Today the supreme court justices all got together, sat around a table, and told each whether they think PPACA is constitutional.
They’ll then write opinions, vote again, and publish their decision in June. Three possible scenarios:
- The law is declared constitutional, and implementation proceeds as planned. Open enrollment begins Octobober 1, 2013, and by January 1 2014 you are required by federal law to have purchased a qualifying plan. You may qualify for a subsidy based on your income.
- The mandate is declared unconstitutional, but the rest of the law stands. Starting in 2014, no one will be required to purchase health insurance, but carriers will be required to accept anyone who applies.
- The entire law is thrown out. There will be no federal requirement to purchase health insurance, nor will there be a federal requirement for insurance companies to cover anyone regardless of pre-existing conditions. Regulation of health insurance continues at the state level. The states may implement exchanges or other rules, as currently happens.
No one knows at this point how this will turn out, other than perhaps the justices themselves (do they tell their spouses at the dinner table how everyone voted?) But for the hell of it, I will give you my guess.
My prediction is that the mandate will be declared unconstitutional. It is clearly a stretch to think that the Constitution’s commerce clause, which gives congress the right to regulate interstate commerce, thus gives them the right to require someone to purchase…anything.
We’ll see if I’m right in about 3 months.