BLR~ Will Supreme Court Affirm Health Care Reform Law?


By Martin Simon, J.D., BLR Senior Legal Editor

The United States Supreme Court is expected to announce its ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this month. Will the Court uphold the law? Will it deem the the mandate on individuals to obtain health insurance to be unconstitutional? Will it invalidate the entire law? What should employers do while they await the ruling on the health care reform law?

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The individual mandate is a key provision of the law. So prognosticators and Supreme Court watchers are now trying to figure which way the court will go. If the Court strikes down this provision, it could also rule that the whole complex law is compromised and, in effect void. If the Court strikes down the individual mandate, it more likely will leave the rest of the ACA intact, leaving it to Congress to pick up the pieces.

The high court could also uphold the law and its provisions will continue to roll out leading to 2014 when the individual mandate and the employer play-or pay provisions go into effect.

What Should Employers Do as They Await ACA Ruling?

It’s going to be a close call between ACA being upheld or just the individual mandate being struck down. Voiding the whole of the ACA appears much less likely.

It’s this writer’s opinion that employers should continue to plan for full implementation of the ACA. If the individual mandate is tossed, it’s unlikely that Congress will do anything to fill in the gap before the November elections. The shape of the new Congress and the outcome of the Presidential race will then determine the fate of the ACA.

In fact, the ACA is shaping-up to be one of the top issues in the election, no matter what the Supreme Court does. And if the race is between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the debate over healthcare should be very interesting, as the individual mandate and the employer-or-pay provisions of the ACA are very similar to the Massachusetts healthcare reform law which was the central accomplishment of Romney’s term as governor of Massachusetts.

Additional ACA Resources:

BLR’s Healthcare Reform Resource Center offers guidance, tools, and information to help employers understand and comply with the major changes to the U.S. healthcare system brought about by the enactment of the ACA.

Martin Simon, J.D. is a Senior Legal Editor for BLR’s human resources and employment law publications. Mr. Simon has worked in legal publishing for over 20 years. He worked for 7 years as a legal editor for Prentice Hall, where he wrote and edited for the Pension and Profit Sharing and the Plan Administrators Compliance Manual looseleaf services. He has been a legal editor for BLR for more than 17 years. Mr. Simon has been on the Board of the Hartford Chapter of Working in Employee Benefits for 4 years. Mr. Simon has a B.A. degree with Honors from the University of Connecticut, where he was a member of the Honors Program and Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from the University of Connecticut and is a member of the Connecticut Bar.

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Posted on June 8, 2012, in Benefits. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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