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March 27, 2012

Individual Mandate Faces Supreme Test

by Jonathan B. Stepanian, Esq.
US Supreme Court

Even though I’m preparing for trial, this is a health law and policy blog and today — this week, really — is a big day for health and constitutional law.  I’d therefore be remiss in at least not acknowledging that the United States Supreme Court today heard argument on the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act.  Technically the case the Court was hearing was United States Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida.

The principal issue at today’s argument is whether the Commerce Clause in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the authority to require that citizens purchase health insurance.  Yes, there are other issues being raised this week, including whether the Court can even decide this issue now, before anyone is actually obligated to purchase insurance.

Because I’m in the throes of trial preparation, I offer the following reading suggestions: 1) SCOTUS Blog, which has extensive coverage; 2) the argument transcript available from the United States Supreme Court; and, 3) the audio of the argument available from the Supreme Court.

We’ll have a recap and thoughts around mid-April, when the dust has settled on this and our own cases.

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Jonathan B. Stepanian, Esq.

Jon is an attorney whose practice is specialized in litigation, complex medical professional liability defense, health care, and providing legal counsel on numerous issues associated with day-to-day hospital operations. He has successfully tried several cases to verdict as first-chair trial counsel before juries in both state and federal court. Jon has also represented clients in appellate litigation, mediation, and in connection with administrative agency investigations.

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