President Obama's healthcare law faces a series of challenges in three appeals courts starting Tuesday as Republican lawyers from 27 states will urge the courts to strike down the law as unconstitutional.Given the partisan divide, I would anticipate that there will be some cases for, some against, like before. Still, the prequel playing out in Massachusetts warrants heeding challenges ahead if this bill is ultimately upheld:
In a sign of the high stakes and the partisan divide, one case will feature a rare courtroom clash between the Obama administration's top appellate lawyer and his counterpart from the George W. Bush administration.
At issue is whether the government can require virtually all Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or pay a small tax penalty. Democrats said the mandate was needed to make sure that all who could afford to do so paid for medical insurance. Otherwise, they said, freeloaders would force hospitals and taxpayers to pay for them if they were badly injured or came down with crippling diseases.
Republicans who opposed the law called the mandate an unprecedented government meddling in private lives. It "would imperil individual liberty" and "sound the death knell" for the Constitution if the government can "compel" people to buy products, Paul D. Clement, the former Bush administration solicitor general, said in a brief last week.
A new survey released yesterday by the Massachusetts Medical Society reveals that fewer than half of the state's primary care practices are accepting new patients, down from 70% in 2007, before former Governor Mitt Romney's health-care plan came online. The average wait time for a routine checkup with an internist is 48 days. It takes 43 days to secure an appointment with a gastroenterologist for chronic heartburn, up from 36 last year, and 41 days to see an OB/GYN, up from 34 last year.-Wes