The next rounds on health care reformSubmitted by Elisabeth Tue Dec 14 2010 15:19:00 GMT-0500 (EST)
Nearly one year ago, on Christmas Eve, health care reform overcame Senate roadblocks and headed toward final enactment by the Congress, with the President’s signature coming in March.
This week, one of the many legal challenges to this new law was successful, with a federal district court judge in Virginia ruling that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. But, importantly, he didn’t block implementation of the other provisions of the Affordable Care Act. And other attempts to block the law have failed thus far. (Here’s a listing of the many legal challenges.)
The important legal case, however, will be the one that reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. Many observers see Justice Kennedy as the swing vote on an evenly divided court who will ultimately say yea or nay to the new law. To overturn the law, decades of constitutional interpretation would have to be thrown out the window. By every established measure the Affordable Care Act is constitutional.
This article by HHS Secretary Sebelius and Attorney General Holder explains in clear terms why the individual mandate in the new legislation is so important – and why it’s constitutional. One of the reasons the article is worth looking at is that there will be attempts in the next Congress to overturn the law. The League and others who believe that health care is a basic necessity will need to be on our toes for the upcoming fights, not only in the courts, but in Congress and in the states. As you know, key elements of the legislation depend on state implementation.
For those of us who support Medicare for All, playing defense on health care isn’t our first choice. But it’s clear after the last election that we’re going to need to protect the new Affordable Care Act in many forums before our nation will be ready to take the next step. The League’s work will be needed now more than ever.