Inside the Supreme Court

Over the past three days the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the cases challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. We won’t find out until June if the justices will uphold the law, overturn portions of it, or strike down the entire law.

I attended Wednesday morning’s arguments and listened to the arguments for and against severability. Severability refers to whether the Court can strike down parts of the law or whether the Court must deal with the law in its entirety.

Paul Clement did an excellent job arguing for the States, and making the case for why the Court must overturn the entire law. It is difficult to predict what the Supreme Court will decide, but after hearing the arguments I am hopeful that the Court will overturn this flawed law.

If the Court strikes down the individual mandate, Justice Scalia pointed out the difficulty the Court will have figuring out what to do with the remaining provisions.

Like many of you observing what the Court is doing this week, I paid close attention to questions from Justice Kennedy who many legal experts think will be the deciding vote when the Court issues a final decision in June. Justice Kennedy said Congress must have meant for the whole law to go down if the individual mandate fails to pass constitutional muster because then the funding mechanism for the entire law fails.

Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler argued for the administration, and made the case that if the Court strikes down the individual mandate it should also get rid of the community rating and guaranteed issue provisions. You can listen to Wednesday’s oral arguments on the Supreme Court’s website. The Court has also posted a transcript of the arguments online.

After attending arguments at the Court, I remain convinced that the best thing for our health care system is to repeal the flawed Affordable Care Act and replace it with common sense reforms that will address our health care spending crisis, the physician shortages we face in Texas and across this country, and provide flexibility for hard working Americans to purchase insurance across state lines. Read more about the reforms I support on my website. It was very interesting to be in Court Wednesday. The justices were very engaged as each side lay out their arguments. Like you, I look forward to a final decision from the Supreme Court.


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