Wednesday, the Court examined two issues: whether the individual mandate could be severed from the rest of the law when considering its constitutionality; and whether Congress can condition federal Medicaid assistance to the states on their adoption of the law's new eligibility and coverage thresholds. The Court is expected to issue a decision this summer. This decision largely will decide the fate of the President's health law and determine future deliberations in Congress on our country's health care delivery system.

I had the opportunity to witness a portion of this historic case during Wednesday afternoon's argument at the Supreme Court. I am pleased the Court is considering the constitutionality of the health law because I am concerned that Congress acted outside its constitutional authority in enacting the individual mandate and other requirements of the health law.

This law has also generated significant uncertainty for American families and businesses -- compounding the steep economic challenges already facing our nation. This uncertainty imposes an enormous drag on our economy at the worst possible time. It is important that the Court determine whether the law is constitutional.

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