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Supreme Court Begins Review of Affordable Care Act
Date:3/26/2012

ary 2011, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that savings from the Affordable Care Act would cut the federal deficit by $210 billion during the next decade.

But opponents say that the cost-cutting provisions probably won't work.

Devon Herrick, a health economist at the free-market National Center for Policy Analysis, said the law sets up a "slippery slope" that will increase costs, not lower them.

"If Congress and company have the legal authority to decide the minimum coverage you must have, all manner of lobbyists and special interests and providers for specific diseases will descend on Washington and state capitals, as they always have, to make sure that their respective services are covered by that mandate," Herrick said.

The law's supporters argue that without the requirement that people have insurance coverage while they're healthy, there won't be enough money in the risk pool to pay to take care of them when the need for health care eventually -- and inevitably -- arises.

"If people don't feel like paying, then get sick and go to the emergency room or the hospital, those people's costs will be added on to our insurance bills as they are today, which makes it much more expensive," Rother said.

Lower courts, different interpretations

The trail of legal challenges leading up to the Supreme Court has involved more than two dozen lawsuits and appeals.

Last June, the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the individual mandate was valid because of the Constitution's Commerce Clause, which allows Congress to regulate commerce that takes place among states.

In August, a district judge in Florida ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. However, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reviewed his decision, rejected that argument and found that the Affordable Care Act could stand even if the individual mandate provision were removed, Landers said.

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