On March 28, 2012, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Fla. v. Dept. of Health and Human Services and Nat'l Fed. of Ind. Business v. Sebelius, two of the three cases before the Court involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, sometimes referred to as Obamacare or the Healthcare Act. Both cases raise the question whether, if the individual mandate requiring Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty is deemed unconstitutional, the remainder of the Healthcare Act still survives. This is commonly referred to as a question of severability.
Both cases further raise the question whether Congress can lawfully withhold federal Medicaid funds from States that do not comply with the requirements of the Healthcare Act, or whether this amounts to unlawful coercion. That issue will be the subject of a separate podcast.
To discuss the issue of severability, we have David Rivkin, who is a Partner at Baker Hostetler, and Ian Millhiser, who is a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress.