Justices Consider Whether Medicaid Expansion Is Constitutional Or Coercive
During the Supreme Court's last hour of a marthon series of oral arguments, some justices indicated strong disagreement with the challenge brought by 26 states to the health law's Medicaid expansion.
The court has posted the transcript and audio from this afternoon's arguments.
The Associated Press: Health Care Arguments: Now What About Medicaid?
[T]he justices indicated strong disagreement with a challenge from 26 states that calls the expansion of the joint state-federal program unconstitutionally coercive. More than 15 million people would get health care through Medicaid, and the federal government would pay all of the costs at first, dropping to 90 percent after about five years. Justice Elena Kagan wondered why "a big gift" from the federal government could be considered coercive (Sherman, 3/28).
Bloomberg: Health Law's Medicaid Expansion Debated by U.S. High Court
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she couldn’t recall a "federal program struck down because it's so good it becomes coercive to be in it." Justice Stephen Breyer minimized concerns by the states that the government is wrongly coercing them if they refuse to participate in the health-care law's expansion. Breyer said the 2010 health-care statute doesn't add any threat to Medicaid funding that hasn't been in the law since the mid-1960s (Asseo and Drummond, 3/28).
Politico Pro: Justices Push Back On States' Case Against Medicaid Expansion
The Supreme Court's liberal justices hammered the health care reform law's opponents with tough questions about their objections to the law's Medicaid expansion Wednesday — and even Chief Justice John Roberts sounded skeptical of the states' argument that the law makes unreasonable demands on their Medicaid programs. The conservative justices stayed mostly silent during the early part of Wednesday's arguments on the Medicaid expansion. ... But Roberts's questions suggested that not all of the conservative justices will be an easy sell for the states' case that Congress overstepped its powers (Haberkorn, 3/28).
NPR Shots Blog: Medicaid Expansion Caps Supreme Court Arguments
Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case. "There was a lot skepticism about whether this is the line where it gets coercive," NPR's Julie Rovner told Ari Shapiro shortly after arguments ended. The decision on this issue could affect the relationship between the federal government and the states. It's one of the few times the court has taken up what's known as the "spending clause" of the Constitution (Hensley, 3/28).
USA Today: Supreme Court Questions Obama Medicaid Rules
Conservative justices on the Supreme Court sharply questioned the government's lawyer Wednesday on whether the Medicaid expansion in President Obama's health care law carries a threat to states that should render it unconstitutional. While all four liberal justices defended the expansion as a good deal for the states. ... It was not clear, however, that there was enough conviction among the five conservatives for them to support the claim of 26 states that the law's Medicaid expansion should be thrown out (Wolf, 3/28).