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Supreme Court hears Medicaid expansion oral argument

Posted on March 28, 2012 | No Comments

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In the afternoon on the the third and last day of oral arguments, the Supreme Court heard whether the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) expansion of Medicaid is unlawful.  Medicaid is a state-federal program that provides health insurance coverage to the disabled and poor, including families with dependent children.  To increase participation rates in the program, the federal government allocates money to states that voluntarily create Medicaid programs that meet federal standards.  The ACA expands Medicaid coverage to include single adults that fall within federal poverty standards.

Mr. Paul Clement, representing the challengers, opened the afternoon arguments.  Mr. Clement’s allotted 30 minutes ran over, as Justices continued to fire questions well after the time had expired. The majority of Mr. Clement’s argument was spent on the coercion question, which suggests that because the federal government has the option of pulling all the state’s Medicaid funding if a state doesn’t want to participate in the law’s Medicaid expansion, states will thus be coerced to participate in the expansion.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli followed, representing the Obama Administration.

To end the ACA oral arguments, Chief Justice Roberts gave Mr. Clement 5 minutes to make a final rebuttal.

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