Supreme Court sets aside 5 1/2 hours for oral arguments on health care reform law

GOP Senate candidate George LeMieux used the occasion to remind us that he once was in the Senate, and in fact he voted against what his party calls "ObamaCare."

"While serving in the US Senate, I not only voted against Obamacare, I vigorously fought against its passage. I also joined my colleagues in signing a brief, urging the courts to uphold a lower court’s decision of Obamacare’s unconstitutionality. The doctor-patient relationship is sacred and nonnegotiable. Obamacare needs to be repealed in its entirety so Americans can continue to make decisions that are best for them without fear of government involvement."

One of his Senate opponents, Adam Hasner, came in last in another poll of Senate candidates on Monday. He said Democrats like Bill Nelson will rue the day they supported it in Congress, saying, "Today Obamacare got its court date. Senator Bill Nelson and all the Democrats who voted for it will have their day in court on November 6, 2012."

GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann, who frequently says on the campaign stump that she'll
repeal the measure, said in a statement that " We can't settle for a Republican nominee who believes that an individual health care mandate, the main issue of controversy before the court, is constitutional and either advocated for it, implemented it, or used it to justify a forced health care decision in their state."

Last week in Ohio, voters there passed a ballot measure by a vote of 66 percent to 34 percent, which amends the state's Constitution to bar laws requiring a person to purchase health insurance. Floridians will vote on a similar measure next year, though the issue will be moot theoretically after the high court rules.

Meanwhile the Obama administration focused on the positive, citing a CNN poll showing Americans are coming around on the idea of a mandate.

"According to the poll, 52% of Americans favor mandatory health insurance, up from 44% in June," White House Spokesman Nick Papas, said. "The survey indicates that 47% oppose the health insurance mandate, down from 54%in early summer."

No word yet from Newt Gingrich, who, like Mitt Romney, previously backed an individual mandate before he opposed it.

  • President Obama signs health care law in 2010

Though not surprising, the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday morning that they will in fact, hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the landmark health care reform law passed in 2010 sometime next year made news headlines.

The Justices will clear out 5 1/2 hours for oral arguments. SCOTUS experts say that's nearly an unprecedented amount of time to go back and forth regarding the crux of the matter: what are the limits on Congress' power?, as the key objection has been the individual mandate that citizens must purchase health care insurance.

Being such a highly charged issue, politicians from all across the landscape released statements regarding the Court's announcement, which experts say will be discussed sometime next spring, with the verdict coming before the Court breaks for the summer, probably the last week of June 2012.

Brad Ashwell with FPIRG, the Florida Political Interest Research Group, said,"Upholding the law would be a clear win for consumers, while overturning all or portions of the new health reform law would leave consumers paying more for coverage that might not be there for them when they get sick. The health reform law protects consumers with pre-existing conditions from being discriminated against by insurance companies, and helps rein in the out-of-control cost of health care. "

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.