Supreme Court decision could have you paying either way - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Supreme Court decision could have you paying either way

NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The health care reform debate continues in the Supreme Court and at the heart of it, is this question: can the government require every American to buy health insurance and fine them if they don't?

Judging by today's arguments, at least one part of the Affordable Care Act may be a no-go.

It's an unprecedented case in American legal history.

Bruce Moseley, paralegal studies expert at Amarillo College says, "The federal government for the first time is saying you have to purchase a product from a private company or individual, or you will be fined."

The decision made by the Supreme Court could affect nearly every American's wallet.

While most people already have health insurance, there are an estimated 40 million who do not, which is why some argue the insured are paying for the uninsured.

They say people with no insurance are still getting the services, but aren't paying for them, which causes health insurance costs to go up.

Dr. Jim Calvi, a Constitution Law expert at WTAMU says, "We can either pay for it through our taxes or we can pay for it through higher medical costs, but the fact is, we are already paying for people without health insurance, now."  

But others say this mandate violates the 10th amendment which allows the states, and not the federal government, to regulate health care.

However, local experts we spoke with say no matter how you look at the law, it is constitutional.

Moseley says, "I don't like it, but I think its arguably constitutional under our current supreme court analysis."

Calvi adds, "If this tax is unconstitutional, then the social security tax is unconstitutional, and the Medicare tax is unconstitutional, If the court follows precedent, as I think they should, I think they have to find the law constitutional."

But as of today, the Supreme Court arguments suggest the justices may actually be leaning toward striking it down.

Which comes as no surprise to some, because the court is very politically divided, meaning the judges may inject their personal political views into their decisions.

Calvi explains, "If you really believe in judicial restraint, unless there is a clear constitutional violation, the court should always defer to the elected representatives of the people. The solution is if you don't like the Affordable Care Act, elect a Congress that will repeal it."    

Although the oral arguments end tomorrow, a decision is not expected until early this summer.

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