In a widely expected move the Supreme Court today decided that it will review the constitutionality of the new Affordable Care Act law and its requirement that all Americans carry health insurance. A final ruling from the Supreme Court will likely come in June, just a few months before the 2012 general election.
It was almost guaranteed that the Supreme Court would decide to rule on the law after multiple lower Courts of Appeals came to conflicting conclusions about the law’s constitutionality. Some circuit courts concluded that the new law is constitutional, while other courts concluded that the individual mandate represented an overstep of Congress’s authority.
The eventual decision from the Supreme Court regarding the law could have multiple policy implications for the future of health care in this country. It could also determine the flexibility Congress and the federal government have in designing new programs in a variety of other areas.
On a political level a ruling in support of the law might help the Obama campaign try again to sell the law, while a ruling against it could lend credibility to some of the Republican complaints about Obamacare. At a minimum, having the court likely rule on the case only a few months before the election ensures that the new law remains a pertinent issue during the campaign.
Update – SCOTUSblog is reporting that the court will set aside 5 1/2 hours for oral arguments, which is a modern record.