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Health Care Reform Lawsuits Likely Headed to Supreme Court

With historic legislation comes litigation challenging it, and no one expected the health care reform law to be an exception. After a bloody congressional battle over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama signed it into law in March 2010--and the lawsuits began surfacing quickly.

The Choice is Not Yours

The lawsuits challenging the health care law--estimates put the number of suits around 20--have raised a multitude of arguments (see "Side Claims"), but almost all of them assert the commerce clause argument against the individual mandate.

Precedent and Politics

Robert Muise, senior trial counsel at the Thomas More Law Center, says such readings of the commerce clause are a troubling break from precedent. "It's dangerous precedent, because it means Congress could force you into activity," he says. "I think Judge Hudson got it 100 percent correct."

Key Driver

Judge Hudson ruled that the individual mandate is severable, so even if the Supreme Court strikes it down, experts think it's unlikely to take down the entire health care law. But it seems integral to health care reform's implementation, regardless of what people think of its constitutionality.

Associate Editor

Melissa Maleske

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