Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Federal Health Insurance Law

BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The Supreme Court finished the first of three days of arguments Monday over whether President Barack Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s health care system is constitutional.

LISTEN: Supreme Court Audio

Under the new law, taxpayers who don’t purchase health insurance will have to report that omission on tax returns for 2014 and will pay a penalty along with federal income tax.

At issue is whether that penalty is a tax.

26 states are challenging the federal health care law. The Supreme Court is hearing six hours of arguments over three days.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney put in place a similar law in Massachusetts when he was governor, including a requirement that all residents buy health insurance.

A similar so-called “individual mandate” in Obama’s law has drawn the ire of conservatives, including Romney’s opponent Rick Santorum.

Public polls, however, suggest that the vast majority of Massachusetts residents support the state health care system that Romney signed into law here in 2006.

But two years after the federal law was enacted, Americans remain skeptical about it, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll.

It shows 47 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s Affordable Care Act, including 30 percent who strongly disapprove.

In the poll, conducted March 21-25, only 36 percent of those questioned said they support the law either somewhat or strongly.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Rob Cleary

    Why is Obama and his democratic pawns willing to bankrupt the entire country for a healthcare plan that every expert in the field has said will never work and will ruin healthcare for most people. What is their real agenda?

  • Rob Cleary

    It is not hyperbole to state that this may be the most important case the Court will hear this century. Here are five of the many freedoms at stake:
    1) The American ideal of freedom
    Our nation was founded on individual liberty—liberty which is under assault by the health care law. The individual mandate is unprecedented and unconstitutional.
    It will strip Americans of the freedoms they hold dear and chisel away their ability to exercise individual liberties and freedoms.
    If the law stands, the checks on the government’s power will be all but gone. It will have the power to tell every individual, every religious institution, every family and every business what it must do in order to be an American. Under the false pretense of serving “the public good,” the long arm of the government will extend even further into our lives.
    In short, everything will change.
    2) The freedom to purchase whatever product you want with your own money
    The government has never been able to force Americans to buy something or pay a penalty in the history of this nation. If the individual mandate is upheld, the Constitution will not protect Americans from any mandate Congress wants to impose.
    If Congress decides that Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement, the government could mandate that every individual open a retirement account and require that they fund it a certain level every year. There will be no limits to the mandates Congress can impose on Americans.
    3) The right to own and operate your small business
    Small businesses create over 60 percent of the nation’s new jobs. The job market is stagnant and the health care law has had a palpable chilling effect on the sector and caused many small businesses not to hire.
    Economic uncertainty is directly linked to this law, the typical small business owner has no idea what it will cost to provide health insurance to new hires or event their own families. Health care costs are marbles put into a roulette wheel and no one knows where they will stop.
    Any benefits of this law are far-outweighed by the infringement and violation of small businesses’ personal liberties and by the government’s over-reach into the day-to-day operations of running their business.
    4) The power to decide what is medically best for our families and businesses
    If ObamaCare is upheld, over half of all Americans would be forced onto some type of government-run health-care by the end of the decade. Elite bureaucrats would be in charge of deciding what medical tests you need or should have based on costs. What’s more, these government bureaucrats will also get to decide what kinds of insurance plans will be made available and what businesses must provide in the form of health insurance to their employees.
    5) The economic future of this country
    ObamaCare is already a significant drag on the nation’s economy and could threaten to sink it even further when the mandate goes into effect in 2014. Not surprisingly, its costs were vastly underestimated during the national debate.
    President Obama’s 2013 budget estimated that the cost of providing health insurance to millions of middle-class Americans over ten years will jump by 30 percent. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report earlier this year showed a marked increase in overall federal health-care spending from what was originally reported when ObamaCare was being debated.
    The country cannot afford to go into further debt. We cannot afford this law.
    The stage is set for this case to make history. Either the nation morphs into a culture of dependency, where Americans relinquish their freedoms to an all-powerful government, or we stand for what the Founders sought to preserve: our individual liberties and freedoms.
    We are fighting for the very future of our country and hope that the Court will protect our freedoms and find that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and the entire law must fall as a result.
    Karen Harned is executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business (N

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  • fred

    Since many people and organizations are exempt from the healthcare law I would say it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.How can some people have to adhere to something and be fined if they don’t while others are not.The only chance for true reform is when the politicians have to pay for their own coverage – but i won’t hold my breath waiting.

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