The Question: Can the Supreme Court Even Consider the Case Right Now?

Today the Supreme Court heard arguments about whether it needs to wait until 2015 to decide the constitutionality of the federal health care law. The question stems from the arcane 1867 Tax Anti-Junction Act.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that people purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. Many people say this “penalty” is a tax in disguise. The Tax Anti-Injunction Act bars people from suing over a tax until they actually pay the tax. Since the ACA goes into full effect in 2014, no penalties will be paid until 2015 — which would be the soonest someone who paid the tax could challenge the constitutionality of the ACA.

The Court seemed skeptical of this argument in today’s hearings.

You can listen for yourself here:

Or read on for the complete transcript:

Supreme Court Audio and Transcript of Monday’s Health Law Oral Arguments 28 March,2012Lisa Aliferis

  • Anonymous

    How would the new healthcare law deal with illegal aliens?

    • Lisa Aliferis

      Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for coverage under the federal health care law. They may not receive subsidies or participate in Medicaid. They also may not purchase insurance through any state’s health insurance exchange, which would become operative in 2014. Their only option is to purchase health insurance with their own money on the individual market.


Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED’s State of Health blog. Since 2011, she’s been writing and editing stories for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years (more than we can count) producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco’s CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. Her work has been honored for many awards. Most recently she was a finalist for “Best Topical Reporting” from the Online News Association. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

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