Final Day of Health Care Debate - Watch Live Reports from WDC

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
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Wednesday: Health care law stays in effect while high court weighs its fate

Nothing much changes for Americans' medical care while the Supreme Court mulls the fate of President Barack Obama's health care law.

The wait might take three months. Decisions can come anytime,
but complex cases argued in the spring often emerge near the end of
the session, in late June.

In the meantime, parts of the law already in effect won't
change. That includes the provision that lets young adults stay on
their parents' insurance until they turn 26 and a requirement that
health plans cover preventive care without charging a co-pay.

States will continue planning the insurance markets, called
"exchanges," that the law tells them to set up for small
businesses and people buying private coverage individually.

The big constitutional questions before the court -- the mandate
that everyone have health insurance and the expansion of the
Medicaid program for the poor -- are among provisions not scheduled
to take effect until 2014.

All the law's provisions, including those already in effect, are
in jeopardy. The court could throw out the entire act, select parts
if it finds violations of the Constitution, or uphold the entire
law.

Tuesday: Conservative justices question insurance mandate

Sharp questioning by the Supreme Court's conservative justices has cast serious doubt on the survival of the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul.

Arguments at the high court Tuesday focused on whether the
insurance requirement "is a step beyond what our cases allow," in
the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

He and Chief Justice John Roberts are emerging as the seemingly
pivotal votes.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito appeared likely to join
with Justice Clarence Thomas to vote to strike down the key
provision. The four Democratic appointees seemed ready to vote to
uphold it.

Monday: Health Care Debate Begins

The Supreme Court is plunging into a three-day debate on the Obama administration's overhaul of the nation's health care system.

In the opening minutes, the justices are asking pointed questions about a legal issue that could derail the case.

Eight of nine justices fired two dozen questions in less than
half hour at Washington attorney Robert Long. He was appointed by
the justices to argue that the case has been brought prematurely
because a law bars tax disputes from being heard in the courts
before the taxes have been paid.

Under the new law, taxpayers who don't purchase health insurance
will have to report that omission on tax returns for 2014 and will
pay a penalty along with federal income tax. At issue is whether
that penalty is a tax.

Sunday: People Line Up to Watch Supreme Court Argument Over Health Care Reform

Much like tailgaters waiting for a football game, there is a line of people outside the Supreme Court.

They are waiting for seats inside to watch arguments that start tomorrow over President Barack Obama's health care reform plan.

Those braving the wind and rain came equipped with blankets, sleeping bags, chairs and food.

Brook Silva-Braga and Jill Andreas traveled to Washington from
New York. The two got a seat during a session last year and decided
a return to witness the health care debate was a must.

Silva-Braga says because it is not televised, you can't appreciate what is going on in the court without being in the room.

He says it's an opportunity to watch the 11 smartest people on a given topic debate it for an hour.

Andreas describes the debate as fast paced, but says it's also
interesting to see the silent things that go on, especially how a whole room full of people waits on every breath the justices take and every word they say.


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