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Individual Mandate

March 26, 2012 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court's opening day of arguments on the healthcare law will not focus on whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Instead, the justices will consider whether the legal challenge to it has arrived too soon. The problem is the Anti-Injunction Act, which dates to 1867. It says, "No suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person. " How does this figure in the healthcare case? It could block a suit against this key part of the healthcare law if it imposes a tax. The law seems to say that no one can sue over a tax provision until he or she has paid the tax. How is the Affordable Care Act a tax law?
March 26, 2012 | By David G. Savage
The U.S. Supreme Court opened its historic session Monday to debate the constitutionality of President Obama's healthcare law. For the first time in decades, the court has set aside six hours of argument - most cases are limited to one hour - over three days. On Monday the justices started by handing down opinions before delving into 90 minutes of argument. But today's arguments do not focus on whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Instead, the justices are considering whether the legal challenge to it has arrived too soon.
October 22, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
With dire reports of the Obamacare website's dysfunction rising by the hour--and the deadlines for signing up for insurance moving nearer by the day--the question on everyone's lips is: Has the time come to delay the individual mandate? Health economists Nicholas Bagley and Austin Frakt say no. But they do have a workable plan for saving Obamacare from the website's meltdown. Here's the best news: It doesn't require action by Congress. The proposal is not to delay the mandate but to waive the penalty for going without coverage, which hits people who don't have insurance by next April 1. The law sets the penalty for 2014 at $95 per person or 1% of household income, whichever is greater.
December 27, 2011 | By Kim Geiger
As a Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich has routinely criticized rival Mitt Romney for enacting a 2006 healthcare bill in Massachusetts that required citizens to carry health insurance. But a video and newsletter unearthed Tuesday show that Gingrich, as a private citizen, was a strong backer of the so-called individual mandate. Acknowledging that it was, “for a conservative, a little controversial,” Gingrich said in 2008 that he believed, “You've got to require everybody to either have insurance or to post a bond.” (Video below.)
September 26, 2009
Republicans and Democrats have finally found common ground in the debate over the healthcare reform bills moving through Congress. Unfortunately for the bills' advocates, the two sides are united in their distaste for a central part of the legislation: the requirement that every American obtain health insurance. The complaint from the right is that forcing people to buy policies is an unconstitutional infringement on individual liberty. The critique from the left is that the mandate imposes too great a burden on members of the working class, who would have to spend up to 12% of their incomes to buy policies.
December 12, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
Say what you will about the political wisdom of making a $10,000 wager with one of your GOP rivals at a time of economic distress. As far as the fact-checkers are concerned, Rick Perry would be writing Mitt Romney a check today if he had taken him up on his wager on healthcare reform. During the discussion of mandates in Saturday's Iowa debate, Perry made this charge: "I read your first book and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts should be the model for the country.
July 31, 2013 | By Jon Healey
The House is expected to hold yet another symbolic vote this week on a bill to neuter the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, once again taking aim at the much-unloved "individual mandate" -- the requirement that virtually all adult Americans obtain coverage, starting in 2014. The measure ( HR 2009 ) would bar the Treasury Department from implementing or enforcing the two 2010 laws that make up Obamacare. The goal is to stop the Internal Revenue Service (which is part of the Treasury Department)
July 17, 2013 | By Jon Healey
House Republicans continued their crusade to dismantle Obamacare on Wednesday, but an announcement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should have stopped them in their tracks. The fact that it didn't shows that Republican lawmakers are so determined to undermine the law, they don't care what might happen to their constituents. At issue are deceptively simple bills to delay two provisions of Obamacare (a.k.a. the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) for a year -- that is, until after the 2014 elections, when Republicans hope to regain control of the Senate.
June 28, 2012 | By Jon Healey
In their dissenting opinion Thursday, four of the Supreme Court's conservative justices wasted little time in revealing their exceedingly narrow view of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The first sentence by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. reads, "Congress has set out to remedy the problem that the best health care is beyond the reach of many Americans who cannot afford it....
March 29, 2012 | Doyle McManus
In 2009, President Obama was asked whether the individual mandate in his healthcare plan was really just a tax in disguise. "I absolutely reject that notion," he responded. But if the president had been brave enough back then to call a tax a tax, his healthcare law might not be in such a mess today. At the Supreme Court this week, both sides basically agreed that the Constitution allows the federal government to enact a national health insurance plan - even a government-run single-payer plan.
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