As recently as a week ago, everybody watching the Supreme Court seemed convinced of one thing: The justices had made up their minds about the Affordable Care Act. They hadn’t issued a decision and, perhaps, they were fine-tuning the legal arguments they would make in their written opinions. But they knew how they were ruling. They just weren't telling anybody about it. Now a new rumor is making the rounds: Five justices have decided to invalidate the individual mandate but they have not settled on what else, if anything, to invalidate along with it. Does the story have any basis in fact?
[Updated at 10:30 a.m.] The Supreme Court handed down four rulings on Monday—and said nothing about the Affordable Care Act. The Court will likely have more decisions to issue on Thursday, although that's not yet certain. But the justices may not issue a ruling on the Affordable Care Act until next Monday, their final pre-scheduled session of the term. And even next Monday isn't a hard deadline.
Conservatives are seizing on a number in the president’s new budget, claiming it shows, once again, that the Affordable Care Act will substantially increase the deficit. They did so late last week, just as the Rush Limbaugh controversy was exploding, so few people have noticed. But it’s the type of claim sure to become a staple of Republican Party talking points.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the Supreme Court's announcement that it would hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. As President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has wound its way through the justice system, courts have split on the issue of whether the Act passes constitutional muster. On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it would resolve the matter once and for all, agreeing to hear a challenge to the law that would set the stage for a ruling that will likely come in the middle of the 2012 election campaig
[with contributions from Matt O’Brien and Darius Tahir] When does life begin? Mississippi voters get to answer that question this fall, thanks to a ballot proposal that would define life as beginning at conception. It’s Initiative 26 in the November election. Proponents call it the “Personhood Amendment.” Yesterday I flagged an article by Michelle Goldberg, in the Daily Beast, pointing out one possible consequence of the law: The banning of many in vitro fertilization techniques. The measure could prohibit not only the destruction of unused embryos but also the freezing of them.
The right wing’s attack on government insurance programs has taken a novel and brash twist: Conservatives have started arguing that people on Medicaid would be better off with no insurance whatsoever.
Republicans governors have spent a lot of time lately beating up on Medicaid--threatening to drop out of the program altogether or, at the very least, lobbying for more flexibility over how to manage the program within their states. Harold Pollack, writing for TNR, wonders whether they’ve thought through the implications for politics as well as policy: Consider what would happen if Texas governor Rick Perry, who has mused about dropping Medicaid entirely, could do what he wanted. Talking about dropping Medicaid might attract attention for Perry’s new book.